Rural studies are characterised by a variety of approaches in terms of definitions, theoretical lenses, and assessment methods and these processes are driven by the main characteristic of the countryside, namely, its heterogeneity. However, there is a single EU rural policy, the second pillar of the EU CAP, which has some constraints regarding the scope of rural areas. The centrality of the agricultural sector with respect to EU rural policy has been reaffirmed in the period of 2014–2020, regarding both key tools and financial allocations. This shift can be attributed to globalisation, sustainability, food quality and safety, climate change, decarbonisation, and greening processes. The methodological apparatus of rural development policy evaluation is incapable of incorporating and assessing Period 4.0 period factors, even with respect to methods that focus on territorial cohesion and agri-environmental measures. Although ‘Agri-environmental rural development policy tools’ are robust in terms of financial allocations, they are less likely to affect broader, non-agricultural rural development in Period 4.0.