Future of Community initiatives under the Structural Funds The Committee of the Regions (COR) has presented its Opinion of the future of the Community initiative under the Structural Funds. The Committee emphasized the importance of the wide-ranging scope of the Structural Funds and the importance of the role of the COR and the need ... The Committee of the Regions (COR) has presented its Opinion of the future of the Community initiative under the Structural Funds. The Committee emphasized the importance of the wide-ranging scope of the Structural Funds and the importance of the role of the COR and the need to have a balanced and focused approach to policy and practical initiatives in these widely varying and underdeveloped regions. The Edinburgh European Council gave top priority to cross-border cooperation and to the role of regional and local authorities under INTERREG II. The COR Opinion calls for support to strengthen the measures at external borders, particularly those with Central and Eastern Europe. The Committee also welcomes the LEADER II initiative as an important support programme for rural development projects based on local and rural initiatives. On the issue of employment and the development of human resources, which were covered by the NOW, HORIZON and YOUTHSTART initiatives, the COR supports the Commission's integrated approach to employment and employment-related initiatives as vital for the strengthening of Community policies and programme in this area. RECHAR II is designed to promote cross-border cooperation between mining areas which have been particularly prone to job losses and environmental damage. The COR stressed the need and importance of continuing with this initiative. Regarding SMEs, the Committee supports the Commission's attempt to amalgamate a number of previous initiatives such as STRIDE, PRISMA and TELEMATIQUE and to continue them under the umbrella of a new SME initiative. The priorities will continue to be to support productive job-creating investment along with the need for SMEs to develop links more easily with SME in more prosperous regions.