Implementation of the LEADER Programme in Hungary
Keywords: rural development, programme, local action group, bottom-up development
As part of the LEADER Program, there are currently nearly a hundred local action groups operating in the Hungarian countryside, establishing a venue for local governance throughout the country (based on the local partnerships of local governments, enterprises and NGOs). Their existence creates an opportunity for the bottom-up, stakeholder oriented, comprehensive and integrated development of the countryside. This opportunity has not yet been made full use of, however. Fundamental reasons thereof include the lack of experience-based, comprehensive and timely planning; the low level of autonomy of the local action groups; the inflexible and overcomplicated implementation procedures; as well as the lack of extensive ongoing involvement of the stakeholders. It can be concluded that a considerable portion of the basic problems and issues in realising the LEADER Programme in Hungary stems from the difficulties in implementing the programme’s key elements – i.e. they are not limited to Hungary. The possibilities open to local partnerships are determined by the condition and the level of development of their surroundings, which often distorts implementation away from the original LEADER principles. It is essential that the Programme itself should not be blamed for cases like this, as it only reflects the state and conditions of its environment.