1. Key messages about local development and CLLD in this country
LEADER has been implemented in Germany since 1991 and is regarded as a successful instrument. Today, CLLD is still dominated by the traditional LEADER model and the term CLLD is only used where LEADER LAGs are be able to use ERDF and ESF in addition to the EAFRD, which is only the case in one federal state (Saxony-Anhalt). LEADER is implemented through mono-funded strategies in 12 federal states (“Länder”, including a common programme for Lower Saxony and Bremen) under EAFRD programmes. In the federal State of Saxony-Anhalt, the LEADER LAGs can use also ERDF and ESF to implement their strategies (see dedicated section 4. below). Fisheries CLLD is implemented in six Länder, partly with strong links to the LEADER LAGs, but not under multi-funded strategies. The German authorities for ERDF and ESF only use the CLLD model of the Common Provision Regulation in rural or fisheries areas, i.e. not in urban areas.
3. Possibility of multi-funding (linking several Funds in one strategy)
Multi-funding has not been taken up widely in German, as it was regarded as being too rigid and complex in order to apply it outside of the LEADER context. Instead, the authorities preferred to provide the LAGs with additional national or regional funding for projects complementary to those funded under the EAFRD programmes. Saxony-Anhalt is the only German Land where LAGs have ERDF and ESF funding in addition to EAFRD funding, i.e. CLLD is used to implement Cohesion Policy funding (ERDF and ESF).
Evaluation and analysis documents from Saxony-Anhalt conclude that LAGs from Saxony-Anhalt did not suffer major changes in everyday operation during this first experimental CLLD multi-fund period 2014-20. The complexity of dealing with different and multiple awarding and managing authorities depending on which Fund is being used has affected LAG managements due to increased paperwork and regulatory frameworks.
During this period of intense learning a low level of multi-Fund projects themselves could be observed; it is primarily the wider range of projects – each backed or funded by a single Fund – which increased the thematic remit and the possibilities of LAGs in Saxony-Anhalt. Moreover, a strengthening of activities at the local level could be linked to the CLLD multi-fund implementation. Especially the combination of traditional LEADER approaches with the possibilities for training, networking, business support and social innovation development found in the ESF was considered fruitful. Finally, the ESF funded projects by LAGs in Saxony-Anhalt were considered to be heterogeneous and deviate from the traditional ESF project spectrum.
4. Number of LAGs
Number of LAGs using this Fund
Total number of LAGs
There is a vast variety of non-CLLD initiatives for local development in Germany, funded domestically either at national or Land-level. This includes urban development, where there are different initiatives supported in the Länder, and rural development, where several Federal Ministries (agriculture, interior affairs) have been designing and implementing pilot initiatives and competitions, and also the Länder have been using different tools to support rural municipalities. All these initiatives exist in parallel to LEADER. Last but not least there are different grassroots movements without any official support, such as the village movement in Brandenburg or local branding and marketing initiatives.
5. Purposes, objectives for which CLLD is used
In the German local development “jargon” the term “CLLD” is used only in relation to multi-funded European support for CLLD. Therefore, all German regions that are implementing LEADER (i.e. funded only by EAFRD), claim that they are not implementing CLLD, the only case being Saxony-Anhalt. Regarding LEADER, it can be said that generally LAG’s local development strategies do not have any thematic or eligibility restrictions.
The main purpose of CLLD in Saxony-Anhalt is the intelligent, coherent coordination of different funding instruments. Important effects are economies of scale, improvement of the effectiveness of support policies and prevention of double funding. Important areas linked to the use of this approach are the strengthening of regional activities, improvement of acceptance and relevance of CLLD, enabling social innovative projects, as well as improvement in coordination between projects.
6. State of play
LEADER is implemented through mono-funded strategies in 12 federal states (“Länder”, including a common programme for Lower Saxony and Bremen) under EAFRD programmes. It is implemented by 340 LAGs and started without any delays in the period 2014-20. Currently, LAGs are receiving funding in the EAFRD transition period and preparations at the level of the Länder are going on to start the new funding period on 1 January 2023. In a few Länder some changes in size and numbers are expected.
In 2014-20, a total of €122 million (EAFRD, ERDF and ESF) are at disposal for CLLD in Saxony-Anhalt. In 2021-27, Saxony-Anhalt will continue and expand CLLD. To concentrate on their strategic goals, the aim is to simplify the implementation arrangements and to reduce the administrative burden for both policymakers and beneficiaries.
7. Key achievements so far
- LEADER created high expectations for the future, in spite of the encountered difficulties.
- Employment and income opportunities were created, as well as leisure and tourism infrastructure.
8. Key barriers encountered
The reluctance in Germany to make wider use of the CLLD multi-fund approach provided in the CPR framework is linked to the historical development of a wide array of territorial and sectoral development instruments and funding schemes of national or regional rooting. The extra administrative effort for CLLD coordination and management to cover funding topics and areas, which are already addressed by national and regional programmes have therefore constituted major contingency factors.
In Saxony-Anhalt the additional guidelines and bodies involved in implementing CLLD led to extra administrative effort and complexity. Application, approval and payment procedures generated additional burden. Cross-Fund projects, which would allow using the full potential of CLLD, are rare.
9. Some national specificities
The FLAGs in Schleswig-Holstein, Saxony and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern are run by the same organisations as LEADER LAGs, but they implement separate FLAG strategies or sub-strategies to the LEADER strategies (in Saxony). Their decision-making body is the same as the one of the LAG or the fisheries working group in the LAG with decision-making tasks regarding the EMFF funding. This is due to the small budgets for the FLAGs in comparison to the available LEADER funding. The FLAGs do not have a specific FLAG manager. The work related to the FLAG is also carried out by the LAG management. In Bavaria and Lower Saxony, the FLAGs are rather separate organisations with loose links to the LEADER groups.
Contributing authors: Stefan Kah, Niko Wagner, Alistair Adam Hernández, Pedro Brosei
Series coordination and editing: Urszula Budzich-Tabor, Stefan Kah, Haris Martinos