CLLD in the 2014–2020 EU Programming Period: An Innovative Framework for Local Development
3.1. Uptake of CLLD in Europe
- No use—12 countries continued their 2007–2013 approach and decided to only make use of rural development and fisheries funding. Of these, the majority implemented CLLD in a traditional mono-fund way, namely Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, and Spain. Only Denmark and Latvia allowed multi-funding, combining EAFRD and EMFF in a limited number of LAGs.
- Limited use--In five countries, cohesion policy-funded CLLD was implemented in a very limited way. This can be seen in Austria, Germany, and Italy, where the approach was only adopted by selected regions (Italy) or federal states (Austria, Germany). In the Netherlands, the application is even more concentrated, with just one ERDF-funded LAG in an urban area. In Lithuania, although applied across the country, the cohesion policy-funded LAGs only implemented the ESF without any multi-funding.
- Extensive use—Six countries used CLLD more widely to implement cohesion policy funds. The UK left it to its devolved administrations to choose their approach, and only England decided to make use of both ERDF and ESF. Both Hungary and Romania expanded the range of funds used beyond rural development and fisheries by establishing CLLD LAGs in urban areas. However, these tended to operate separately from their EAFRD- and EMFF-funded counterparts. In Bulgaria, Greece, and two regions of Poland, a considerable number of LAGs added ERDF or ESF to the traditional funding sources, while established mono-EAFRD LAGs continued to play an important role.
- Comprehensive use—The five countries that went furthest in their use of cohesion policy funds, with all allowing for multi-funding, were Czechia, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Sweden. In Czechia, Slovakia, and Slovenia, all LAGs used at least two funds. These three countries largely adopted a “one-size-fits-all” approach, with only minor differences in Czechia (not all LAGs used ESF) and Slovenia (four coastal LAGs also used EMFF). In Portugal and Sweden, however, there was a greater diversity of models. Eight LAGs in Sweden used all four available ESI funds; the only other case can be found in Poland (LAG Pojezierze Brodnickie).
3.2. Funding for CLLD
- The ESF played a very strong role for Portuguese, Bulgarian, and Romanian LAGs.
- The EMFF was particularly important in Cyprus, Estonia, and Latvia.
- The ERDF was a major source of funding in Slovakia, Slovenia, and especially in Czechia, where it was by far the dominant component of the average LAG budget. Interestingly, the corresponding average Czech EAFRD budget was the lowest in the whole of the EU.
3.3. Experiences with CLLD Implementation
- Conventional approaches, e.g.,
- Local development strategies (LDSs) focused mostly on entrepreneurship, small-scale food processing and production, artisanal entrepreneurs, thematic tourism and small-scale projects of public interest (Greece, under EAFRD).
- Support focused mainly on investments to assist small-scale fishery and to add value to fisheries products, e.g., direct sales and short value chains (Italy, under EMFF).
- More nuanced formulations, e.g.,
- The LDSs included local food pacts and short value chains, new services to the population, creation of “third places” (co-working spaces, fab labs etc.), etc. (France).
- The LDSs included attracting young people and businesses to the rural areas, integration of migrants and refugees, a strong environmental focus, etc. (Sweden).
- In some cases, the formulation was in broad themes, e.g.,
- Job creation and economic development, youth, reducing social exclusion and poverty (Lithuania).
- Economic added value, natural and cultural heritage, common wellbeing (Austria).
- In a few (exceptional) cases there appeared to be no restrictions, e.g.,
- Generally, LAG LDSs did not have any thematic or eligibility restrictions (Germany).
- No thematic restrictions for LDSs (Luxembourg).
- The purpose tended to be differentiated according to rural, urban, or fisheries. For example, in Romania, the following occurred:
- Under LEADER, key goals were fostering local initiatives, upholding local traditions, diversifying the local economy through investments in tourism, and adding value to local raw materials;
- Under the EMFF, CLLD was mainly used to support investments in adding value to fishery products, diversifying local economies, and improvements in the infrastructures of fishery areas;
- Under urban CLLD, the key aims were to reduce the number of people at risk of poverty and social exclusion in marginalised communities.
- The main barriers were linked with the complex administrative systems and delays at the national or regional level. As a result, and also due to the lack of access to co-financing or pre-financing, many beneficiaries were unable or unwilling to apply for funding, or had to give up their project idea (France).
