Czech Republic will hold vicepresidency in the European LEADER Association for Rural Development in 2013. It will have a unique opportunity to influence the rural development policies and application of the community-led local development in the future programming period and, moreover, promote the interests of the Czech Republic in this area. On behalf of the National LAGs Network of the Czech Republic Mr. Radim Srsen was elected as an ELARD vicepresident. The presidency for 2013 stays in Finland represented by the contemporary ELARD president Petri Rinne, second vicepresidency will have Denmark represented by Mrs. Kirsten Birke Lund.
„It is in a way a sort of prestige for us as we are the first country from Central and Eastern Europe having ELARD vicepresidency. At the same time, it is a big challenge for the whole National LAG Network as we have a vicepresidency just in time when the new EU programming period 2014 – 2020 is being negotiated. Appart of the aim for coherent national policy in relation to the use of CLLD/LEADER tool we want to share our experience from national negotiations with other countries. Our role in ELARD would be also in relation to other countries of the Central and Eastern Europe where the political situation, culture and problems are quite similar. We could offer to share our experiences in relation to the process of covering „white places“ not covered by LAGs, work with not supported LAGs, including their training and various seminars, or our LEADER „cooking-book“. Those are things that sometimes seem to be interesting also for the Western European countries which are leaders of application of the LEADER tool and have been always an insipration for us,“ said Radim Srsen.
Among the main priorities of the Czech vicepresidency belong further promotion of the LEADER/ CLLD principles throughout Europe, and even in the countries which are not EU members, e.g. as a part of pre-accession policies, covering of white spots not covered by active local action groups, standardization of LAGs´ quality and processes throughout whole Europe and support of a new paradigm of Common Agricultural Policy. At the same time, we would like to include more youth to the community-led local development, based on the principle „LEADER to the youth“.