Leader Transnational Cooperation Guide

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Leader Transnational Cooperation Guide
Leader Transnational
Table of Content
Preface ...................................................................................................................................... 3
1. Introduction........................................................................................................................... 4
1.1 What is Cooperation? ..................................................................................................... 5
1.1.1. Cooperation: the basics ............................................................................................. 5
1.1.2. Cooperation: very first steps ...................................................................................... 6
1.2. Why Cooperate? ............................................................................................................. 7
1.2.1. The added value of cooperation................................................................................. 7
1.2.2. The ‘soft benefits’ of cooperation ............................................................................... 9
1.3. What is a good cooperation project?.......................................................................... 10
2. Cooperation step by step ................................................................................................... 11
2.1. Getting ready to start ................................................................................................... 11
2.2. First step: preparing a cooperation project................................................................ 12
2.2.1. Finding transnational partner(s) ............................................................................... 13
2.2.2. Meeting your partner(s) and agreeing to cooperate ................................................. 16
2.2.3. Preparing a transnational cooperation application for funding .................................. 19
2.2.4. Negotiating the financial aspects of a cooperation project........................................ 21
2.2.5. Bringing together the required resources: knowledge and technical......................... 22
2.3. Implement a cooperation project ................................................................................ 23
2.3.1. Organise a cooperation partnership ......................................................................... 24
2.3.2. Formalise the partnership ........................................................................................ 26
2.3.3. Animating a cooperation partnership........................................................................ 27
2.4. Evaluation and Valorisation ........................................................................................ 32
2.4.1. Monitoring and Evaluation ....................................................................................... 32
2.4.2. Capitalisation and dissemination of results of TNC projects ..................................... 34
2.4.3. Communication – how to achieve publicity for a TNC project ................................... 35
3. Glossary .............................................................................................................................. 37
4. Rules and procedures ........................................................................................................ 40
5. Programming ...................................................................................................................... 41
6. List of Annexes ................................................................................................................... 45
A variety of guidance materials have been produced in the
past about rural development and transnational
cooperation (TNC). Many of these have been prepared by
National Rural Networks and provide a mix of useful
methodological or technical advice on TNC approaches.
These materials have now been distilled and re-packaged
in the following ‘Integrated European Cooperation
Guide’, which aims to provide an effective cooperation tool
tailored to the needs of the current 2007-2013
programming period.
The Integrated European Cooperation Guide covers a range of relevant TNC information
focusing on two core aims:
• to clarify what cooperation is and the benefits it can bring; and
• to present a comprehensive step by step series of methodological guidance, that clearly
explains concepts linked to planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of
cooperation projects
A dedicated axis 4 funding measure is available from Member States’ Rural Development
Programmes (RDPs) to support cooperation actions, and each Member State has established
its own rules regarding implementation of this measure (number 421). Such RDP guidance
should always be consulted first of all, before undertaking any detailed preparation work on
cooperation projects, since understanding the RDP rules and procedures is one of the keys to
successful project performance.
Future updates of the Integrated European Cooperation Guide will incorporate links to the
Member States’ own administrative rules. Updates will also aim to reflect the information needs
of readers and so please send any suggestions for new and useful material, or general
feedback on the guide, to [email protected] Your comments are warmly welcomed!
The text of this publication is for information purposes only and is not legally binding. The
publication has been prepared by the EN RD Contact Point and its content does not necessarily
reflect the official position of the European Commission.
1. Introduction
Transnational and inter-territorial cooperation have become increasingly important for rural
stakeholders- substantial experience has been gathered during LEADER II (1994-1999) and
LEADER+ (2000-2006)- as effective mechanism for helping rural areas to jointly develop new
solutions to common issues (The added value of cooperation). In a nutshell, cooperation
projects help all parts of rural Europe to grow together
Facts and Figures
• During the previous programming period, 464 Local Action Groups (LAGs) participated in a
total of 383 TNC projects identified in the Leader+ Observatory Database.
• On average each TNC project included partners from 4 different LAGs.
• These TNC projects were linked to specific priority themes: ‘best use of natural and cultural
resources’ (36%); ‘improving the quality of life in rural areas’ (26%); ‘use of new know-how
and new technologies’ (21 %); and ‘adding value to local products (17%).
• In the current programming period TNC projects will also be implemented by LAGs. LAG
numbers are expected to increase significantly, up to 2300, and this expansion of LAG
activity across rural Europe offers a far greater potential for cooperation partnerships than
ever before.
Various sources of complementary EU support are available for cooperation activity. These
include aspects of the European Social Fund (ESF), The European Regional Development
Fund (ERDF) and the European Fisheries Fund (EFF). Other sources are also available and
each TNC programme has its own set of priorities and procedures. For the purposes of this
guide, the text will concentrate on information relevant to cooperation supported by RDP funds.
1.1 What is Cooperation?
1.1.1. Cooperation: the basics
Cooperation encourages and supports LAGs to undertake joint actions with other LAGs, or with
a group taking a similar approach, in another region, Member State, or even a third country.
Two main types of cooperation are noted by the European Commission in their ‘Guide for the
Implementation of the Measure Cooperation under the Leader axis of Rural Development
Programmes 2007-2013’. These are:
Inter-territorial cooperation - This refers to cooperation between different rural areas
within a Member State. Cooperation within a Member State concerns at least one LAG
selected under the Leader axis and it is open to other local groups using a similar
participatory approach; and
Transnational cooperation - which is defined as cooperation between different rural areas
from at least two Member States. Transnational cooperation covers at least one LAG
selected under the Leader axis and additional partners could include other local groups
using similar participatory approach. It is also possible to extend this cooperation to groups
in third countries following a similar approach.
Subsection 4 of Commission Regulation (EC) 1974/2006 provides further orientation about the
official ‘rules of the game’ for these types of cooperation under the EAFRD.
a. Joint Action
Cooperation projects correspond to concrete actions
with clearly identified deliverables producing benefits
for each of the territories involved. These actions must
be ‘joint’ in the sense that they are being jointly
implemented. The content of such joint actions may
cover a range of different activities eligible under the
RDPs’ rules. Joint approaches allow LAGs from one
area to contribute funding to joint project that may be
happening in another territory. The location of the
project is not a limiting factor if the LAG area benefits from the joint project actions.
Examples of eligible joint actions (subject to national rules for RDP implementation) include
capacity building or knowledge transfer via common publications, training seminars, twinning
arrangements (exchange of programme managers and staff) leading to the adoption of common
methodological and working methods, or to the elaboration of a joint or coordinated
development work.
b. Cooperation and networking
Cooperation concepts are often closely related to networking concepts, since networking may
foster cooperation and cooperation may result in creating new thematic networks.
Networking: is an activity which brings people (and their organisations) together
around a common interest to undertake activities which are mutually beneficial to
Active networking can create relations between people and organisations, and generates new
knowledge and thus cooperation opportunities.
Cooperation is a dynamic process!