- The administration of LEADER has become increasingly bureaucratic and burdensome. This can be off-putting for project promoters, and can lead to a decline in innovation (Ireland).
- The LAG and FLAG boards have been successful in hiring managers who function as brokers between applicants and the system, which in many other European countries is experienced as bureaucratic (Denmark).
- Where national rules were excessively restrictive, LAGs had less time for animation activities and had problems motivating and explaining to local development stakeholders this top-down approach (Croatia).
- There were also references to specific barriers, for instance at national level, as follows:
- The centrally designed and imposed results-based monitoring system has been criticised as too complicated and somewhat missing the point of the LEADER added value (Austria).
- Insufficient national promotion of the LEADER approach (Croatia).
- There were also barriers at the local level, as follows:
- The quality of the local partnerships—which is a key factor of success in CLLD—varied greatly (Italy).
- Working with LAGs within different settings and with diverse levels of experiences was a complex challenge (Portugal).
- Getting multi-funded CLLD off the ground proved quite challenging (Sweden).
- The F/LAG management and strategy implementation had a high level of complexity due to the involvement of several uncoordinated managing authorities, several national or regional regulations, and many IT systems (Greece).
- The influence on equal opportunities in respect to gender was said to be tangible (Austria).
- Self-evaluation has become common practice and yields satisfactory results (Austria).
- The tackling of new themes, such as a circular and bioeconomy, alternative energy, smart villages, etc. (Latvia).
- The one-stop-shop role of the CLLD Coordination Committee has proved to be a success, as it allowed for improving communication and capacity building between managing authorities, intermediate bodies, the paying agency, and LAGs (Slovenia).
- A number of practical innovations have been introduced to facilitate CLLD delivery, such as umbrella projects, simplified cost options for running costs and for projects, or availability of advance payments for all types of beneficiaries—although there are some differences in the application of these mechanisms between funds. The special legal form established to facilitate the creation of LAGs as public–private partnerships was generally assessed as a success (Poland).
- The first umbrella projects, for which simplified rules apply, were successfully implemented in the 2014–20 funding period (Luxembourg).
3.5. The Urban Dimension of CLLD
- Broadening the range of eligible themes, thus, strengthening the bottom-up decision-making;
- Targeting all types of territories, including rural, urban, and coastal areas;
- Increased synergies between policy areas;
- Economies of scale (for example for promotion and communication activities);
- Increased total funding allocation to the local strategies;
- Possibility of LAGs playing the role of “one-stop-shops” for different types of beneficiaries.
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
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|Stage||Period||Funding||No. of LAGs|
|LEADER I||1991–1993||Rural, ERDF, ESF||217|
|LEADER II||1994–1999||Rural, ERDF, ESF||821|
|LEADER axis||2007–2013||Rural, fisheries||2200|
|CLLD||2014–2020||Rural, fisheries, ERDF, ESF||3333|
|CLLD/LEADER *||2021–2027||Rural, fisheries, ERDF, ESF+||tbc|
|Country||Mono EAFRD||Mono EMFF||EAFRD-EMFF||Mono ERDF||Mono ESF||Mono ETC||EAFRD-ERDF||EAFRD-ESF||EMFF-ERDF||EMFF-ESF||ERDF-ESF||EAFRD-EMFF-ERDF||EAFRD-EMFF-ESF||EAFRD-ERDF-ESF||EMFF-ERDF-ESF||All 4||Total LAGs|
|Country||ERDF Only||ESF Only||ERDF and ESF|
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Kah, S.; Martinos, H.; Budzich-Tabor, U. CLLD in the 2014–2020 EU Programming Period: An Innovative Framework for Local Development. World 2023, 4, 122-139. https://doi.org/10.3390/world4010009
Kah S, Martinos H, Budzich-Tabor U. CLLD in the 2014–2020 EU Programming Period: An Innovative Framework for Local Development. World. 2023; 4(1):122-139. https://doi.org/10.3390/world4010009Chicago/Turabian Style
Kah, Stefan, Haris Martinos, and Urszula Budzich-Tabor. 2023. "CLLD in the 2014–2020 EU Programming Period: An Innovative Framework for Local Development" World 4, no. 1: 122-139. https://doi.org/10.3390/world4010009