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Abstract

The European Union’s LEADER programme, as an integral part of the Rural Development Programme, is perceived as an important, spatially oriented instrument of the current rural policy and Local Action Groups (LAGs) are the mainstay of the implementation of this developmental initiative. Only 29 LAGs were registered in Slovakia for the EU 2007-2013 programming period. They covered only 18% of the territory of the country and affected more than 618 thousand (11%) inhabitants in Slovakia. The situation dramatically changed during the next years. For the 2014-2020 programming period, 110 Local Action Groups with differentiated financial support for their approved individual Community-led local development (CLLD) strategies were registered in Slovakia. The aim of the present study is twofold. Firstly, it attempts to describe the process of innovative general and spatial diffusion of registered non-profit organizations from rural territories on the territory of Slovakia. We present this process stressing the specific position of Slovakia among the group of the EU Member States. Secondly, territorial areas (“regions”) covered by LAGs were selected for a detailed comparative intra-national analysis of their basic, geographically relevant characteristics (number of inhabitants and municipalities, proportion between urban and rural municipalities, and character of demographic development) by using the individual and aggregate statistical data for descriptive statistical analysis (tables) and cartographic presentation (maps).

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