Many questions are asked about the Leader+ initiative, especially in relation to eligibility, implementation, financing and the future of Leader+. Although you can normally get answers to your questions from the various pages on the Leader+ site, you may also find the answer to your question(s) already listed here.
In any case it's a useful source of information which is continuously updated. Of course any other questions you may have can still be asked using the 'contact' button.
- What does the acronym Leader stand for?
- What is a Local Action Group?
- How many Local Action Groups are there in Europe?
- What are the four priority themes, and how many LAGs cover each theme?
- What is the total amount of money reserved for the Leader+ scheme?
- Does Leader+ cover the New Member States of the EU?
State of the art
- How do I get Leader+ funding?
- Is there a financial support to set up a Leader+ LAG?
- How can I receive publications and methodological materials relating to Leader+?
Future of Leader+
- Will the Leader+ LAGs continue in the new programming period?
- Is there an evaluation of the results of Leader+?
- Is it compulsory for transnational projects to be approved in both countries? / What are the application procedures for transnational cooperation in different countries?
- Is there a model for transnational cooperation agreement to follow?
- Is it possible for a Leader+ LAG to have as a cooperation partner a non Leader+ group?
- Is it possible to cooperate with groups in countries outside the European Union?
History of Leader
- Are there pan-European Leader events / networking opportunities?
- Can the Leader+ Contact Point present the Leader+ initiative at an event I have organised?
- Can we visit the Leader+ Contact Point?
- Where can I find a map of LAGs in Europe?
What does the acronym Leader stand for?
Leader is a French acronym, standing for ‘Liaison Entre Actions de Développement de l'Économie Rurale’, meaning ‘Links between the rural economy and development actions’.
What is a Local Action Group?
Local Action Groups (LAGs) are made up of public and private partners from the rural territory, and must include representatives from different socio-economic sectors. They receive financial assistance to implement local development strategies, by awarding grants to local projects. They are selected by the managing authority of the Member State, which is either a national, regional or local, private or public body responsible for the management of the programme. For a list of LAGs in your country, you may consult the interactive map of Europe which is linked to the LAG database.
How many Local Action Groups are there in Europe?
There are a total of 893 LAGs selected under the Leader+ Community initiative among the 15 Member States of the European Union before its enlargement in 2004. To know more about Leader+ type measures in the New Member States, please refer to the question “Does Leader+ cover the New Member States of the EU?”
What are the four priority themes, and how many LAGs cover each theme?
The priority themes are set by the European Commission and are considered to be of special interest at Community level. Each development plan must be structured around one of these themes:
- The use of know-how and new technologies to make the products and services of rural areas more competitive (11%)
- Improving the quality of life in rural areas (24%)
- Adding value to local products, in particular by facilitating access to markets for small production units via collective actions (20%)
- Making the best use of natural and cultural resources, including enhancing the value of sites of Community interest selected under Natura 2000 (34%)
Please note that in some programmes LAGs were allowed to have more than one theme, although they still had to choose a principal theme. Furthermore, additional national themes were also chosen, and themes proposed by LAGs which address specific situations in the territory were also considered by the managing authorities.
What is the total amount of money reserved for the Leader+ scheme?
A total of EUR 5046.5 million (before indexation) can be spent in the period 2000-2006, of which EUR 2105.1 million is funded by the European Community (EAGGF- Guidance) and the remainder by national governments, other national public bodies, and the private sector. The amount allocated in each country can be found on the country datasheets.
Does Leader+ cover the New Member States of the EU?
No. The Leader+ initiative covers the period 2000-2006 and includes only the 15 Member States before enlargement. However, the New Member States were given the option to implement Leader+ type measures for the remaining period of the programme since they joined the EU in May 2004. Six out of the ten new Member States have decided to implement these measures in their Objective 1 programmes (2004-2006): Czech Republic, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Hungary, and Poland. These Leader+ type measures have been mainly focused around the acquisition of skills such as training and building local development partnerships, called ‘Scheme 1’ measures. Once LAGs have been selected they will be able to fund projects under local development strategies (‘Scheme 2’) which will last until the end of the programme.
State of the art
How do I get Leader+ funding?
You should first check whether you are located in a Leader+ Local Action Group territory. The quickest way to do this is to check our interactive map of LAGs. If you are still unsure about the precise boundary of the territory, please contact the National Network Unit (NNU) in your country from this list. You may then ask for a copy of the local development strategy from the LAG to see if your project may be considered. It is then possible to make a formal application to the relevant LAG who will decide according to its own internal procedures.
Is there a financial support to set up a Leader+ LAG?
