Territorial competitiveness. Creating a territorial development strategy in light of the LEADER experience. Part 1


In the face of the crises experienced by many of Europe?s rural areas, there is no doubt that the LEADER Community Initiative has mapped out new paths of development which can now be seen as an important initial response to the need to revitalise and develop rural areas to the full. The question remains as to whether the paths mapped out by LEADER can be consolidated to allow rural areas to acquire a genuine 'territorial competitiveness'. This matter has become all the more crucial now that LEADER II is nearing completion and making way for LEADER+. The transition to the new LEADER phase, which is expected to provide a 'plus' in relation to the previous Initiative, could offer an opportunity for the qualitative leap forward. This will require each area to draw up its own 'territorial project' aimed at achieving what we term 'territorial competitiveness'.