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Community-led local development: strengthening territorial cohesion  
Regional and local leaders delivered their proposals on how to strengthen territorial dimension in a wider range of policy fields and how to increase the involvement of local actors in delivering EU co-funded investment plan, during the 136th European Committee of the Regions (CoR) Plenary that took place on 7-9 October in Brussels. In the opinion on "The CoR's contribution to the renewed Territorial Agenda, with special emphasis on community-led local development (CLLD)", drafted by Radim Sršeň (CS/EPP), Regional Councillor of Olomouc, they call for more bottom-up territorial visions and for increasing the share of funding for CLLD.

Regions and cities are getting ready for the new 2021-2027 programming period and are looking at how to address new challenges by using a community focused and local approach. This approach allows them to make an integrated use of different EU funds, that are based on strong involvement of local actors in both phases of the process: planning and delivering. CLLD is a specific tool for use at sub-regional level, which is complementary to other development support at local level. The term means that local development strategies focus on specific sub-regional areas and are community-led by local action groups composed of representatives of local public and private socio-economic interests.

Within the upcoming renewal of the Territorial Agenda post-2020, currently under preparation led by acting Presidencies of the European Council, the CoR calls for an increase in uptake of territorial instruments, in particular in the form of community-led local development (CLLD), along with integrated territorial investments and other policy steps that seek to fulfil the renewed Territorial Agenda (TA) (for more information please check here ) and reach cohesion goals.

"Community-led local development has proved to be a very successful tool of local development delivering European values by local means through a strong engagement of citizens and a bottom-up approach", said the Rapporteur.

This opinion drafted by the Rapporteur Radim Sršeň (CS/EPP), emphasises that territorial cohesion is essential for the success of cohesion policy. The recommendations advocate for stronger links between Cohesion Policy and TA at all stages – with CLLD placed at the core of this link. According to the rapporteur, the TA post-2020 is essential to address inequalities between places and the people who live in them, and should be seen as an opportunity to present a new narrative for the future of the EU and the development of all regions.

Mr. Sršeň said: " Strengthening the European Union's Territorial Agenda and Community-led local development can play a crucial role in bringing Europe closer to citizens and re-establishing missing legitimacy of the EU".

Therefore, the CoR calls for mandatory earmarking of 8% for CLLD from all European Structural and Investment Funds and European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) to fully use the potential of the tool and synergies of different funds for integrated local development. In this way, this tool will be fully exploited and will increase the impact of this specific approach in the cohesion policy.

However, looking at the next programming phase, a stronger technical support can help increase the use of all available integrated development tools. The CoR suggests the introduction of a mechanism for a quick update to easily respond to new and emerging challenges that may shape the TA post-2020. In this context, the Rapporteur made some proposals to improve the situation. The European Committee of the Regions calls for:

· the development of the territorial instruments at a local, regional, national and European level in the post-2020 period,

· the strengthening of rural-urban linkages for the TA post-2020.

These proposals aim to guarantee a greater use of territorial instruments in the Member States and intend to meet the renewed TA and cohesion objectives. They also intend to ensure a stronger involvement of local communities on the implementation of EU funds.

Contact:

Débora Teixeira (CoR)
Tel. +32 22822499
Mobile +32 493 93 23 09
debora.teixeira@cor.europa.eu 

Pierluigi Boda (CoR)
Tel. +32 22822461
Mobile +32 473 85 17 43
pierluigi.boda@cor.europa.eu