It is no longer possible to set up a Leader+ LAG under the present programming period (2000-2006). However it will be possible to get support to set up a Leader local action group for the next programming period (2007-2013) under the rural development programmes funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development. Please contact the managing authorities in your country/region.
How can I receive publications and methodological materials relating to Leader+?
There is a great deal of information available on Leader+ depending on your requirements. A Leader+ Magazine is published three times a year in 22 different languages, and the newsletter Flash News appears regularly in five languages. In addition, there is: a CD Rom entitled ‘Leader: from initiative to method’ which is available in seven languages (developed under Leader II but including general information on the Leader method which is still valid for Leader+); leaflets ‘Leader +: A community initiative for rural development’ in six languages; and information can be downloaded from the Leader+ library.
Finally, the Leader+ Observatory organises conferences on methodological themes, and this documentation is available on the events section of the website.
Future of Leader+
Will the Leader+ LAGs continue in the new programming period?
The Leader method will be part of the EU funded rural development programmes in the new programming period 2007-2013. The selection of local development strategies implemented by local action groups will be made by managing authorities (national or regional authorities or private bodies empowered by the Member State), following the national or regional rural development plans and Community legislation. Given their experience in Leader, the existing LAGs will of course have a good chance to be involved in the Leader axis of the national / regional Rural Development Programme 2007-2013.
Is there an evaluation of the results of Leader+?
Is it compulsory for transnational projects to be approved in both countries? / What are the application procedures for transnational cooperation in different countries?
Yes. Each managing authority of the participating LAGs must approve an application for funding under action two of the Leader+ initiative (transnational cooperation). This rule does not apply to a few Member States or regions where the local action group selects the project, namely: Sweden, Ireland (except for projects with Northern Ireland) and some regions of Italy. To understand the procedures for the approval of transnational cooperation projects, you may consult the Leader+Library on transnational cooperation on the Leader+ website, which includes information on the specific requirements of managing authorities as well as all the necessary contact details.
Is there a model for transnational cooperation agreement to follow?
There is a model for transnational cooperation agreement contained in the annex of the ‘Guidelines for the administrative implementation of projects for cooperation between rural areas financed by operational programmes or global grants’ produced by the European Commission. You may also find interesting examples of best practice from the Leader+ event on transnational cooperation and from the Leader II initiative.
Is it possible for a Leader+ LAG to have as a cooperation partner a non Leader+ group?
Yes, it is possible if the group follows the principles of the Leader+ model. There are programmes funding Leader like local action groups in some EU Member States (Finland, Spain, Germany, Ireland, Czech Republic, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Cyprus) as well as non EU Member States (e.g. Switzerland: see below for more information), where cooperation is also possible.
Is it possible to cooperate with groups in countries outside the European Union?
Yes, this is possible, providing the group follows the Leader+ model described above. There have already been Leader+ projects in cooperation with local development groups in the following third countries: Bulgaria, Romania, Tunisia and Algeria (under the French programme); Azerbeijan and Georgia (under the Italian region Veneto programme); Serbia-Montenegro (under the Luxembourg programme); Brazil (under the Portugal programme); Switzerland (Portugal, Germany, France, Italy); Iceland (under the English programme); Norway, Russia and Canada (under the Scottish programme).
Have the New Member States established National Network Units (NNUs) yet?
Those Member States which chose to adopt Leader+ type measures after enlargement are in the process of establishing NNUs, with some at a more advanced stage than others. For more information please contact us.
History of Leader
Where can I find information from Leader I and II?
The website of Leader II, which covered the period 1996-1999, is still available to consult via the archives on the Leader+ website. Leader I was the launch of the Leader method, and unfortunately there is very little information available for this programme (1991-1995) on the website.
Are there pan-European Leader events / networking opportunities?
There are many Leader events organized throughout the year at every level. In addition to the events organised by the LAGs, there are events hosted by the national network units, managing authorities, and also the European Leader+ Observatory, both in Brussels and in the Member States. A list of all forthcoming events can be found in the events calendar on the Leader+ website.
Can the Leader+ Contact Point present the Leader+ initiative at an event I have organised?
Yes. The team of information officers will consider any invitations to present the Leader+ initiative if asked in good time. Please contact us to discuss in more detail your requirements.
Can we visit the Leader+ Contact Point?
Certainly. Our office is easily accessible in the European quarter of Brussels and information officers will be ready to answer your questions and present aspects of Leader+. Please contact us to arrange a suitable time to visit, and follow this link to a map showing the location of our office in Brussels.
Where can I find a map of LAGs in Europe?
You can find a map of Local Action groups in Europe in the Publications section of our website. If you are interested in getting LAG maps for each country, you can download them from the Member states files.