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Dear ELARD members!
2017 is crucial year for better LEADER/CLLD in the future. ELARD has drawn up a declaration on LEADER/CLLD for the 2021-2027 programming period. This document brings forward key issues that we need to negotiate with European Commission and in Member States.

The role of ELARD members here is very important because you are on the field in your countries and run these discussions with your Managing Authorities and Rural Networks. This is not an easy task, but we are only then successful making the desired change in LEADER if we are getting Member States to realize that turn towards trustful and result oriented LEADER implementation that follows the simple logic of rural people is needed. We need to join our forces and work towards two directions – our members at national level and ELARD at European level.
Main messages of the LEADER/CLLD declaration that we need to communicate are as follows:
1. Bigger role of communities and bottom-up approach in rural development. LEADER/CLLD needs wider platform and in addition to rural development policy it has to be integrated to all relevant EU and national policies.
2. Better and closer dialogue with Commission and MAs and more efficient solutions to improve the quality of LEADER/CLLD. Trust the experience of LAGs that they have received throughout 25 years. Representative networks of LAGs must be accepted as full partners by MAs and Commission.
3. Empowerment of communities as main purpose of LEADER must come back into focus. Leader principles have to be re-asserted and treated with full respect.
4. Balanced legal framework: Correct application of the LEADER method in Member States on the one hand and a significant decrease in the bureaucratic burden that lies on LAGs on the other hand.
5. Truly bottom-up implementation of LDS: the flexibility of wide range of development actions has to be assured to LAGs. Good practices where LAGs design their own measures have to be promoted more widely. Selection and approval of TNC projects has to be done by LAGs.
6. Animation activities and capacity building of LAGs and other LEADER actors. We need to use this potential better and create conditions that allow LAGs to concentrate their role of animating their area. Common understanding among LEADER actors about the value of animation and TNC.
7. Simple and harmonized rules: timely definition of simple rules, guidelines, evaluation and IT systems aiming at maximum harmonization between the ESI Funds. All stakeholders are involved. Flexible and open platforms for IT.
8. 3in1 CLLD in Members States: creating one CLLD source of funding using different ESI Funds resources, coordination under one MA followed by one unique set of rules at the EU level.
9. Collegial spirit has to be strengthened: LAGs and authorities need to be well-trained and made aware of each others realities (study tours, trainings, staff exchange, etc).
Wishing successful negotiations improving LEADER/CLLD for 2021-2027!

Kristiina Tammets
President of ELARD, LAG manager from South Estonia
ELARD members: the LEADER forum Austria network

 Briefly about the network

The LEADER forum Austria network was an informal network in the last programming period and met once or twice a year. With the new period 2014-2020 the LAGs became more responsible in the funding process and therefore the informal network became an association at the beginning of 2016. But still it is an independent and voluntary association of LEADER action groups (LAGs) in Austria. Read more

ELARD members: BAG LAG in Germany

 Briefly about the network

The BAG LAG – Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft der LEADER-Aktionsgruppen in Deutschland – started in 2009, working informally and voluntarily the first years until a formal association was founded in June 2016. With some financial support from the German federal government and in cooperation with the Agricultural Social Society (ASG) we established a small office with two employees. Read more

ELARD policy work - reports of the meetings, important events

Minutes of the LEADER/CLLD Subgroup meeting (21.02.2017)

Report of the seminar: Achieving Results the CLLD Way: Putting the Method to Work; highlights of the seminar (6.-8.12.2016)

ELARD main events in 2017
In spring: LEADER/CLLD seminar with introduction of LEADER/CLLD declaration. Special session will be organized for MEPs.
4-6 August: LEADER/CLLD seminar in the frame of Estonian Rural Parliament.
9-12 October: LEADER/CLLD seminar at Open Days in Brussels.
18-21 October: European Rural Parliament in the Netherlands, LEADER/CLLD and integrated development project.
In autumn: kick-off meeting for ENPARD project.
22-23 November: ELARD GA, Estonian presidency closing event and election of new President.
More events regarding LEADER/CLLD and rural development you will find here.
Copyright © 2017 ELARD Aisbl, All rights reserved.

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