Projects that start out as networking initiatives often end up becoming fully-fledged
cooperation projects with tangible benefits and added value.
Establishing a new network can also be seen as a joint action, but networking for networking
sake is generally not considered as useful as networking based around the implementation of a
specific rural development action. Cooperation projects should therefore:
address issues and themes important for the participating rural areas;
complement aims noted in LAGs’ local development strategies;
bring some significant added-value to the LAG areas, the activities targeted, the actors
involved or, more widely, the local population; and
be implemented with well defined and realistic objectives.
In order for tangible results to be achievable, the limits of the project will need to be determined
well in advance.
1.1.2. Cooperation: very first steps
Initial cooperation activity can involve establishing ‘prototype’ partnerships to investigate options
for, and/or the feasibility of, of concrete joint actions. Such preliminary work can obtain financial
support in some Member States. Examples of different types of preparatory cooperation
actions are presented in the table below.
Type of ‘proto-type’
partnership activity
Understand how a potential partner solves a specific
problem or addresses a specific issue in their local
Study visit
Exchange between areas or actors with similar
Exchange of information,
characteristics or resources to identify potential topics of
experience and/or good practices
mutual interest and joint learning opportunities
Be aware!
Eligibility criteria and funding requirements for cooperation actions can differ
between RDPs. Always check what kinds of activities are eligible for TNC projects
as early as possible in the project development process.
1.2. Why Cooperate?
1.2.1. The added value of cooperation
Cooperation can provide local projects with a new dimension, since they provide stakeholders
with alternative and novel opportunities to look for and solve issues in innovative ways.
Cooperation projects are capable of producing different types of added-value. The following
examples illustrate different added value aspects possible from cooperation actions:
a. Strengthening of territorial strategy and local partnerships
TNC projects are linked to the territory and the respective local development strategies of the
cooperation partners. These projects help to meet the needs and challenges addressed in the
strategies of the cooperating areas.
b. Making projects more ambitious by reaching critical mass
TNC enables a project to achieve a greater critical mass, since the total benefits are much
greater than the sum of individual achievements (1+1=11). Pooling resources and expertise can
result in economies of scale and synergies, which are favourable to help achieving project
objectives (such as costs for technical equipment/technologies, training, marketing, etc.).
Example: Artisan Food Producers Country Market – (UK/Ireland)
The project’s objectives were:
• To identify and recruit up to 55 existing/potential producers (total for all LAGs) by
December 2004 - To host a market in each area by Dec 2004;
• To establish a steering group by Feb 2005;
• To have hosted a minimum of six markets in each area by Dec 2005;
• To have delivered training to host organisation by April 2005;
• To hand over the running of the market to the appointed host organisation by Dec
2006 Each LAG will participate in the establishment of a Farmers Market within their
own area and select and recruit their own producers.
c. Improving competitiveness: finding new business partners, positioning on new
Implementing a project with transnational partners can help the promotion of local products and
the area of their origin. TNC may provide access to new business opportunities, hence
generating a potential for: increased product sales; a complementary business partner to
improve a product or process; and additional know-how. In contrast to potential competition,
cooperation enables the partners to take advantage of complementarities, and to benefit from
d. Supporting work and promoting innovation through new skills
New visions and new dimensions can support and promote new ways of working. Furthermore
exposure to transnational experiences can help broaden business horizons and encourage
companies to adopt improved operational approaches. These in turn should generate knock-on
socio-economic and/or environmental benefits for rural areas.
Example: ELREN project (Italy, Ireland, The Netherlands, Spain)
ELREN aimed at:
• Facilitating among LEADER+ Local Action Groups throughout the EU the exchange
of technical know-how, application experience, basic commercial information and cooperation opportunities in the fields of Production of Energy from Renewable Sources
and of Energy Performance of Buildings;
• Encouraging application of micro-technologies in rural areas by local public
institutions and agencies, SMEs and private households;
• Disseminating basic information on country policies, applicable legislation and
available funding / incentives.
e. Developing territorial identity and raising awareness
Transnational cooperation can help local people discover their area and history. By improving
the understanding of their own territory, transnational interactions can lead to local actors
becoming more open to represent their territory, and thereby becoming true ‘ambassadors’ of
their areas.
1.2.2. The ‘soft benefits’ of cooperation
A number of ‘softer’, often intangible, benefits can also be gained from cooperation work. The
selection of examples below illustrates some of these types of useful TNC development
a. Broadening one’s mind by considering differences as a source for enrichment
Working with a transnational partner offers the potential to discover new or other points of view
and to be aware of different peoples’ visions.
b. Developing European citizenship and sense of identity;
A TNC project can provide an opportunity for raising awareness about the European Union’s
actions and European citizenship among the local population. It is a way to identify and present
the local area’s place within Europe.
c. Acquisition of new skills
Implementing a TNC project often involves gaining new know-how about specific development
methodologies or techniques. They also usually involve learning new language skills.
Cooperation actions can therefore represent effective capacity building approaches for rural
The tools which can help you:
• Leader+ cooperation’s good practices: examples of projects;
• Report on the achievements of Leader+ territories in France (in English);
• European Database of Approved Transnational Cooperation Projects under
Leader+ (2000-2006).
1.3. What is a good cooperation project?
TNC projects are quite distinct by nature, but a number of common TNC success factors exist
that can help ensure good cooperation projects. These include:
Following a territorial approach. Leader is supporting "territorial cooperation" between
LAGs; TNC projects should fit well with each LAG’s local development strategy. Projects
should address challenges in LAG areas in order to ensure their relevance and addedvalue;
Having a strong and clear project idea which contributes to the realisation of the
objective(s) of the local development strategy. A general topic, even if it will be adapted
at a later stage with the partners, may fail to provide such a contribution;
Going beyond simple exchanges. TNC projects ideally go beyond simple exchange.
They should include common actions which create tangible results. Concrete and
common actions (like joint acquisition of technology, creation of common events or
products, joint experimentation/piloting etc.) are an effective way to find answers to the
challenges of rural areas;
Planning properly for human resources. The development, coordination,
implementation and management of a cooperation partnership and project can be
demanding. Human resources requirements need to be carefully considered from the
early stages of project development; and
Building a strong partnership. Throughout the life-cycle of a TNC project it is
beneficial to:
o define the profile of your desired partner(s) to make the partner search easier;
o negotiate and distribute roles and responsibilities between the partners while
developing the project (and include these in the partnership agreement); and
o maintain and manage the partnership during the implementation of the TNC
2. Cooperation step by step
Due to some additional steps in their overall life cycle,
TNC projects can tend to be more complex than other
rural development projects.
This part of the guide takes readers through each of
the main steps involved in planning, implementing and
evaluating TNC projects:
2.1. Getting ready to start
Before launching a cooperation project a number of baseline actions are advised. These help
ensure the project starts on a sound foundation.
Objectives for this initial step should aim to:
• Make local stakeholders aware of what cooperation can bring;
• Identify cooperation promoters and partners;
• Set up a cooperation structure; and
• Identify tangible cooperation ideas.
