LEADER 30 years celebration & conference



About the event

After thirty years of working with LEADER, it is time to celebrate our successes, but also to look forward! We will take a look on successful LEADER-implementation during 30 years, but also investigate how we can work for local democracy and participatory approaches all over rural Europe in order to build a viable Europe.

The conference will not be digital. The speeches and panel debate, on the other hand, will be recorded and uploaded after the conference. If you have any questions regarding the conference, please feel free to send an email to elard@elard.eu

conferenc 30 years header


To be able to attend the conference, you need to register.
We prioritize those who register first. Registration is open until 30th of September for international guests.
Registration is open to Swedish guests between 30th of September and 10th of October.

Hotel booking

As an international guest, you first need to register for the conference before booking a hotel room. At the bottom of the registration page, you will find the link which will lead you to the different hotel options.


As a Swedish guest, you must first register for the conference and then wait until you receive approval to attend the conference. After that, you will have access to a booking link.


If you are unable to attend the conference due to corona restrictions or travel restrictions, it is possible to cancel your hotel room free of charge 30 days before arrival. In case of illness, the rooms can be canceled 24 hours before arrival.


You can easily travel to Halmstad by train, normally via Copenhagen if you arrive from that direction. The trainstation is in walkingdistance to all hotels and venues.



There are three options for flying and then getting to Halmstad:

Option one is to fly to Copenhagen Airport in Denmark. In non covid times this is always the best option. Connecting trains to Halmstad leaves every 30 minutes from the basement of the airport.

Option two is to fly to Landvetter Airport in Gothenburg. From there get the airport shuttle to the central station, then jump on a train to Halmstad, they run very frequently.

Option three might make sense for eastern countries mainly: Fly directly to Halmstad airport via Stockholm. Unfortunately the flights are not very frequent, and mostly the time beteen flights is too long. From Halmstad Airport there are frequent buses to the city centre.

Copenhagen Airport in Denmark

Timetable train

Alternative one is to fly to Copenhagen Airport in Denmark and then travel by train to Halmstad. The trains run about once an hour from the airport to Halmstad Central Station. The train journey takes about 2 hours.



30 of November - Arrival Day

Arrival of the participants in Halmstad, Sweden

(General Assembly ELARD at 15:00 CET)

19:00 – Welcome dinner at Halmstad Theater
(Ms Marion Eckardt, Mr Tore Holmefalk)

1 of December - Conference Day at Halmstad Theater

09:00 – Opening ceremony at Halmstad Theater
(Ms Marion Eckardt, Ms Lovisa Carneland, Mr Tore Holmefalk, Mr Jonas Bergman (tbc), Ms Mikaela Waltersson, Mr Janusz Wojciechowski (tbc), Ms Dubravca
Šuica (videorecording))

10:50 – Stock-taking on the implementation of the Long term Vision of Rural Areas.

Presentation of the state of Play on the LTVRA (Mr Kai Heikkila – DG AGRI)

Presentation of surveyresults (Ms Marion Eckardt)

Panel on the implementationprocess (Mr Mihail Dumitru, Mr Niklas Nienass, Mr Radim Sršeň, Ms Marion Eckardt, representative form the Slovenian presidency of the council (tbc), Ms Emilija Stojmenova)


Groupdiscussion for further activities

Inspiring example on local-national cooperation

15:20 – Future LEADERs

Personal encounters (Ms Sima Benni, Ms Aiva Ķīšiniece (tbc), Ms Lana Chanundeli (tbc))

Panel of future LEADERs (Mr Niklas Nienass, Ms Sima Benni, Ms Elinoora Takala, Mr Leotrim Gёrmizaj (tbc), Ms Aiva Ķīšiniece (tbc), Ms Lana Chanundeli (tbc), Mr David Canaveira (tbc))

17:00 – Closing of the day

Reflections and conclusions (Ms Iwona Lizstwan and Ms Marion Eckardt)

Practical information around second Day

18:30 – Bus leaves for Dinner

2 of December - Excursion and celebration

09:00 – Buses leave for excursions

5-6 different tours will be operated and participants will get asked to choose their prefeerence at a later stage

16:00 – Return of buses to Halmstad

19:00 – Celebration dinner and PARTY at Halmstad Theater

Celebration speech from Mr Mihail Dumitru and Ms Marion Eckardt and several members of ELARD

3 of December - Departure Day


21-07-02 Suica portrait

Dubravka Šuica

The Vice President of the European Commission

Video recorded Opening Speech

Mihail Dumitry

Mihail Dumitru

Deputy Director-General

Stock-taking on the implementation of the Long term Vision of Rural Areas

Celebration speech

More info about Mihail

Romanian nationality. Agriculture economist specialised in agrifood economics and rural development. Postgraduate studies in France and Greece at the International Centre for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies. Ph D in economics.

