LEADER[i] is a local development method which has been used for 30 years to engage local actors in the design and delivery of strategies, decision-making and resource allocation for the development of their rural areas.

It is implemented by around 2 800 Local Action Groups (LAGs), covering 61 % of the rural population in the EU and bringing together public, private and civil-society stakeholders in a particular area (situation as of end 2018 - EU-28).

In the rural development context, LEADER is implemented under the national and regional Rural Development Programmes (RDPs) of each EU Member State, co-financed from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).[ii]

In the 2014-2020 programming period, the LEADER method has been extended under the broader term Community-Led Local Development (CLLD) to three additional EU Funds:


Community-Led Local Development explained


Although LEADER is obligatory only under the EAFRD, a single action can now be supported under two or more of the four EU Funds at the same time through the concept of multi-funded CLLD. Where this is applied, it enables LAGs to comprehensively integrate local needs and solutions and helps to reinforce the links between rural, urban and fisheries areas.

For further information, explore a set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

Follow the work of the permanent LEADER/CLLD Sub-group operating within the framework of the European Rural Networks’ Assembly.

LEADER/CLLD implementation: insights from LAGs

Click on the links below to explore LEADER/CLLD in detail



[i] The term ‘LEADER’ originally came from the French acronym for "Liaison Entre Actions de Développement de l'Économie Rurale", meaning 'Links between the rural economy and development actions'.

[ii] For information on LEADER and LAGs in the 2007-2013 programming period, visit the archived ENRD website