The article deals with the relationship between the notion of "local development" and the targets of economic planning. Starting from the fact that a clear definition of objectives and priorities is essential for a sound programme of economic policy the article argues that the objective of local development is somehow missing in the approach of the European Union’s structural funds programming period 2007-2013. This is reflected in the great variety of targets and initiatives that can be found in the planning documents of the different regions who have access to the structural funds, which are generally lacking an organic strategy based on a clear set of priority objectives. Local development, which instead should be the fundamental objective of regional planning, is, though, a concept that needs to be clarified because it is still surrounded by a great deal of ambiguities. In trying to indicate the objectives and the indicators of local development, a great help may come from the so called "Sarkozy Report". The suggestions of this report about the notion of development itself and consequently about the appropriate indicators can be taken as guidelines for setting objectives and indicators for development policies at the local level.
Keywords: Local Development, Structural Funds, Regional Planning