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Is it possible to consider activities such as transfer of experience and learning between the FLAGs as cooperation projects? And if yes, how should they be financed?

It is expected that in the early years of Axis 4 implementation the groups will be occupied mainly with setting up their partnerships and implementing their first local actions. Fully developed thematic cooperation projects are likely to take some time to get off the ground.

However, activities such as structured study visits or staff exchanges, twinning, and other forms of peer to peer support can be considered as “cooperation projects”, provided they contribute to the capacity building of FLAGs and are in line with the local strategy. The groups could not be expected to cover these costs under their running costs, which are limited to 10% of the group’s financial allocation.

Article 44 (1) (h) of the EFF Regulation states that support for the sustainable development of fisheries areas may be granted for promoting inter-regional and trans-national cooperation among groups in fisheries areas, mainly through networking and disseminating best practice1 . This means that the transfer of knowledge from experienced to less experienced groups should be encouraged by covering the relevant costs (including for twinning actions undertaken by local groups) under Axis 4. Managing Authorities may also decide to provide the FLAGs with grants financed from Axis 5.

1 It is in this context that one should read the Vademecum (point 7.5.1) which states that cooperation should include the implementation of a „joint project” (rather than simply “an exchange of experiences”) – this means that the capacity building, networking and dissemination of best practice should take form of a joint project (with clear objectives, activities and time-frame) involving two or more FLAGs.