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Can measures falling under Article 44 (1) section (i) – acquiring skills and facilitating the preparation and implementation of strategies – be implemented only by the groups, or is it possible for the Member States to provide a separate measure outside the budget allocated to the groups?

With regard to Article 44 (1) (i), all measures supported under this section can only be implemented as part of the local development strategy, i.e. only by groups. Therefore, operations concerning the creation of an individual local group and strategy (for instance the administrative costs of constituting the group, or the cost of experts helping to draw up the strategy) are eligible under Axis 4. However, only those groups that are finally selected will see these costs become eligible under Axis 4 as part of their local development strategy.  

Member States may also provide support for the acquisition of skills and preparation of the strategies using a separate measure under Axis 5. This could also support wider awareness raising activities, conferences, facilitators etc. This support will have to be made available to all interested territories via a transparent procedure.