The future of rural areas

Immagine Bart Soldaat
LEADER approach sacrificed to sectorial, farmers' interests?
di Bart Soldaat - giovedì, 5 febbraio 2015, 16:29

I have been involved in the LEADER programme in The Netherlands for over 10 years now. LEADER is part of the CAP, 2nd Pillar and is above all a revolutionary approach to rural development: all stakeholders in an area (farmers, other entrepreneurs, green NGO's, civil society organisations, etc.) together make a plan for 5-7 years to improve the local economy and quality of live. The stakeholders form a Local Action Group that is responsible for selecting projects and awarding CAP subsidies. Evaluations of previous programmes show that this bottom-up approach is really working. However, Member States are obliged to only spend a minimum of 5% of their Rural Development budget on LEADER. In The Netherlands the farmers union claims that also this money is 'theirs' as it is funded from the CAP and that the LEADER programmes and budgets should only be spent to improve the socio-economic position of farmers. What I would like to know, if this is also the case in other Member States, or are there examples in which LEADER is taken really seriously by government officials as an integrated multi-actor, multi-sector approach?