One of the most remarkable aspects of the new development policies is the obligation placed upon the social actors to take concerted action for their implementation. We find a similar obligation in a great many European policies applied in the past ten years to agriculture (Regulation 2078/92 governing agri-environmental measures in 1992) or to rural areas (the Habitats Directive, also in 1992). This trend offers a concrete illustration of the ‘principle of subsidiarity’ (Millon-Delsol, 1993) or, more generally, points to the emergence of a new form of ‘governance’ tending to involve different parties from the public and private sectors faced with increasingly complex problems in the decision-making process. In every case, the determination to make consultation 1 an integral part of the decision-making process is manifest and, irrespective of the position of the actors in this process, the search for a compromise or agreement goes far beyond mere procedural requirements.