Since the beginning of transition, rural economies in Central and Eastern Europe have undergone a strong restructuring with increasing urban-rural disparities. The analysis of the rural situation on the basis of GDP p.c., investments, unemployment and sectoral structures leads to the question on which basis a sustainable and dynamic rural development can be achieved in the future. Rural development measures should use a multifunctional approach which incorporates the competitiveness of the agri-food sector, rural infrastructure and non-farm income sources and measures enhancing labour mobility. The EU accession is a chance for rural areas. However, there remain important challenges particularly in institution and capacity building just as in the political development of a clear focus and strategic vision.