A second set of 25 programmes have been approved by the Commission under the LEADER II Community Initiative on rural development. Following approval, in April 1995, of an initial series of 23 programmes, a total of 48 LEADER II programmes have now been approved for which the overall Community contribution amounts to ECU 1,070 million and the total investment close to ECU 2,620 million. The programmes adopted so far cover Greece, Spain, Ireland, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Portugal and the United Kingdom. Programmes are expected to be adopted shortly for the remaining countries in the Community of Twelve. Proposals for the three new Member States must be submitted to the Commission before the end of the year. The main aim of the LEADER Community initiative is to provide Community funding to local action groups which have designed an integrated development plan based on making optimum use of the local resources in a small, well-defined rural area (usually with a population of less than 100,000). As a general rule, these groups are provided with a global grant from the relevant authority that covers all of the measures planned for the area. How they use the grant depends on the projects presented by the local inhabitants. The particular feature of LEADER is thus its ability to aid the local population directly in carrying out projects and in taking charge of their own development. The operations funded under LEADER II must display three key features: - Innovation (the identification of new approaches to rural development); - Demonstrative character (solutions should be representative); - Transferability (the operations should be reproducible elsewhere). These features are always assessed with the local context firmly in mind.