Expected results from this process should be an informed a range of stakeholders possessing
knowledge about cooperation and the opportunities that it offers. Mobilising potential
cooperation project partners for this first step can be helped by setting up a ‘cooperation think
tank’ of local people. The think tank should be tasked to identify and prioritise potential themes
that cooperation could focus on for the LAG area.
Key points to getting started:
• Make local stakeholders interested in cooperation;
• Create a local ‘cooperation think tank’, and
• Identify cooperation ideas.
The tools which can help you:
Questions which can help you define your cooperation strategy; (Annex 1)
Internal or external support: pros and cons, terms of reference and selection
criteria for external technical assistance (Annex 2)
Organise the cooperation ideas into a hierarchy. (Annex 3)
2.2. First step: preparing a cooperation project
Preparing a cooperation project represents a
transitional step between the cooperation idea and the
implementation of the project. Appraisal of the initial
project idea will by now have raised awareness about
the eligibility criteria and funding rules for transnational
cooperation. Once this process has been completed
steps can begin to start confirming the partnership.
Objectives for this first step should aim to:
• Find and meet partner(s) with whom you are going to implement your project;
• Meet and/or discuss with your potential partner(s) to agree on the project aims, actions and
work programme;
• Prepare a detailed description of the TNC project through a strong dialogue with partners;
• Clarify the eligibility criteria / funding rules for both your own and your partners’ territories
concerning expenditure eligibility for different project actions, legal and other restrictions on
types of applicant or partners, as well as the application process requirements, deadlines
and paperwork.
Expected results from this process should be:
• Partner(s) for the TNC project have been identified;
• A detailed description of the project has been prepared with all its components (aims,
actions, work organisation, management modalities, budget, responsibilities, etc); and
• Knowledge about different administrative rules and procedures.
A number of phases are involved in this first step and advice about each phase is presented
Key points to preparing a cooperation project:
• Finding transnational partner(s);
• Meeting your partner(s) and agreeing to cooperate;
• Preparing a transnational cooperation application for funding;
• Negotiating the financial aspects of a cooperation project;
• Bringing together the required resources (knowledge and technical); and
• Getting the financial, legal and administrative structures right.
2.2.1. Finding transnational partner(s)
What you have already done at this stage:
Your local stakeholders are aware that cooperation will bring some added value
to the local strategy;
You have defined a cooperation strategy;
You have identified your priority cooperation idea(s); and
You have already mobilised local actors around the cooperation idea(s).
a. Identify the “good” partner and partnership
Searching for a partner is not a question of chance. You should define the partner profile using
specific selection criteria. These should include the expectations and the type of expertise and
knowledge that you are looking for. Criteria might include:
• Similarities in terms of characteristics and challenges of the area - physical (coast,
mountains…), historical (built heritage,…), socio-economic (predominance of small
industries, …), cultural (music, language, identity...) characteristics;
• Complementarities of know-how, experience;
• Geographical location: proximity of territories (cross-border);
• Existence of an ongoing partnership set up by a local actor; and/or
• Language and other communications issues.
Example: similarities…Internationales Landfrauennetzwerk (Finland and Germany)
Germany’s Steinburg LAG and Finland’s Aisapari LAG both have objectives in their
development plans to support the marketing of regional products. Landscapes are very
similar in the two LAG territories and each region produces specific local agricultural
You should think about the size of partnership and consider how many partners are you looking
for? The answer depends on the objectives of your cooperation project. Some projects may
need a large partnership to be pertinent. For others, a partnership between three or four areas
may be ideal.
A balance needs to be found to ensure that project partnerships are sufficiently sized to be
dynamic and provide added value, but care needs to be taken to avoid unduly complex
partnerships, where mutual understanding may be hard to achieve.
Example of a large partnership covering 16 partners: Rete per la commercializzazione
dei prodotti rurali e del turismo rurale/ Network for marketing of local products and rural
The project intends to build a network of operators and joint activities in order to promote
and add value to local areas characterised by similar socio-economic qualities and
cultural traditions, through tourism and local agriculture, food, and crafts products. Under
b. Prepare an advertisement to attract potential cooperation partners
The drafting of a ‘cooperation ad’ is very important for
the success of this step.
The ad needs to include enough details to help
readers understand your main cooperation interests.
It should also indicate your willingness to discuss
ideas from partners that might help add value to the
TNC proposal.
Ideally, the ad should be able to sum up in few short sentences:
What do you want to gain from the cooperation project; and
How will this benefit the rural communities, businesses and/or environment in your area?
Be aware!
Cooperation involves working together and mutual respect is an important TNC
Partners may have useful and interesting new ideas that help improve your original
project proposal so you should be flexible and open minded regarding your
expectations. If your project idea is fixed and does not allow for any changes, it may
be difficult to find a partner.
c. Use different methods to search for a partner
You should use different tools in order to increase your chances of success in searching for
your potential partners.
Before starting the search, remember...
• Your cooperation ad should be detailed enough and not too general!
• You should take time to think about the profile of your ‘ideal’ partner!
• A partnership of only two partners is risky, because if one partner decides to quit the
project will end. So do not hesitate to make contacts with more than one potential
partner in order to increase your chances for success.
Partners search methods:
Databases - your cooperation ad should be advertised in at least one TNC partners search
database. The EN RD PST should be your first port of call during LAG partner searches since
this interactive tool provides a large number of search options using specific rural development
categories, in addition to country and regional search opportunities.
Other databases also exist at both European and national levels that may provide further
prospects for identifying suitable partners.
Cooperation fairs - participating at European or national cooperation fairs is an excellent way
to meet potential partners. A few preparations before the fair will help improve your chances of
meeting the right partners. These include:
Before the meeting - write your cooperation ad, have a look at the other cooperation
ads, identify potentially interesting cooperation offers, organise a first contact with
identified potential partners to plan a cooperation ‘rendezvous’ during the meeting,
prepare a presentation of your territory, (using photos, maps, charts etc.);
During the meeting - aim to combine meetings with all your potential partners in one
’cooperation rendezvous’; and
After the meeting - stay in contact with potential partners regularly during the project
development phase. Also keep in touch with groups that do not join the partnership,
since they may be useful for future cooperation work.
Participation in thematic conferences - is another useful way to meet potential cooperation
partners. You will meet rural actors who work on the same topics as you and this can lead to
cooperation proposals.
d. Respond to a cooperation offer
If you are approached by a rural area for the purpose of becoming a project partner, you need
to think about several elements before reaching a decision:
• Is the cooperation idea relevant to your cooperation strategy?
• Does
the potential
The tools which can help you:
• Template of a cooperation ad (Annex 4)
• Find a partner (Annex 5)
• Rules and procedures (under construction)
2.2.2. Meeting your partner(s) and agreeing to cooperate
What you have already done at this stage:
Your local stakeholders are aware and mobilised;
You have defined your cooperation strategy;
You have identified your cooperation ideas and partners;
You have your cooperation idea(s); and
You have identified your potential partner(s).
a. Preparing and organising a visit to your partner
The first meeting with your partner should be carefully prepared in order to improve the chances
of good results. Of course, more meetings may be needed...
