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Transnational Cooperation – an Opportunity for Social Innovation of Rural Regions

Thomas Dax, Stefan Kah


Transnational cooperation is a policy instrument of the LEADER programme that has been available to local actors since the start of LEADER 25 years ago. However, its potential for social innovation has been underutilised so far. An assessment of the international debate about the usefulness of the scheme and the analysis of a case study in Austria provides insights into obstacles and opportunities of this instrument. In particular, there are opportunities for a greater use of transnational cooperation due to increased spatial interrelations and the extension of the LEADER approach to other European Structural and Investment Funds, i.e. by implementing Community-led Local Development (CLLD). The current (2014-20) EU programme period might therefore provide additional stimuli for creativity in rural development activities.

Thomas Dax is Deputy Director at the Federal Institute for Less-Favoured and Mountainous Areas (Bundesanstalt für Bergbauernfragen), Vienna, Austria; for correspondence: thomas.dax@berggebiete.at. Stefan Kah is Research and Knowledge Exchange Fellow at the European Policies Research Centre (EPRC), University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK; for correspondence: stefan.kah@strath.ac.uk. The views expressed in this article are personal.

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