In this study a comparative analysis of the Rural Development Plans (RDPs) in four intermediate rural regions (Northern Netherlands, Lower Saxony, Wales and Emilia Romagna) and four most urban regions (Southern Netherlands, North Rhine-Westphalia, Flanders and Lombardia) is made. Such plans are designed in the scope of the second pillar of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). In particular, the focus was on the question whether the menu approach of the second pillar enables EU member states and regions to design Rural Development Plans with a tailor-made set of measures which address their specific rural development needs. The findings of this study suggest that the current menu of rural development measures is sufficient to suit the wide range of socio-economic, ecological and physical circumstances in the EU regions. The analysis also revealed that there is some overlap between the three rural development priorities of the second pillar. Therefore, an outline of future rural development priorities and measures in the EU is designed, in which it is attempted to avoid overlap between the various rural development priorities and in which each measure contributes to the achievement of one development priority only. In addition, it is proposed that regions would select only those measures in their Rural Development Plan which really address the rural development needs in their region, even if this results in a Rural Development Plan with only one or two rural development measures. Such an approach of selecting rural development measures according to regional needs will result in a large variation in rural development measures implemented and may be considered regional differentiation of EU rural development policy.