Before the meeting:
Do some structured preliminary work with partner(s) - share information about the situation
and the challenges of your area, about the outline of your cooperation project (clarify what
you imagine, confirm what your partners imagine and what you could do together). It can be
useful to exchange documentation about the partners’ areas and projects (sometimes,
translation of such documents might be needed);
Exchange views with the partner(s) about the programme of the meeting/visit; Agree the
working language. This first meeting is a crucial moment and ideally everybody should speak
the same working language. If not, you should plan for interpretation. Separate interpreters
are very useful and allow LAG staff to concentrate their minds on the project, rather than
thinking about translations;
Mobilise local stakeholders to attend this meeting;
Decide the composition of your delegation. The ideal ‘team’ should include the LAG
manager, representative of the LAG’s technical team, project promoter, LAG elected
representatives, and possible financial partners;
Identify a moderator for the meeting(s) and a person who will prepare the report of the
Prepare a presentation of your territory’s context, its challenges and the potential added
value of the cooperation project for your territory. Videos can be more attractive than
PowerPoint presentations; and
Organise some gifts, such as local products, to thank your partner(s).
During the meeting:
All participants introduce themselves;
Presentations of each partner - territory, structure, administrative organisation, etc.;
Discussion about individual and common cooperation objectives by each partner - what
each of them expects from the cooperation project; and
Define different roles and agree responsibilities between partners (including the ‘lead
partner’), the budget and the next steps.
After the meeting:
Promptly prepare a draft report of the meeting(s)/visit. Send this to partners for comments
and validation; and
Plan a report for the project’s local stakeholders in your area, to inform them about their
(potential) partners. Photos and videos are useful for raising awareness about the partner
Be aware!
Be clear about who pays for what!
You should discuss and agree with your partner(s) about the sharing out of travel
costs, accommodation, catering, interpretation, etc prior to the meeting. This will
avoid misunderstandings as to who will pay for what.
b. Preparing and organising a visit from your partner(s)
Besides the above advice, if it is your turn to welcome your partner(s), you should plan specific
Propose a programme to be agreed by all partners before the meeting;
Organise of a guided tour of the territory and study visits to help your partner(s) understand
the characteristics and the challenges of your territory; and
Mobilise local stakeholders (including elected representatives) and involve them in the
dynamics of cooperation.
Be aware!
Plan for informal visits and for time dedicated to each type of participant!
When you and your partner are thinking about the programme of the visit, you
should plan:
To combine workshops and informal activities for the partners - further to the
‘formal’ meeting, it is important for people to have time to meet and to get to
know each other. They will be the ones working together!
To have moments specially dedicated for elected people and others for LAGs
managers and/or the person responsible for cooperation.
c. Confirming the partnership
It is important to conclude this stage at the end of the
initial meeting/visit. Preparing a report document
provides a useful means to confirm whether or not the
partnership can set-up the first decisions.
Partnerships often produce a Memorandum of
Understanding (MoU) to formalise and make explicit
important agreements. MoUs are not normally binding
legal agreements but they establish matters such as:
who will be the lead partner; who will coordinate the proposal writing; and/or the preparation of
the funding application, etc.
See the Swedish National Rural Network’s ‘Cross-Cultural Analysis for Learning Handbook’ for
useful advice about setting up TNC partnerships. The PMI (Plus/Minus/Interesting) methods
provide particularly relevant reading regarding partnership work.
2.2.3. Preparing a transnational cooperation application for funding
Following confirmation of the partnership agreement, the next step involves applying for project
funding. LAGs will normally each apply for their own funding. Applications can be prepared by
the project team or by experienced external consultants.
One of the main success factors involved in drafting TNC funding applications is your
understanding of the RDP rules/procedures about cooperation. It is advisable to know about the
rules in both your own and your partners’ territories. Future updates of this guide are planned to
include samples from Member State administrative rules and procedures for LAG cooperation.
Another success factor relates to being able to make a clear presentation of your project
proposal. This should contain (at least) the following elements:
Presentation of the structure and organisation of the partnership;
Presentation of the lead partner’s and other partners’ territories;
Common and individual objectives;
Planned actions - transnational actions and, when relevant, local actions which will also be
part of (and be financed by) the project;
Expected results and added value;
Monitoring and evaluation framework (including indicators);
Calendar and time-table;
Roles of the different partners;
Project management structure (including reference to human resources and their
Financial aspects covering costs and resource requirements. Differentiate between local
and transnational expenditure. Clarify different partners’ budget allocations. Present cash
flow models. Consider contingencies, especially if different/non-fixed currency exchange
rates are involved; and
Communication strategy (targeting internal and external groups).
The content of the application form has to be approved by partner(s). Such a procedure helps to
ensure ownership of the project by all partners and encourages consistency across the
partners’ different funding applications. Endorsement of the lead application by all partners may
require translations of the text, which should be budgeted for.
Complementary documents and adaptations might also be required (i.e. letters of intent and/or
of commitment of the different partners, etc.), so make sure that you attach all the required
elements when you send your application form.
d. Preparing a project monitoring framework
• All applications require details about the intended
results and most ask for these to be quantified in
terms of targets.
• Targets should not be viewed as a bureaucratic
burden and should be used as a key management
tool by the partnership to help it track its own
• These targets should be agreed by all partners in
advance. The targets can also include qualitative
goals. The important point to note is that you will be
required to report on all your targets and so you will need to have monitoring systems in
place to track progress against targets.
• It is essential that these must be agreed and established from the start of the project, in order
to track the full impact of all project actions.
• The same measurement systems must be used by each partner. For example, if you are
aiming to create jobs you must all use the same definition for a job created (i.e. the same
number of hours per week for a set number of months).
• In some case it may be necessary to establish baseline circumstances to measure progress
against. This is often the case for qualitative targets such as improved quality of life or
community confidence.
• Standardised
monitoring methodologies and reporting templates will enhance the
effectiveness of TNC project monitoring frameworks and help facilitate efficient collation of
results from all partners.
Be aware!
Ensure and allocate sufficient time to produce/complete your application form!
Do not wait until the last moment! TNC applications take time to complete since
they need to be written and then approved by your partner(s) and sometimes by
different authorities of respective RDPs.
2.2.4. Negotiating the financial aspects of a cooperation project
Financial aspects of TNC projects are quite unique
since they combine:
Different budgets from partners located in different
areas / different Member States / different countries
where legal requirements may not all be the same
(not just the currency);
Different levels of intervention, (local expenses
incurred by each partner as well as shared
expenditures related to the whole partnership); and
Different financial sources which each have specific requirements.
Clarifying financial issues at the beginning of a project, and involving financial partners at an
early stage, enables the partners to anticipate difficulties and find ways to overcome them in
The first questions to be answered are:
What is the total budget of the project – including costs and contributions from different
sources, and what is the budget for each partner?
