The announcement of the adoption of a second set of programmes under the LEADER II Community initiative, provided an occasion for Mr. Fischler, Commissioner responsible for agriculture and rural development, to set out his policies for rural development in the Community. In the period covered by the new Community programmes (1994-1999) the Union will provide, through all of the structural programmes, some ECU 30 billion for specific rural development aid measures. Commissioner Fischler stated that his priorities in this area will be to: - Adopt a multisectoral approach across the board (while this approach is already used in the case of Objective 5(b) assistance, it must also be developed or introduced in a number of Objective 1 regions in which the most sensitive rural areas are located); - Strengthen the partnership with the rural regions by involving the various local and regional representatives in the Community programmes as much as possible; - Take account of the Commission's major policy priorities, such as unemployment and the environment, in the implementation of rural development programmes; - Examine how rural issues may be taken into account in other Community policies. Commissioner Fischler noted that all of the Union's efforts on rural development will be centred around the European Rural Development Network introduced earlier this year and highlighted the key tasks of this network. He also highlighted the need for an active rural development policy to be introduced in the non-Member countries that border the Union which the Commission intends to allow to participate in the European Rural Development Network. Mr. Fischler further announced his intention to organize a European Conference on Rural Development in 1996 with a view to providing a mid-term status report on the Community programmes and identify future prospects for the Community's rural development policy.