1. Key messages about local development and CLLD in this country
Denmark has one national programme for each fund (EAFRD and EMFF) and all Danish CLLD activities are taking place under these two programmes. The LAGs and FLAGs implementing CLLD in rural and coastal areas of Denmark are organised as associations with open elections for their boards.
3. Possibility of multi-funding (linking several Funds in one strategy)
During the last two programming periods the implementation of CLLD in Denmark has allowed multi-funding. During the programming period 2014-20, 3 groups are single-Fund FLAGs implementing a part of the EMFF programme, 19 groups are single-fund LAGs implementing a part of the EAFRD programme, whereas 7 are multi-fund (F)LAGs simultaneously implementing parts of both the fisheries and rural development programmes.
4. Number of LAGs
Number of LAGs using this Fund
Total number of LAGs
There are also other project support options in Denmark. They mainly concerns support for non-profit projects through the EAFRD, foundations and interest groups, and municipal support schemes.
5. Purposes, objectives for which CLLD is used
CLLD is used in the support of projects aiming for improved economic development in the form of diversification of the rural economy or more attractive living conditions in the rural areas of Denmark. For example, the rural local action groups can provide grants to small businesses, create activities for tourists, develop cultural and leisure opportunities or small outdoor projects. Around 3/4 of the project funds in rural LAGs go to business activities, while for fisheries/coastal FLAGs, business development is the main support area. Danish FLAG support goes to adding value, creating jobs and promoting innovation along the fisheries chain and supporting diversification of the coastal economy. In addition, a focus has appeared on enhancing and capitalising on environmental assets in the FLAG areas (e.g. recycling of materials like fishing nets and boxes).
6. State of play
Denmark is generally quick to start up in the programming periods, and there has been good progress in the implementation of the programmes. During the transition period between the 2014-20 and 2021-27 programming periods, a national transitional aid scheme has been established for FLAGs to ensure continuity of efforts in line with the extension of LAG efforts.
Discussions have started between the authorities and LAGs and FLAGs on how to ensure the best implementation of the next programming period, including in relation to the demarcation of areas that can create a LAG/FLAG and procedures around its creation.
7. Key achievements so far
Danish LAG and FLAG boards have been successful in hiring managers who function as brokers between applicants and the system, which like in many other European countries is experienced as bureaucratic. The combination of a manager and a democratically elected board provide support, local anchorage and bottom-up decision-making that none of the other administrative levels in the LAG and FLAG multi-level setup would be able to provide.
The LAG activities have also succeeded in becoming better known during the previous programming periods. This is, among other reasons, caused by intensified social media communication and the support provided to good and relevant projects, leading to immediate social and economic results in the local areas and more long-term impact. Calculations of employment impact have shown success in the creation of jobs.
8. Key barriers encountered
The interface between the bottom-up initiatives and local governance mindset at the LAG and FLAG level with the administrative work of higher tiers of governance in ministries and the EU has created some bottlenecks in the implementation of CLLD, among others in relation to delayed payments. Also, a reduction in funding has earlier on been an obstacle in the implementation, and therefore LAGs have been concerned about the viability of Danish CLLD efforts in general. Barriers to start up transnational projects have been too difficult to overcome, so the last programming periods have seen very few transnational projects. However, LAGs demonstrate enthusiasm at the national level and have achieved very good network relationships, providing opportunities for national cooperation projects and intensive CLLD networking.
9. Some national specificities
Denmark’s LAG and FLAG organisation is worth noting because the local action groups must be organised as associations with elected boards and ordinary members of the association. This has the potential to ensure better visibility and anchoring of the work of LAGs and FLAGs in the local area. It also helps to ensure that public authorities make up only a minority on the LAG and FLAG boards thus fully complying with the bottom-up spirit of the CLLD method.
This new country profile, the 22nd in this LDnet series on CLLD in Europe, offers an overview of CLLD in Denmark in the 2014-2020 period and beyond: local development approach, use of EU funds, number of LAGs, achievements so far, barriers encountered, national specificities – February 2022
Main author: Annette Aagaard Thuesen
Series coordination and editing: Urszula Budzich-Tabor, Stefan Kah, Haris Martinos