What part of the budget is for local activities and what part is devoted to common activities?
How is the project budget split between the different actions?
This information should be in your application form. You might have to re-organise your own
versions of this information to fit with the application form requirements. Reaching common
agreements about the project budget is an important step in the preparatory phases, and will
help ensure transparency throughout the project implementation phase. A budget planning
template is provided on page 19 of the Annexes that accompany the Commission’s ‘Guide for
the implementation of the measure cooperation under the Leader axis of rural development
programmes 2007-2013 (RD12/10/2006 rev3)’. The Annexes also include other useful
templates for defining project descriptions and partner roles.
Be aware!
Income generating activities!
Some cooperation projects may lead to activities generating income. In this case,
you should estimate the income and its distribution between the different partners.
Each partner will then have to deal with this income according to their own RDP
2.2.5. Bringing together the required resources: knowledge and technical
Besides the internal human resources that you have foreseen in your application, additional
support may be available from rural networks such as:
Regional rural networks (where they exist). These may offer advice about the content of
funding applications;
National rural networks. Also provide funding advice as well as methodological guidance
and partner search functions; and
EN RD Contact Point facilities help with information about cooperation issues and provide
on-line partners search services.
Be aware!
Do not hesitate to seek support!
If you have less TNC experience, you can also involve specialist external expert.
Experts should have good knowledge of TNC methods and also useful language
skills. They can give guidance during preparation stages and act as moderators
during partner meetings.
In Austria the NRN offers moderator services to LAGs who want to start a TNC project.
These moderators are experienced in TNC approaches and their inputs usually occur
during the first meeting of potential partners.
The tools which can help you:
Find a partner (Annex 5)
Check list ‘What to think about the first meeting with your partners?’ (Annex 6)
How to present your territory to your partner? (Annex 7)
Template for a letter of intent (Annex 8)
Selection grid for cooperation projects (Annex 9)
Roles of the different partners (tool under construction)
• Cross-Cultural Analysis for Learning Handbook
2.3. Implement a cooperation project
Implementing a cooperation project involves numerous
actions, many of which are technical and specific to
individual project themes. Most of these remain out
with the mandate of this guide and the following
section focuses on common project management
aspects of implementation.
Objectives for this implementation step should aim to:
• Set up and manage the partnership (which can sometimes be complex, due to cultural
differences and/or the number of partners involved);
• Launch the main cooperation project; and
• Activate and animate the different partners’ roles.
Expected results:
Understanding the different possible roles for partners and what they imply;
Preparation of an activity plan and monitoring plan for the project;
Signature to a cooperation agreement;
Organisation of communication activities between partners;
Adoption of a legal structure for the partnership;
Being prepared for activity reports and future controls;
Carrying out the agreed project activities; and
Producing the intended benefits
Key steps:
• Organise a cooperation partnership
• Formalise the partnership
• Animate a cooperation partnership
2.3.1. Organise a cooperation partnership
What you have already done at this stage:
You have confirmed your partnership;
You have formalised the content and development of the foreseen project in a
transnational cooperation application for funding, a Memorandum of
Understanding, etc; and
You have found and brought together the required resources: human, technical,
financial, etc.
a. Identifying the project coordinator
Good management of a cooperation project is
essential for its success and this should be ensured by
the project coordinator. One of the partner structures
should be clearly identified as the overall project
coordinator. Within this lead partner structure, one
person should be in overall charge of the
management of the project.
Various approaches exist for TNC project coordination. These include:
• A single TNC coordinator operational throughout the full project lifespan. This person may be
one of the partners, chosen by the others, who accepts responsibility for the general
management and coordination of the cooperation work programme (example under
• A single transnational cooperation coordinator, reporting to/supported by national steering
groups (important for projects involving a larger number of partners); or
• Shared / rotating coordination. Here the partners take turns to manage and coordinate
different phases or aspects of the cooperation work programme, according to predefined
elements. In this case, good coordination must be ensured between the different
coordinators. This may enable a certain acquisition of skills in terms of cooperation project
management and coordination, notably for the less experienced partners. (Example under
The choice of coordination approach will depend on the capacity of the partners, in terms of
their resources for the coordination tasks (human and financial resources), and on the wish of
the partners, plus also on the type of project.
Be aware!
Coordinating a project requires important competencies!
A ‘good’ cooperation coordinator will preferably have:
• Language skills to communicate directly with the partners;
• Previous experience in cooperation project management or have worked with
external partners;
• Good project management capacities; and
• Good communication, diplomacy and negotiation skills.
b. Setting up the decision making process
Decision-making processes should be clearly defined and described in a document validated by
all partners (in the application form and in the cooperation agreement) in order to ensure
transparency and to avoid any misunderstanding. This document should also refer to relevant
legally binding conditions set by the Managing Authority in relation to the RDP funding.
You may chose to set up a decision making committee (executive committee) grouping
representatives of the different partners, which will be the decision making structure for the
whole project. Decisions can then be made either informally or by vote with pre-defined rules
governing representation. This solution is compatible with both a unique coordinator and with a
system of shared or rotating coordination. Yet, since it implies the creation of another structure,
it may be reserved only for the more complex partnerships (i.e. the ones involving a higher
number of partners).
2.3.2. Formalise the partnership
a. The cooperation agreement
A formal project cooperation agreement can be produced and signed once the project details
are clear, and the partner roles, road-map and timetable have been approved.
This document is the ‘contract’ in which partners formally commit themselves to implement the
planned actions, within the defined deadlines.
This cooperation agreement is a legally binding agreement that also helps give the partnership
a more official status.
Be aware!
Sign a document at an early stage!
The idea is to formalise commitment… and not to explain what has happened. A
formal document can be signed as soon as the project, its content and its rules of
implementation are clear.
The cooperation agreement might avoid future problems!
The cooperation agreement can contribute to solve remaining questions and/or
ambiguities and to clarify missing elements.
A cooperation agreement can take many forms:
• An exchange of detailed letters where the roles, obligations and commitments of each
partner is expressed. This is a simple solution which is difficult to make legally binding in
case of problems;
• A cooperation protocol which should cover the same aspects as above; and
• A cooperation agreement under national law (normally of the country of the lead partner) or
with a European status (e.g. EEIG) where the different articles cover all the aspects of the
project implementation and the distribution of the roles (including financial data, decision
making process, etc.). See Annex I "Model cooperation agreement" of the Guide for the
implementation of the measure cooperation.
b. Set up a common structure for the cooperation project
Even if this is, in most cases, not an obligation, you may want to set up a formal structure for the
implementation of your project. This means choosing an appropriate type of structure and
writing the related legal status.
c. Possible types of cooperation structures
Before writing statutes, it is important to define which legal form best matches: the partners; the
objectives; and the actions to be implemented within the cooperation project, etc. It is also
important to understand the pros and cons of different legal structures.
d. Choosing a type of structure for the cooperation project? The structure does not make
the project!
