Agricultural Policy and Rural Development
Development of disadvantaged
rural areas of the European Union
"Community initiative for rural development (LEADER II: ‘Links between actions for the
development of the rural economy')".
- Communication to the Member States laying down guidelines for global grants or integrated
operational programmes for which Member States are invited to submit applications for assistance within the framework of a
Community initiative for rural development (OJ C 180 of 1/7/1994).
- to ensure that support for exemplary local initiatives involving local development
continues from LEADER I;
- to support operations that are innovative, suitable as a model and transferable, and that illustrate the
new directions that rural development may take;
- to step up exchanges of experiences and the transfer of know-how through
a European rural development network;
- to back transnational cooperation projects developed by the local bodies in
rural areas which reflect heir solidarity.
- Eligible areas LEADER II applies in the rural areas of regions eligible under Objectives 1 (lagging
behind in development),
5b (fragile rural areas) and 6 (areas with very low population density). However, a maximum of
10% of the appropriations allocated for this Initiative to areas 5b may be assigned
to non-eligible neighbouring areas.
- Beneficiaries Principally, the "local action groups" as defined by LEADER I, i.e. a combination
of public and private partners jointly devising a strategy and innovative measures for the development of a rural area on
the scale of a local community (less than 100 000 inhabitants); Other rural collective bodies, public or private (local
authorities, consular chambers, cooperations, associations, etc.), provided that their more specific activities relate to a
plan for the rural development of a local area.
LEADER II has 4 measures:
- acquiring skills (measure A) - step prior to the development
rural innovation programmes in areas where the practice of local development is new.
This measure concerns actions such as analysis of the local area,
motivating and training local people to participate actively in the development
process, drawing up a strategy, and finding finance;
- rural innovation programmes (measure B) - these model and transferable
programmes are promoted by local action groups or, in some cases, by other
collective bodies. They are extremely innovative in terms of
method and content and in relation to the policies conducted in the same area,
particularly in the context of operational programmes.
Rural innovation programmes are multiannual.
They can be comprised of a set of very diversified measures in terms of:
- technical support for rural development,
- vocational training,
- support for rural tourism,
- support for small businesses,
- local exploitation and marketing of agricultural, forestry and fisheries products,
- preservation and improvement of the environment and living conditions
- transnational cooperation (measure C): the objective is to facilitate
the devising and development of joint projects by groups and other local bodies from at
least two Member States;
- European network for rural development (measure D): the different
components of LEADER II make up a European network for rural development,
constituting for all the public and private bodies concerned a permanent tool for the
exchange of achievements, experience and know-how. This network is coordinated by the
LEADER European Observatory through various tools and services (databases, publications,
electronic network, seminars, symposiums,...).
The Observatory's primary task is to analyse and make known the innovations arising out of
LEADER II. The Observatory also has the task of providing technical assistance for transnational cooperation and
may, in this capacity, pay for part of the cost related to the devising of projects (the subsequent phase of development
may perhaps be financed through measure C of the Initiative).
Financial participation of the European Union
The Community's participation has been set at 1 500 million ECU of which 900 million ECU
are for the regions of Objective 1. LEADER II applies for the duration of the new period of reform of the Structural
Funds from 1994 to 1999.
The national and/or regional authorities are responsible for the management of this programme.
These institutions have submitted to the Commission a national or regional LEADER programme concerning measures
A, B and C of the Initiative. Most of these programmes were approved in the course of 1995. The local groups
and/or the other collective bodies submit their proposals to these institutions which are responsible for the implementation
of LEADER and the selection of local projects.
Additional sources of information
In each Member State: national and/or regional authorities in
charge of rural development.
- At the Community level:
Directorate-General for Agriculture - Directorate F
Unit F3 “Coordination within rural development”
Rue de la Loi, 200
Office L 130 6/197
F: +32 2 296 59 92
E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
date of publication: 01/98