Four funds available
In the Swedish Rural Development Programme, which is expected to be approved by the Commission in June 2015, the CLLD approach is to fully embrace the multi fund approach. In their local development strategies the LAGs have the possibility to choose all the four funds, given there are logical and clear arguments for the use of them. So a coastal territory will better reasons for using the EMFF than an inland territory, although there are some big lakes and rivers which also hold incentives to use the EMFF.
In the case of the ERDF and the ESF there has been a special operational programme designed for CLLD. A small portion of these two funds have been earmarked for CLLD and the Managing Authority for both EAFRD and EMFF has also been given the task to design this special operational programme and has also been given the role of Managing Authority. This construction enables the LAGs to use four funds but only have one single Managing Authority. The implementation rules will thus be harmonized, which will make the implementation easier for the LAGs.
One disappointment though is that the funds allocated to CLLD from the EMFF, ERDF and ESF are very small compared to the funds from EARDF (some € 16m from each of EMFF, ERDF and ESF as against € 200m from EARDF).
Local development strategies being approved
For the new programming period the local development strategies had to be submitted in Dec 2014 and in April 2015 the selection for approval will be decided. During the previous programming period Sweden had 63 LAGs and 14 FLAGs. For this period several of them have merged and the total number of LDS stands at 53. Three to four of them are only applying for funding from EMFF in their strategies but the rest of them are including all four, or at least three, funds. Since the RDP and the Fisheries programme are still not approved, there will be a period of waiting for the selected new CLLD groups to get started. It is expected that the Swedish CLLD groups will be functioning by the end of 2015.
Another feature that might be interesting is that in the Swedish context we regard all groups as ‘Leader groups’ and we are talking about LAGs, regardless of whether they are funded only through one of the funds or all of them. It is all about CLLD through the Leader method.
Support and coordination
In the previous programming period a Leader Coordination Group was set up by the NRN with 6 LAG chairmen and 6 managers, where common issues were discussed, such as implementation rules and problems requiring discussion with the MA or information or publicity needs etc.
In the new period a larger and broader Coordination Group has been established. The whole old coordination group with 12 Leader representatives is included in the new group. But added to the old group are two FLAG-representatives, the Managing Authority and the Paying Agency and one representative each from the Regional Fund and the Social Fund. There are also representatives from some important national organisations: The Federation of Swedish Farmers, The Nature Protection Association, All Sweden Shall Live and the Rural Economy and Agricultural Societies. The group is organized as a thematic working group within the NRN. There are three general aims with the group:
- To be a dialogue partner for the Managing Authority booth in the first phase when the new groups are forming their LDS in the second phase when the LAGs have been approved and are working.
- To initiate and promote horizontal and vertical learning and exchange of experiences between the LAGs and between the national level of stakeholder organisations and the LAGs.
- To foster and promote transnational cooperation for the LAGs.
Swedish National Rural Network Support Unit