The choice of a certain type of structure is directly linked to the project stage. It might not be
necessary to envisage a ‘heavy’ partnership being formalised at the very beginning of the
project. A lighter form (which may even be informal, provided a cooperation agreement is clear
enough about the roles and obligations of each partner) will enable the project to grow slowly
and to be better defined. It is only when it is totally operational that a common structure should
be adopted to formalise the partnership.
Check list of questions which the partners should ask themselves before choosing a legal
• Do we need to have a formalised common legal structure for the implementation of the
cooperation project? What would the added value of this legal structure be for the
cooperation project and the actions to be implemented? Is a complete cooperation
agreement not enough?
• Which different types of legal structure exist?
• For each legal structure, different issues will have to be considered:
• Does the legal status match the cooperation project, the status of the partners involved and
the actions to be carried out?
• What would the choice lead to in terms of further requirement (notably in terms of
administrative, financial and/or control procedures...)
• What would the consequences of the different legal possibilities be for the day-to-day
implementation of the project (during its implementation and when running: notably in terms
of delays and human resources)?
2.3.3. Animating a cooperation partnership
Animation activities are essential in order to keep a project doing what it is intended to do.
Animation must be carefully planned and cover all project tasks. Animation roles are often
assigned to project coordinators but external experts can also be contracted to animate
projects. External animation contractors need skills in managing cooperation projects, in
multicultural approaches and in moderation of relationships between partners.
Be aware!
External animation does not mean that partners do not need to get involved!
Working with an external facilitator takes some of the work load away from the
partners. Yet, the partners’ must remain in charge of the project and its direction.
The project should not be taken over by the facilitator. The partners therefore must
stay involved to steer the implementation process and retain control of decision
making processes.
In terms of animating project content, it is useful to set up working groups with responsibilities
for particular parts of the project’s implementation. It may be useful (and more convenient) to
give responsibility for each working group to individual partners.
These working groups should operate in close collaboration with the overall coordinator, who
will be responsible for collating their inputs and disseminating information about working groups’
progress throughout the partnership.
Some tools and method will help you in terms of animation. Each of these points is detailed
a. Write a roadmap for the cooperation project...
A common work programme, often called a ‘road
map’, should be defined and validated. This agreed
content can help ensure a smooth implementation of
the project actions and provide a tool to support
relationship between the partners. The coordinators
should use this activity plan as a key tool for
achievements. It can also be used to highlight actions
that are lagging behind and encourage partners to
rectify such slippage.
The road-map should identify:
• the different components and steps of the cooperation project;
• the actions to be carried out for each step; and
• the responsible partners, targets and indicators for each step.
Be aware!
Cooperation takes time!
You should keep in mind, when writing the time-table, that cooperation activities
often take longer than local ones. Therefore be realistic and do not hesitate to
slightly over estimate the time required for the duration of some phases of the
project in order to be able to stay on the target as much as possible and avoid
Writing the road-map at an early stage helps to allow for some flexibility, by planning only major
steps and not every small step that make up these major steps.
The road-map should be updated, if required, to fit with any new realities that arise during the
implementation phase. The consequence of each change should be well identified. Changes
should be kept to a minimum in order to assist’s the road-map’s monitoring functions.
b. Organise meetings, visits and exchanges…
Implementing a cooperation project involving partners located far away from each other, which
are only able to communicate by e-mail or telephone, is not an easy task. In order for the
cooperation to be ‘real’ and lead to a good exchange and tangible results, it is important to plan
meetings. Indeed, face to face contact is crucial to facilitate effective project implementation and
boost mutual learning opportunities.
Cooperation meetings can either be regular and short, or less frequent but longer. All will
depend on the issues to be discussed, the distance between the partners, the knowledge they
have and the number of partners. Whatever the type of meeting foreseen (study visits,
seminars, exchange programmes, etc.), it is necessary for every planned meeting to:
• Prepare the meeting well to achieve maximum efficiency;
• Be clear on what each partner will have to pay for during and after the meeting (including in
terms of accommodation and meals);
• Plan what each partner should do before the meeting and what they should bring to the
• Define a clear agenda, agreed by all participants;
• Foresee that complete minutes will have to be written and distributed to all participants for
their agreement;
• Foresee which language difficulty may arise and plan professional interpretation if necessary;
• Conclude the meeting by a short summary of what has been said and, most importantly, on
the commitments which have been taken by each participant (who does what and by what
Be aware!
Speaking a language does not mean having the skills of interpretation!
Interpretation requires specific knowledge and which does not leave any time to
participate actively to the meeting. You should therefore not hesitate to appoint a
professional interpreter even if people in your team appear to have good language
skills. If they are to be involved in the content, they will not be able to spend time
acting as interpreter!
This is not necessary if there is a common language spoken sufficiently well by all
participants (including the more technical projects aspects).
c. Organising communication between partners
Further to meetings and the signing of documents, it is important to ensure that the partners are
in regular contact, notably to understand progress in different areas and how this relates to their
own work. Communication is also essential to facilitate project management, monitoring,
reporting and administration.
A common communication plan should be agreed during the project planning stages. This
provides a framework for regular telephone conferences, e-mail exchanges, feedback on the
actions carried out locally in the different areas, report submission deadlines etc.
Language issues can limit these regular exchanges. This issue should be foreseen and can be
overcome by using translation and interpretation services or, for long terms projects, by
considering language training to boost technical know-how for relevant project personnel. All
important documents should be translated whenever possible.
Be aware!
Different solutions exist to facilitate the language issue!
It is indeed always possible to work with professional translators or interpreters…
but you can also chose to work with language students, foreign students in the
area, local residents who may be from another country, etc.
d. Take into account the cultural aspects of the project, of each partner...
Beneficial progress can be made by embracing cultural diversity as a project’s strength, and
harnessing it as an engine of creativity to stimulate different ideas. Problems can be
transformed into opportunities by promoting open dialogue on different perspectives to common
e. Ensure the continuous commitment of partners to the cooperation project
All partners should be interested in the project and remain committed to participate in it, as
established in the cooperation agreement. Further to this ‘compulsory’ commitment, it is useful
to make the project a dynamic partnership in order for all participants to feel ownership,
involvement, contributions and benefits from the project. This can be achieved through
programmed communication actions such as organising informal events and developing
common communication documents.
Actions that help ease potential partnership burdens are also effective techniques to encourage
greater participation. Agreeing standardised operating procedures and producing associated
guidance (such as manuals and reporting templates) helps reduce potential misunderstandings,
conflicts and inefficiencies.
Be aware!
Cooperation is both transnational AND local!
At transnational level, implementation means following the different actions,
managing the project and the financial issues, evaluating the results of the project,
At local level, implementation means carrying out the local actions which will feed
in the cooperation project and using the results of the cooperation projects for the
local development strategy.
Continuous involvement of the local actors helps to secure the link between the cooperation
project and what is happening locally. This requires regular communication with local
stakeholders about up to date project progress, including results of cooperation meetings and
different project phases, etc.
