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What should be the legal structure of the FLAG? What is the best way to ensure administrative efficiency while avoiding excessive bureaucracy and unnecessary costs?

The legal structure of FLAGs can vary enormously depending on the administrative tradition and legal framework in each country. In some countries, FLAGs are civil associations, in others they are non profit making private or public companies. Elsewhere FLAG partnerships do not have a separate legal entity and are part of existing local development organisations but with a clear separation of the strategy, decision making structure and accounts for Axis 4 from the other activities.

Whichever approach is chosen in a country it is essential to ensure that the FLAG has the qualified staff and management systems required to ensure effective financial and administrative management. Article 23.2 of the EFF Implementing Regulation allows for two ways of achieving this. One method is to nominate one experienced partner as the administrative and financial leader supporting the administration of the FLAG. The second is to create a separate legal entity which can show that it collectively has the administrative capacity to manage the project.

In either case, FLAGs should maintain the flexibility required to adapt the strategy to local circumstances. One of the keys to the success of Axis 4 is the partnerships which must be able to respond faster and more effectively to local needs than more traditional methods. If the FLAG simply becomes another layer in an administrative hierarchy then much of the added value is lost and the entire approach is called into question.