EC Regulation 1257/99 of 17 May 1999 underlines the intention of the European Commission of an integrated rural development policy. In this paper the chances are examined that this new policy orientation offers for a more multifunctional agriculture. Possibilities for the implementation of integrated support measures at the interface of agriculture, environment and rural development are presented. First, functional relationships between agriculture and rural development are explored on the basis of three examples. This is followed by a more analytical section on relevant experiences, data and concepts. The significance of 'new', agriculture-related activities in rural areas is underlined. A paradigm shift from volumes and costs of production towards quality and value added is demanded. The paper concludes with a discussion of the perspectives for a multifunctional agriculture and a plead for rural development measures that are in support of this reorientation.