The local cooperation think tank set up during the first steps of defining the cooperation strategy
can act as a cooperation monitoring committee. If this approach is chosen, the committee
should receive regular reports regarding on-going progress with each project element.
Members of the think tank/ committee could also be invited to take part in some of the project
meetings and visits in order to provide an external viewpoint, and feedback on the activities
carried out. These additional human inputs can create valuable benefits for all involved.
• Do not assume that all issues are clear for all partners before they have been discussed in
depth. It may therefore be better to say things twice than not at all!
• The partnership can change during the implementation phase. Hence, allow for such
changes (more partners or less partners) and define from the beginning the rules for such
• When cooperation partnerships involve a great number of structures, it may be useful to plan
several smaller meetings rather than one big one. Yet, from time to time, it is still necessary
for all partners to come together.
The tools which can help you:
Roadmap for cooperation project management (Annex 10)
Possible legal structures to support the cooperation project (Annex 11)
How to communicate with partners from a distance? (tool under construction)
Cooperation agreement template (Annex 12)
Possible presentations of a cooperation budget (tool under construction)
Cross-Cultural Analysis for Learning Handbook
What you have already done at this stage:
You are implementing your cooperation project together with your partner(s);
You are regularly in contact with your partner(s) ;
Your project is ongoing;
You are monitoring your performance.
2.4. Evaluation and Valorisation
2.4.1. Monitoring and Evaluation
Applying monitoring and evaluation tools helps to
improve the quality and added-value achieved by TNC
Monitoring and evaluation occur at different stages in
a TNC project. They are interlinked since monitoring
provides a lot of data for evaluation. Past experience
has demonstrated the crucial role of monitoring and
evaluation in:
• Steering and managing cooperation projects;
• Communicating the full set of results from cooperation, including its added-value for the local
area; and
• Improving the quality of future projects by identifying good practices and sharing knowledge
a. Monitoring
Monitoring is a management tool. It refers to a process of measuring progress against the
project monitoring indicators that were agreed at the project start. Monitoring indicators can
measure both quantitative and qualitative information and it is essential that all partners use
consistent monitoring methodologies (including common indicator definitions).
Monitoring is normally carried out internally by project partners and should occur regularly. The
frequency for measuring progress, via the indicators, should also be agreed in advance by all
partners. Information gathered from the monitoring helps identify if the project is on track to
achieve its objectives.
Monitoring can confirm that a project is proceeding to plan or provide an early warning that
performance is not as expected.
b. Evaluation
Evaluation is a tool which aims to assess the achievement of the past, and draw lessons for the
future. It involves a comprehensive methodological approach which is very often implemented
at the end of the project.
It can include a qualitative analysis of the project’s: outputs in social, economical, and
environmental terms (relevance and impact); method of implementation and partnership
performance (effectiveness, efficiency); and future prospects or mainstreamed outcomes
(sustainability). Evaluation information can be collected through analysing monitoring reports
and/or by consulting different stakeholders involved in the TNC project.
Evaluation is normally carried out externally by independent evaluators and evaluation should
always seek to explore the added-value and synergies gained from TNC processes. These may
be both hard and/or soft outcomes.
Evaluation findings can be used as a communication tool. The results of a TNC project
evaluation can be used to demonstrate to the local population, the financial partners and to the
press, the actual benefits of a European project. Such a presentation may also take the form of
organising an event, together with your transnational partner(s) visiting your area.
The ‘final event’ should present information from the evaluation about your TNC project
outcomes and underscore the current and anticipated impacts. This should include highlighting
the added-value gained in each participating area.
The following table helps to summarise differences between monitoring and evaluation.
(management tool)
(assessment tool)
(communications tool)
Operational project
Strategic aspects,
Concrete results and added
value of TNC.
To identify and
To assess progress
towards objectives.
To assess outcomes,
impact, added value.
To promote
successes and
lessons learned.
To promote TNC.
To make people aware of the
benefits of joint European
action, specifically of TNC
Project stakeholders.
Project stakeholders, local
Lead partner:
Other partners:
gathering of
Lead partner:
Other partners:
gathering of
information and
Lead partner and other
Target Group
It is extremely important to establish and implement these monitoring and evaluation process
from the moment you start writing the project road-map/application form. Only if you follow
purposeful pre-defined indicators can your monitoring and evaluation provide meaningful
support to the objectives of your TNC project.
Be aware!
It is important that the monitoring indicators selected are SMART, meaning:
• Specific: what exactly will be measured, in which geographical area, by what
• Measurable: for the project to be in a position to collect information and data, what
are the initial (so-called: baseline) figures?
• Achievable: what changes are anticipated as a result of the project? Are they
• Relevant: will the indicators measure all of the project’s key activities?
• Timed: when something should happen? In which period?
2.4.2. Capitalisation and dissemination of results of TNC projects
European cooperation can facilitate exchanges between countries and, hence, different ways of
thinking. It has the potential to push further the emergence of new ideas and of new solutions
for rural areas. Disseminating good practices ensures that everybody can benefit from the
experiences of others. It is clearly linked to evaluation and contributes to the promotion of
transnational cooperation.
Capitalisation tools may be chosen depending on the target group: (potential) beneficiaries,
elected representatives, press/media, general or specific public (inhabitants, business
community…), etc. The way that information will be presented/structured is likely to differ.
The capitalisation of TNC projects can be achieved by different types of tools:
• Videos about the project with interviews from stakeholders;
• Events promoting TNC projects; and
• Project fact sheets usually comprise the following elements:
identity - describing the profile and characteristics of the area of the lead and other
presentation of the project objective(s);
project implementation methodology;
expected and achieved results;
lessons learned; and
transferability - what are the conditions linked to the local context? What would it
take to adapt the project in another context?
Be aware!
Many things have already been done, so take a look!
Do not re-do or try to re-invent what it already exists! All rural networks at all levels
work on capitalisation of experience. Do not hesitate to make use of these
2.4.3. Communication – how to achieve publicity for a TNC project
All actions co-financed by European Commission funds have to be publicised. Communication
is crucial in this public awareness raising process for:
• stimulating interest in TNC opportunities among local actors and potential future TNC project
• contributing to opening up the dominant way of thinking in a territory and ‘broadening
horizons’ by introducing new ideas gained during transnational relationships;
• sharing experiences, thus disseminating good practices to the other rural areas in Europe;
• raising awareness about the potential that Europe offers, thus establishing a concrete vision
of European action.
Different communication tools, messages and timings relate to different target audiences:
Target group
Which tools
Visibility methods employed
include standard reference
displayed on project
To raise awareness
documentation, P/R materials
about EU co(incl. those addressing schools)
financing obtained
and putting up EU flags during
project presentations and project
Throughout project
implementation and
particularly when
actions involve
P/R materials including:
To display the
potential diversity of •
topics that can be
addressed by TNC
To raise interest in
TNC: what is the
representatives added-value for
their territory?
