Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Successor programme


Programme funding

EUR 400 million

Official Journal Reference

C 73 of 1991-03-19

Legislative Reference

To find innovative solutions which will serve as a model for development of all rural areas and ensure maximum integration between sectoral measures.


On 15 March 1991, the Commission of the European Communities, acting pursuant to Article 11 of Regulation (EEC) No 4253/88 (Official Journal No L 374 of 31.12.1988), decided to establish the LEADER initiative to serve as a model for rural development. The initiative is designed to establish a network of local rural development action groups enjoying a substantial degree of flexibility in implementing at local level the initiatives financed by national global grants. It is additional to the local development measures contained in the Community support frameworks.


Three types of measures:

- Measures for agricultural and rural development:
. Technical support to rural development;
. Vocational training and assistance for recruitment;
. Rural tourism;
. Small firms, craft enterprises and local services;
. Exploitation and marketing of local agricultural, forest and fishery products;
. Other measures;

- Measures concerning local development groups:
. Assistance for the establishment of a group;
. Aid for data handling and transmission equipment;
. Technical assistance;

- Measures concerning the transnational network for groups:
. Costs of operation;
. Costs of assessment;
. Cost of circulation of results achieved.


The Commission is responsible for the implementation of the initiative. It takes the form of integrated global grants to competent bodies (which may be public authorities) nominated by the Member States. The bodies coordinate use of the grant by local rural development groups. Leading figures in the local economy and society take part in the operation of the groups, which may, in some cases, be local collective bodies (associations of municipalities). The public, private or mixed bodies which act as groups are selected by the Commission and the Member States in collaboration on the basis of broader proposals made by the Member States, taking account of: guarantee of solvency; administrative ability; local presence; participation of leading figures in the local economy and society in their operation; quality of the local development programme proposed by the group in the form of a multiannual business plan; know-how and expertise on rural development; and acceptance of the principle of operating as a transnational network. Use is made of either existing or new bodies set up by local communities. Appropriate technical assistance is provided where required for new groups.

The groups operate on a network basis to exchange information and experience. Each local group is given the minimum equipment required for this, enabling them to act as intermediaries in exchanges by linking up to a series of transmission and database networks.

The groups undertake the delegated management of global financial allocations coordinated by the national body. The funds are allocated to them on the basis of the local rural development programme submitted by them (business plan).

All areas under Objectives 1 and 5 (b) are eligible under this initiative. The rural area under development should have a population ranging from about 5000 to 100000 people corresponding to an area smaller than the NUTS III administrative category. Within this area individual initiatives undertaken by the groups may concern rural communities of a smaller size.

At national level, if justified by the number of groups within the Member State, a single monitoring committee specifically concerned with LEADER monitors and assesses the local groups. All necessary information is sent to the regional monitoring committees for the regions in which groups have been established in order to allow those committees to ensure consistency within the relevant Community framework.
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