Written Answers. - Leader Programmes.

Ivan Yates

Question:

353 Mr. Yates asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food the views, if any, his Department or the European Commission have as to whether there will be a Leader III scheme put in place; the proposals, if any, there are to ensure ongoing activity in the area of community development under the auspices of his Department after the termination of the current Leader II programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1506/99]

As part of its Agenda 2000 proposals, the European Commission is proposing to introduce a further Community initiative on rural development under the next round of Structural Funds. The Commission has not yet published specific proposals on the scope or format of a new programme. The Department's role in community development will be considered in the light of the Commission's proposals and also in the context of the preparation of the White Paper on Rural Development which is under way in my Department.