Austria has gained considerable experience with regional programmes specific to the mountain area, particularly with LFA payments for mountain farmers over recent decades. LFA payments had an important role within the last Rural Development Programme (2000 ? 2006) and for the next period (2007 ? 2013) only minor alterations to the support scheme are proposed. These payments are particularly important in Austria because mountain farming has the key role in safeguarding the sensitive eco-system through the preservation of the multifunctional landscape and the general living and working space.