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   The  EEC Commissioner  for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Ray  Mac
   Sharry  together  with  representatives of  the  Spanish  and  Portuguese
   Governments  officially  signed  the  Leader  agreements  for  Spain  and
   Portugal in Brussels today.
   The LEADER programme is an initiative taken by the Commission within  the
   framework  of  the  Structural  Funds  that  seeks  to  demonstrate   the
   importance of direct support for local Community-based initiatives in the
   development of rural areas.
   The  main  objective of the initiative is to  find  innovative  solutions
   which will serve as a model for all Community rural areas and to  provide
   valuable lessons for future EC policy in rural development.
   The  Commission  has  adopted a first set of decisions  applying  to  the
   Community  as a whole,  involving 110 local groups to receive a total  EC
   funding  of  234  MECU;  a  further  tranche  covering  approximately  90
   additional groups receiving a total EC grant of 220 MECU will be  decided
   in February next year.
   The  amount allocated by the Commission to Portugal and Spain  represents
   approximately   40%  of  the  total  amount  available  for  the   Leader
   For  Spain,  today's agreement relates to a grant of 83.083 MECU  for  36
   groups  and  represents 70% of the total amount (120 MECU)  foreseen  for
   Spain under the Leader initiative.
   In the case  of Portugal the Agreement covers a grant of 37.649 MECU  for
   13 groups and accounts for 72% of the total amount which is foreseen  for
   A  further  tranche including the remaining finance and  eligible  groups
   will be decided in February.
                                     - 2 -
   Mr  Mac  Sharry  was complimentary of the quality  of  the  projects  put
   forward by the Spanish and Portuguese groups and expressed the view  that
   the projects should provide a significant contribution to the development
   of the rural areas concerned.
   Note 1.
   The agreement relating to the Spanish projects will be signed by Mr  Luis
   Atienza  President  of  IRYDA  (National Institute  for  the  Reform  and
   Development  of Agriculture), the organisation designated by the  Spanish
   Government as the Intermediary.
   Mr José Alberto Guerreiro dos Santos, Director General of the Directorate
   General  of  Planning and Agriculture which has been  designated  as  the
   intermediary body will sign the agreement on behalf of Portugal.
   Note 2.
   Community Financial Allocation by funding source:-
                      FEOGA    FEDER         FSE          TOTAL
   PORTUGAL           16.362   20.241        1.046        37.649
   SPAIN Obj.1        31.929   31.929        4.225        68.083
   SPAIN Obj.5b        6.340    7.500        1.160        15.000
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