On October 30th, the Plenary Session of the Economic and Social Council (ESC) adopted an opinion on the “Opportunities for regional development by using the “Community-led local development instrument”.

This opinion is a continuation of the ESC work on the topic of effective appropriation of the EU funds in Bulgaria and aims at informing the society about the opportunities offered by the “Community-led local development” (CLLD) instrument. In a number of acts the ESC supports the thesis that for the successful implementation of national strategies and policies it is necessary to be given more importance to the regional and local government as well as to the cooperation at local level with social partners and civil society.

The Community-led local development is a new instrument of the integrated territorial approach recommended by the European Commission for the programming period 2014-2020 and Bulgaria has set its implementation in the Partnership Agreement with the European Commission 2014-2020. The instrument is rather less known, but not unknown, because it uses the basis applied for decades in the EU “LEADER” approach. The main element taken from “LEADER” is the principle of “bottom-up” planning as a mechanism for concentrating and targeted fund spending according to the territorial specifics.

Key ESC recommendation is referred to the acceleration of the process of drafting a regulation for the CLLD mechanism application, which would provide sufficient time for implementation of subsequent major steps in the CLLD approach fulfillment - selection of local action groups (LAGs), development of strategies for local development, approval of local development strategies (LDSs).

At the same time the ESC recommends the composition of the interinstitutional working group for preparation of the legal act to not limit itself only to representatives of the governing bodies of all the programmes that will apply the CLLD. Other major parties need to be included in the process of programming and management of EU funds as well as key bodies, representing the interests and expressing the will of potential beneficiaries on the CLLD mechanism.

The ESC also insists on the process for preparation of the legal act for the realization of the CLLD approach to be duly, transparent and enabling consultation at every stage of the document preparation. It should govern the application of monofunded (along the lines of “LEADER”) and multi-funded CLLD; to determine the composition, powers and tasks of the body responsible for the approval and control of the implementation related to the integrated local development strategies, which are funded by the CLLD instrument; to determine the structure responsible for the operational coordination and monitoring on the instrument application and the LDSs implementation.



is the “bridge” between citizens and the national government. Its mission is to support such “bridging” so as to facilitate the communication between the society and the national government. It is the new and modern institution of the civil dialogue.

The ESC's mission is to promote civil society organisations access to and involvement in the process of decision-making on strategic economic and social issues.

The main goal of ESC's operation is to enable different representatives of organised civil society to feel free to state their views whereas unanimity on matters of common interest is encouraged. The Council expresses and protects civil society interests by communicating agreed statements and proposals submitted by its members to the executive and legislative authorities.

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