The LEADER programme (Liaison entre actions de développement de l’économie rurale) is effective in developing solutions to social & economic challenges in rural areas, according to a study published by the Commission on March 17. The 213-page ‘Evaluation Support Study on the Impact of Leader on Balanced Territorial Development’*, drawn up by experts in the UK, Austria & Belgium, shows that the programme is best at creating & maintaining jobs, adding local value to products & modernising businesses. LEADER accounted for only 7% of the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD), but demonstrated relevance & effectiveness across the EU, the authors found. They did identify areas for improvement, including in knowledge exchange between parts of the governance & delivery system & called for improved communication, with simpler procedures.

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