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M19 LEADER co-operation activities (community-led local development)

The LEADER method is an initiative interconnecting the activities that develop rural economy; its main aim is to provide intensive support to rural development through local inhabitants. The LEADER method is implemented through local action groups ("LAGs"). LAGs are local partnerships between the private and public sector, operating in delimitated sub-regional territories for which they propose and implement strategies.

The LEADER method will continue to be supported same as in the previous programming period 2007-2013. LAG support will expand to the other European structural and investment funds (ESI funds) through which it will be possible to use the LEADER method as community-led local development ("CLLD"). Apart from the Rural Development Programme, CLLD will be implemented also through the Integrated Regional Operational Programme (under the Ministry of Regional Development), the Operational Programme Employment (under the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs) and the Operational Programme Environment (under the Ministry of the Environment). The operational costs and costs of enlivening the strategies of community-led local development will be paid through the Integrated Regional Operational Programme from the European Regional Development Fund. The CLLD support under the ESI funds is coordinated by the Ministry of Regional Development.

For the new programming period 2014-2020, so-called compulsory standards for the functioning of LAGs have been set, through which the LAGs will prove they are able to take part in the implementation of programmes financed from the ESI funds. According to the Partnership Agreement, the Ministry of Agriculture is responsible for setting up those standards. The meeting of the standards will be assessed according to the Methodology for Standardisation of Local Action Groups in the programming period 2014-2020, which defines the standards for eligibility of LAGs, it specifies the procedures of the LAG standardisation process and specifies the documents necessary for the standardisation.

LAGs which receive the certificate of meeting the standards may submit applications for support for strategies of community-led local development to the Ministry of Regional Development. The submitted strategies will be assessed in two phases. First, they go through the formalities check and the eligibility assessment. Then, they are forwarded to the managing authorities concerned for technical assessment, examining the compliance of the strategy with the objectives and conditions of the specific programme. LAGs whose strategies meet the requirements of the appraisal process and are accepted by the managing authorities concerned, will be able, in the new programming period 2014-2020, to implement their strategies under the accepted Programme Frameworks.