This article represents an attempt at evaluating the role of foreign financial means, chiefly those coming from the EU funds, in the generation of growth in investment outlays of local councils in 2001-2006. The problem has been analysed from the point of view of the financing of development of domains extremely important for rural areas: local roads and water supply and sewage systems. The authoress has compared the structure of financing sources in rural and rural-urban communes in the period preceding and in the period following Poland's accession to the European Union. The obtained results indicate that in 2004-2006 the communes allocated smaller amounts from their own resources to the development of the water supply and sewage infrastructure than in 2001-2003. However, this fall was more than compensated for by funds coming from foreign sources. On the other hand, such situation never occurred in other types of investment projects, where growth in the outlaid amounts - if recorded at all, was not achieved owing to the external sources of financing alone. In comparison with the 2001-2003 period growth in investment outlays on roads was attributable in 63% to the local councils' own resources and in 37% to external sources. The high share - of over 60%, of foreign, chiefly EU, funds in the increase in total investment outlays of rural and rural-urban communes in 2004-2006 confirms the significant role of the EU's structural funds in the stimulation of investment activity of local councils.