Local financing in rural areas
[ Summary ]
Challenges for the future
4.3 Financing formulas as yet unexplored
First and foremost this involves the LEADER groups’ role in the
coordination, promotion and local consolidation of ethical and
mutual aid financing.
In the Communication from the European Commission “Building an
inclusive Europe” , the LEADER Initiative was cited as one of the
Union’s instruments for actively promoting social integration.
LEADER+ groups are invited to play an increasingly active role in
supporting and assisting the emergence of collective mutual aid
alternatives in rural areas, particularly the areas hardest hit by
The territorial coordination approach taken by LEADER groups could
be extended to such fields as access to credit, the creation of
local ethical and mutual aid alternatives and access to nationally
developed alternative formulas.
Practices that exist elsewhere, either in the same country or
abroad, may inspire local approaches for:
- opening up access to finance for all project promoters;
- developing (in partnership with certain banks and appropriate
financial structures) products that match the needs of the area
- setting up the consulting and knowledge transfer mechanisms
required to enhance the management and financial autonomy of
- creating and developing the ability to build projects of
public interest that can be financed by ethical and mutual aid
- bringing to the attention of the regional authorities the
need to recognize the function of mutual aid financial structures
(and of any mechanism that facilitates access to credit for the
unemployed, young project promoters, etc.).
By integrating these aspects into the territorial coordination
approaches already developed by LEADER groups, the groups will be
able to further assert their role as “local development catalysts”.
Nonetheless, many rural areas simply do not have enough inhabitants
to make local financial structures viable. The cooperation
agreements opened up under LEADER+, aimed at securing an
appropriate scale of funding, should make it possible to overcome
the handicaps so common to rural areas due to their lack of
 Commission of the European Communities,
COM(2000)79 final, op. cit. p. 10