To promote TNC by •
means of a
concrete project
example To
highlight the
Project Fact Sheet
Project Video
Press Articles
Throughout project
Information meetings
involving cooperation
operators (testimonies)
Information meetings with
testimonies of elected people At the beginning and
at the end of the
involved in TNC projects
Project Video
Project Fact Sheet
Project Video
Press Articles
When the project has
achieved first
tangible results.
During an important
stage of TNC project
General public
Visibility means employed
include standard reference
displayed on project
documentation, P/R
materials (incl. those
addressing schools) and
putting up EU flags during
project presentations and
project events.
Project flyer
Project Videos
Press Articles
To raise visibility of
the European
involvement in the
development of
rural areas
• You should anticipate the monitoring and evaluation mechanism: it all needs to start when
you are writing your project application;
• Foresee a communication plan in your application form: which target groups, which aims and
what tools/actions/timing?
• Keep your TNC project factsheet short, though understandable and precise;
• Adapt messages for dissemination to the target group.
The tools which can help you:
Evaluation grid for cooperation (tool under construction)
Contact details of Rural Evaluation network
Publicity toolkit (Annex 13)
Template of cooperation project factsheets (tool under construction)
Databases about cooperation projects under Leader+ (2000-2006)
3. Glossary
a coherent group of measures with specific goals resulting directly from their
implementation and contributing to one or more of the rural development policy
objectives. There are three thematic axes: Axis 1 - Improving the competitiveness of
agricultural and forestry Sector; Axis 2 - supporting land management and improving the
environment; Axis 3 - improving quality of life in rural areas and diversification of the rural
Economy. The three thematic axes are complemented by a "methodological" axis
dedicated to the Leader approach (Leader axis).
provides a list of approved transnational cooperation projects
common tool for disseminating selected examples of good or best practices on the
implementation of rural development programmes within the European Union.
means cooperation between two or more Local Action Groups from the same Member
is a broad-based local private-public partnership whose aim is to improve the long-term
potential of the local area and who has the ability to define and implement a development
strategy for the area. The LAG is selected to implement a local development strategy on
the basis of criteria set up at the programme level by the Managing Authority.
is a programming document drawn up and implemented by the LAG for a given area with
a view to achieving the objectives of one or more of the three thematic rural development
axes which should contribute to the local development.
is a methodological Axis or approach which can be implemented to complement the other
three thematic axes (objectives) of the EAFRD. The Leader axis is an obligatory element
of the rural development programmes which are to be implemented by Member States
during the 20072013 programming period. The Leader axis is used to finance: the
implementation of the Local Development Strategies of Local Action Groups established
on one or more of the three thematic axes; the transnational and interterritorial
cooperation projects between them; and the operating costs of LAGs, including the
capacity building necessary for the preparation of local development strategies and the
animation of the territory.
are a set of operations contributing to the implementation of an axis. Managing
Authorities propose at national or regional level, their rural development programs
choosing those measures that best suit the needs of their rural areas and which take
account of the priorities and strategies chosen in the national strategic plans on rural
this activity is carried out during the implementation of each RDP, under the responsibility
of the Managing Authority and each Member States Monitoring Committee, in order to
monitor programme implementation.
are in charge of the management of the rural development programmes, whether at
National or Regional levels.
or National Rural Network has been established in each Member State under Article
66(3) of Council Regulation (EC) No 1698 /2005 and Article 68: Article 39. Their main
aims and duties are: To group the organisations and administrations involved in rural
development To facilitate at Member State level an exchange of expertise and support
implementation and evaluation of the rural development policy and to secure and
coordinate the information flow between the local, national and European level. To have
an action plan which provides for: a transfer of knowledge (identification and analysis of
good transferable practices and provision of information about them, the organisation of
exchanges of experience and know-how); training (the preparation of training
programmes for Local Action Groups in the process of formation); and technical
assistance for inter territorial and trans-national cooperation."
or Rural Development Program forms the basis for rural development policy. It is a
strategic approach defining the EU’s priorities for rural development for the period
20072013. These priorities provide the framework on the basis of the community’s
strategic guidelines according to which Member States have prepared their National
Rural Development Programs. For this purpose the Rural Development policy (EAFRD)
focuses on three commonly agreed core policy objectives or axes: improving the
competitiveness of agricultural and forestry sector; supporting land management and
improving the environment; and improving quality of life in rural areas and diversification
of the rural economy. These three thematic axes are complemented by a
"methodological" axis dedicated to the Leader approach.
(abbreviated to RDP) designed by Member States or Regions and approved by the
Commission, represent the means through which Rural Development Policy is
implemented throughout the EU, according to Regulation (EC) n. 1698/2005. There are
over 90 RDP’s for the 2007 to 2013 programming period.
or Transnational Cooperation means cooperation between one or more Local Action
Groups from at least two Member States among which at least one is selected from the
Leader Axis. TNC can also include cooperation of Local Action Groups from the EU-27
with similar groups in third countries following a similar or Leader-like approach.
is an "Integrated European Cooperation Guide" which aims to promote and assist
transnational cooperation during the 20072013 programming period. The "guide"
provides practical information at project level, including a description of the programming
rules. As such it is a support for the beneficiaries (LAGs) and is a complement to the
existing administrative guide "Guide for the implementation of the measures cooperation
under the Leader Axis of rural development programmes 20072013".
4. Rules and procedures
Each RDP has its own requirements regarding TNC project proposals and implementation. For
those rural stakeholders implementing TNC projects it is very important to be aware of the rules
regarding their own RDP, as well as the rules affecting their partners’ TNC actions. More
information will be made available soon.
5. Programming
Here you can find the list of the National Rural Development Programmes of all Member States.
These can be consulted directly via the electronic version of this guide on the EN RD website.
National Rural Development Programmes
Member State
Czech Republic
Mainland Finland
Region of Ǻland
Basic National Regulation
Lower Saxony and Bremen
Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania
National Rural Development Programmes
Member State
North Rhine-Westphalia
Aosta Valley
Friuli-Venezia Giulia
National Rural Development Programmes
Member State
Prinicipality of Asturias
Balearic Islands
Basque Country
Canary Islands
Castille and Leon
Castille-La Mancha
National Rural Development Programmes
Member State
Northern Ireland
6. List of Annexes
Annex 1: Questions which can help you define your cooperation strategy
Annex 2: Internal or external support: pros and cons, terms of reference and selection criteria
for external technical assistance
Annex 3: Organise the cooperation ideas into a hierarchy.
Annex 4: Template of a cooperation ad
Annex 5: Find a partner
Annex 6: Check list ‘What to think about the first meeting with your partners?
Annex 7: How to present your territory to your partner?
Annex 8: Template for a letter of intent
Annex 9: Selection grid for cooperation projects
Annex 10: Roadmap for cooperation project management
Annex 11: Possible legal structures to support the cooperation project
Annex 12: Cooperation agreement template
Annex 13: Publicity toolkit
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