Agricultural Policy and Rural Development
European Rural Development Network
The LEADER European Observatory
The main aim of the LEADER II European Observatory is to facilitate
innovation transfers and exchanges of experiences and know-
how between the territories and rural players of the
It also works towards raising the profile of the LEADER II
initiative and the EU’s rural development policy.
The LEADER II European Observatory is under the direct control of
the Directorate General for Agriculture (DG VI) of the
European Commission which has made the AEIDL (European
Association for Information on Local Development)
responsible for its technical implementation.
Leading the European Network for Rural Development
The Observatory is the body responsible for leading the
«European Network for Rural Development», a network which
concerns all countries in the European Union and whose role
is to facilitate relations between a number of very diverse
- «local action groups» (LAG), whether experienced or new
(between 600 and 800 rural «micro-regions», of which 150
benefited from LEADER I, are involved in LEADER II);
- other collective actors whose action, based more on themes,
is in keeping with the logic of territorial development;
- administrations and institutions participating in the
implementation of LEADER II;
- various bodies involved in rural development.
The LEADER II European Observatory is organized around three operational entities:
- a permanent team of about twenty people within the AEIDL in
Brussels is responsible for realizing various activities
which are described below and for coordinating the plan of
- a pool of about 30 rural development experts, grouped around
six themes of work («Outlook», «Methodology of Innovation
and Rural Development», «Rural Tourism», «Local Products»,
«Environment», «New Activities and Services»), provides the
necessary expertise with regard to content, leadership of
- units responsible for leadership of the Network on a national
level are completing the plan of action in most Member
States of the European Union.
The technical assistance provided to beneficiaries of LEADER II
particularly involves the production of various
publications devoted to rural development:
- INFO-LEADER - the Information bulletin of the Network (10
issues per year in 7 languages) is distributed to local
action groups and administrative bodies responsible for
- LEADER-MAGAZINE - published 3 times a year, this review has
a high circulation (30 000 copies in 11 languages) informs
readers of the achievements of LEADER, by discussion of the
main issues concerning rural development in Europe;
- «INNOVATION SPECIFICATIONS», METHODOLOGICAL GUIDES AND OTHER
TECHNICAL FILES - these documents are specifically aimed at
technicians, development officers, local heads and are
devoted in particular to methods of territorial
development, based in the realisations of LEADER groups.
- DIRECTORY OF «EUROPEAN UNION ACTION PROGRAMMES AND RURAL
DEVELOPMENT» - this directory, in the form of regularly
updated cards, presents all actions, programmes, etc.
implemented by the European Commission and which affect
- DIRECTORY OF «INNOVATIVE ACTION PROGRAMMES AND RURAL
DEVELOPMENT» - this document, in the form of analytical
cards, describes numerous innovative action programmes led
by local action groups and likely to illustrate the
diversity of European problems concerning rural development
and their solutions;
- DIRECTORY OF NATIONAL AND REGIONAL LEADER PROGRAMMES - for
each Member State and European region affected by LEADER,
this work will present the characteristics of its rural
development policy, its position concerning the
implementation of the Initiative as well as the details of
territories which benefit from the LEADER intervention.
«Rural Europe» Internet Site
All publications indicated above can be accessed on this site.
Also available for on-line consultation are the names and addresses of
local action groups and those in charge of
them, the events which may be of interest to rural players,
partnership research from LEADER beneficiaries, etc.
Discussion forums on major themes concerning rural
development are also open on the site.
Seminars and conferences
Each year the LEADER II European Observatory organizes about ten
transnational seminars on key themes concerning the local
approach to rural development. These meetings are primarily
for LEADER beneficiaries but organizations directly
concerned by the theme in question may also attend.
Technical assistance to trans-national cooperation
Under close guidance from the Commission, the LEADER II European
Observatory manages a budget of ECU 4 million aimed at
helping local action groups wishing to participate in a
cooperation project, identify potential partners, define
the project and specify the methods for its realization.
Funding is planned to organize the first meetings (a maximum of
5000 ECU) and to carry out a feasibility study (a maximum
of 20000 ECU).
Once this is done, partners concerned may request financial aid
under section C of the Initiative («Transnational
Two other specific information sheets are available (in 7 languages)
from the LEADER II European Observatory:
- «Directions of use for the Rural Europe Internet site»
- «LEADER II transnational cooperation»
date of publication: 01/98