The European Commission approved the programme for the EU Initiative LEADER+ in Hesse. Welcoming the decision, Franz Fischler, Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries, said : "This program aims to pilot new ideas to help build a more sustainable society, economy and environment for rural Germany. We want to improve the quality of life for all those who live in rural areas. Leader+ will help to add value to local products and to make the best use of natural and cultural resources." During the period 2001-2006, total expenditure under the programme is 23.4 million. This includes an EU contribution of 8.2 million and a contribution of 7 million from the private sector.