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From LEADER to CLLD: The Adoption of the New Fund Opportunities and of Their Local Development Options


Loris Servillo, Martijn De Bruijn

This work is distributed under the Creative Commons Licence Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0).

In the 2014-20 Cohesion Policy programming period, the Member States and regions are requested to address their specific territorial challenges and needs through targeted investments using an integrated approach to territorial development. Among the new delivery tools to support the implementation of this approach is Community-led Local Development (CLLD), which was introduced in the context of Cohesion Policy extending the already existing LEADER approach for rural development and fishery policy. Two relevant financial innovations characterise CLLD in comparison to LEADER: a wider financial support, including ERDF and ESF; and the possibility to integrate the available Funds in support of a Local Development Strategy.The paper addresses this innovative dimension of the CLLD initiative, sketching an overview of its implementation using ERDF and ESF across the EU. It reflects on the adoption of the various options, and on its national and regional patterns. The investigation highlights the positive response across the EU, even if the potential innovation that the CLLD initiative could have unleashed in terms of integrated local development strategies does not appear to be fully exploited. Resistance towards innovation, technical and administrative aspects related to the rules, and specific national and regional attitudes are presented as main factors for the mixed adoption.

Loris Servillo, Marie Curie Research Fellow, University College of London – Bartlett School of Planning (UK). For correspondence:; Martijn De Bruijn, Civil Servant in the Flemish Administration – Environment and Spatial Planning Department (BE); Senior Consultant on Territorial and Urban Policy; former seconded National Expert in DG REGIO – Competence Centre Social Inclusion, Territorial and Urban Development. For correspondence: paper is part of L. Servillo’s research project that has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Grant Agreement No. 749899.


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