Sustainable rural development is one of the social, economic and territorial cohesion aspects of the European Union. In the current financial perspective 2007-2013 rural areas development is supported by the Common Agricultural Policy, which does not always contribute to improvement of their vitality and cohesion with urban areas. The main theses organising the analyses presented in this paper are as follows: The problem lies in the division of the funds into particular priorities of rural development and the rural development is still dominated by the agriculture approach. The European Commission and the Member States’ approaches to rural development focus on agricultural production and improving its conditions or environment protection. Cohesion Policy instruments intervention will be an essential condition for sustainable rural areas development. One of the key research issues concerned with rural areas development is territorial orientation in programming of the Structural Funds in the next financial perspective 2014-2020. Integrated rural development requires different instruments of development in order to stimulate non-agricultural economic, social and cultural activity of rural residents.