After graduation of Academy of Economic Studies in Bucharest, Romania he worked three years in a large state owned farm in Prahova county, South Romania. After the farm experience moved into economic research carrying research studies in agricultural economics and rural economics at the Institute of Agricultural Economics Bucharest a constituent institute of Romanian Academy where he was head of a research department. In 1995 joined the Delegation of the European Commission in Bucharest where he followed the whole process of Romania’s accession to the EU being in charge with agriculture and other related sectors. In the last years prior to accession he headed the section of the Delegation in charge of Agriculture and Internal market. In 2006 he joined DG AGRI where he was in charge of negotiation of the first rural development programme (2007-2013) of Romania co-financed by EAFRD.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural development of Romania in 2009-2010 he re-joined the European Commission in early 2011 where he took over a directorate in charge of Rural development programmes. In February 2014 he became Deputy Director General responsible for rural development and research. Since January 2017 he is DDG responsible for CAP direct support, rural development and sustainability.


Niklas NIENASS in the EP in Brussels

Niklas Nienass

Member of the European Parliament 

Stock-taking on the implementation of the Long term Vision of Rural Areas

Future LEADERs

More info about Niklas

Niklas Nienaß, born in 1992 in Marl/NRW, lives in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania since 2013, describes himself as child of the German reunification and as European. Since July 2019 he is Member of the European Parliament for Alliance 90/The Greens. As one of the youngest MEPs Nienaß is coordinator for the group Greens/EFA in the Committee on Regional Development (REGI) as well as member in the Committee on Culture and Education. Moreover, he is substitute member of the Committee on Institutional Affairs and board member of the RUMRA & Smart Village Intergroup and member of the SEARICA Intergroup. In addition he is member of the parliamentary delegations for Albania as well as Central Asia and Mongolia.

In REGI he was shadow rapporteur for the Common Provisions Regulation (CPR) of the whole cohesion policy package as well as for the Just Transition Fund. In his work on Regional Development, he focuses on the development of rural areas and on bottom-up approaches to improve the involvement of citizen in the implementation progress of regional funding.


Marion Eckardt

President of ELARD & host of this conference

Stock-taking on the implementation of the Long term Vision of Rural Areas

More info about Marion

Born and raised in Sweden she left the country when she was 20 for a life in international waters. She graduated from the Humboldt-University of Berlin in Geography, Agriculture, Geoinformatics and Environmental Management in 2002, and started an international career in participatory rural development.

2009 she moved back to rural Sweden to live with her family and to work as a LAG-manager in CLLD Halland, southwestern Sweden. 2013 she co-founded LUS, the national LEADER-network of Sweden and she is now the current president of ELARD 2020-21.


Iwona Lisztwan

Policy coordinator LEADER in the European Commission 

Closing of the day session, conclusions and reflection on LEADER

More info about Iwona

Iwona Lisztwan is coordinating the LEADER/CLLD approach in the European Commission in DG AGRI. She likes looking for new and better ways of doing things in rural development and beyond. She believes that people, their skills and motivation are in the centre of development process.

Previously, Iwona had been working on rural development in Poland and Turkey for more than 15 years. Her PhD on cohesion aspects of rural development alongside with degrees in linguistics and an MBA serve her well in daily work.


Sima Benni

Project manager at Studieförbundet Vuxenskolan

Future LEADERs

More info about Sima

My name is Sima, 20 years old and I am passionate about technology and entrepreneurship. I have run quite a few projects including LiveByYouth festival and Human Foosball plan project with Lokalt Ledd Utveckling Halland.

I work as a project leader where I help teenagers to run their own association or start a study circle.It is so important for me to be able to share my knowledge and my experiences to help teenagers understand how democratic processes work. By being a part of different boards, running projects and running my own UF company, I grew up as a person and developed a lot in a short time. Because I got opportunities and the right help to be able to be myself and decide over my free time, I want to continue working to give the same opportunities to others

Ulrika Holmgren

Ulrika Holmgren

Coordinator of the Swedish Rural Network

Moderator of the event

More info about Ulrika

After working with destination development in tourism for several years Ulrika has now solely worked with Leader in a variety of roles since 2006. Both as a Leader manager, a coordinator at the managing authority and now as the coordinator of Leader at the Swedish Rural Network. She never stops being amazed of what the bottom-up approach and the power of individuals working together can achieve!
Tore holmefalk

Tore Holmfalk

Chairperson of Community Led Local Development Halland’s board

Welcome Session

More info about Tore

Tore is a member of Community Led Local Development Halland’s board and working committee. He is a farmer and elected representative in LRF and other associations as well as companies, which means that he is well versed in the Rural Development Fund and the Regional Fund’s areas. Tore has also been self-employed for 30 years in food processing.
Lovisa Carneland

Lovisa Carneland

Chairperson of LUS – Local Development Sweden

Welcome Session

More info about Lovisa

Lovisa has solid experience of Leader and rural work as she has been active in two program periods. She has also been chairperson of LUS since 2016. Development issues in rural areas through collaboration, is something she considers to be one of the most important things we can work with.