chapter  9
14 Pages

The European Union’s external governance in the area of rural development

Understanding the consequences of LEADER
WithLaura Gelhaus

Within the EU, the LEADER rural development programme has been hailed as an effective, inclusive and sustainable solution for a variety of rural development concerns. Best characterised as an area-based rural development programme it is intended to include local people in decision-making as well as design and implementation of projects. The basic idea is that a rural community not only knows what is best for ‘their’ area but also feels ownership and responsibility for it, leading to better results.

Due to its alleged resounding success within the EU, it has been externally governed in non-member states, moving it into the academic realm of the external governance literature. Yet, the chapter not only challenges LEADER’s inherent assumption of homogenous rural communities as it conceals the further empowerment of elites to the detriment of other groups, but argues that these consequences cannot be identified through the measure of external governance effectiveness promoted by Lavenex and Schimmelfennig (2009).