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LOCAL ACTION GROUPS - THE EUROPEAN INTEGRATION CATALYST FOR THE ROMANIAN RURAL AREA

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Author(s): Ailenei Dorel | Mosora Liviu - Cosmin

Journal: Annals of the University of Oradea : Economic Science
ISSN 1222-569X

Volume: 1;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 40;
Date: 2011;
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Keywords: local action groups | regional disparities | regional development policies

ABSTRACT
Romania has the highest share of European Union rural areas (44.9% in 2009), which generates and maintains a long series of regional disparities. Because of these disparities, the economy faces a number of elements that undermine the quality of human and social capital and reduces the potential for growth: precarious social and economic infrastructure, reduced access to markets and thus to goods, a low level of both economic cohesion and living standards, and a difficult access to education and training (leading to the underutilization of labor in rural areas, while major shortages in the labor market and increased migration phenomenon manifests).\r\nIn these circumstances the European Union LEADER initiative is an important chance for the development and tightening of the rural - urban continuum in Romania. A fundamental element of this initiative are the local action groups. These local action groups are conceived rather as an ad hoc framework for exchanging ideas, for debate on matters of local interest, on initiatives to boost economic activities. Thus, these local partnership structures can be self-organized by very real problems and directions: to promote a brand of product made in a certain area, the image of a tourist attraction, of traditional occupations, crafts of products, etc.\r\nIn this paper, the authors aim to highlight the difficulties of European integration for rural areas in the new Member States, considering that the LEADER initiative would be a good opportunity to accelerate this process. To emphasize this, a review of the progress in implementing the LAGs program in Central and Eastern Europe was undertake. Also, we identified the success factors of this program based on the experience of the European Union developed countries. Finally, we provide arguments in favor of local action groups as the solution to the rural problem of Romania.
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