Ισχυρές Περιφέρειες: Οικοδομώντας γέφυρες στην ΕΕ

«Strong regions – building bridges for Europe»: Danuta H?bner and Michael Glos launch the new Cohesion Policy programmes
German Minister for Economy and Technology, Michael Glos and European Commissioner for Regional Policy, Danuta H?bner, addressed today in Hof, Germany, a conference organised by the German Presidency, marking the adoption of a certain number of Cohesion Policy programmes for the 2007-2013 period. Under the title «Strong Regions – Building Bridges for Europe», the event marks a turning point in the new Cohesion policy as there is now agreement between the European Commission and 10 Member States on their National Strategic Reference Framework Programmes representing around €160 billion of investment in European regions and cities over the next seven years. The adopted programmes correspond to approximately 46% of the total amount allocated for all 27 EU Member States ( €347 billion). Commissioner H?bner signed the plans and priorities agreed between the Commission and Germany, Hungary, Poland, Spain, and Cyprus. The Commission has already agreed on the plans and priorities of Malta, Greece, Austria, Lithuania and Denmark while the procedure regarding the remaining 17 countries will be completed soon.

Commissioner H?bner said: «Last year I said that timing is crucial if we really mean to help our regions become more competitive and attractive. Today, less than five months into 2007, we can see the fruits of our hard work. The regions of ten Member States are now ready to start benefiting from the biggest investment our Union has ever made in this area. This is great news for our regions, great news for Europe». The Commissioner congratulated the Austrian regions for becoming the first to have operational programmes approved by the Commission (IP/07/631) and announced that the operational programmes for Bavaria, Saxony, Lower Saxony and Bremen have been finalised.

Minister Glos said: «This event sends a strong signal and shows that we care about the economic development of Europe’s regions. I am pleased that this launch event takes place on such a historic day in Hof. For the first time, all 27 Member States participate fully in the Union’s cohesion policy in order to strengthen our regions’ competitiveness. In this sense, we will be able to build bridges within Europe and beyond.»

The event attracted 300 regional policy experts from several EU Member States including members of the German and European Parliament, Poland’s Regional Development Minister Grazyna Gesicka and the German Minister-Presidents Edmund Stoiber and Georg Milbradt. The programme included a high-level panel discussion on the successes achieved by EU cohesion policy and its future perspective followed by a signing ceremony of the programming documents.

The National Strategic Reference Frameworks (NSRF) adopted
Germany

For the 2007-2013 period, Germany has been allocated approximately € 26.3 billion, of which € 16.1 billion under the Convergence objective, € 9.4 billion under Regional Competitiveness and Employment objective and € 0.8 billion under the European Territorial Cooperation objective. On average, the German authorities will contribute 25% to the EU funding under the convergence and 50% to the amount of the competitiveness and employment objective as their national co-financing.

The EU funding will be invested in four strategic objectives:
1. Innovation and building up of the knowledge-based society and strengthening of the competitiveness of the economy;
2. Increase of the attractiveness of the regions for investors and inhabitants by sustainable regional development;
3. More and better jobs;
4. Develop regions to promote opportunities and reduce differences (Territorial priority/objective).
In addition to the strategic objectives, there are the following 3 horizontal objectives: sustainable urban development, equal opportunities and environment. (IP/07/637)

Poland

Poland has been allocated approximately € 67.3 billion (the largest beneficiary of cohesion policy in 2007-2013): € 66.6 billion under the Convergence objective (of which € 22.2 billion Cohesion Fund) and € 731 million under the European Territorial Cooperation objective. Poland’s contribution (including private sources) to complement the EU investments would reach € 18.3 billion, bringing the total amount at the disposal for cohesion policy activities in Poland to approximately € 85.6 billion over a 7-years period.
The EU funding will be invested in order to create the conditions for growth of competitiveness and of a knowledge-based economy and entrepreneurship assuring an increase in employment and in the level of social, economic and territorial cohesion.
This global objective is translated into the following 6 horizontal specific objectives:
1. Improved functioning standards of the public administration and development of partnership mechanisms.
2. Improved quality of human capital and enhancement of social cohesion
3. Development and modernisation of technical and social infrastructure of fundamental importance for growth of the competitiveness in Poland
4. Improvement of competitiveness and innovativeness of enterprises, including specifically the production sector with high added value and development of the services sector
5. Increase of competitiveness of Polish regions and counterbalancing their social, economic and spatial marginalisation.
6. Balancing development opportunities and supporting structural changes in rural areas.
(IP/07/633)

Spain

Spain has been allocated € 35 217 million; € 26 180 million under the Convergence objective (of which € 3 543 million from the Cohesion Fund), € 8 477 million under the Regional Competitiveness and Employment objective and € 559 million under the European Territorial Cooperation objective. On average, the Spanish authorities will contribute 25% to the EU funding under the convergence and 50% to the amount of the competitiveness and employment objective as their national co-financing.

The EU funding will be invested in three strategic objectives:
1. Making Spain a more attractive place to invest and work in;
2. Improving knowledge and innovation to strengthen growth;
3. More and better jobs.
The Spanish NSRF intends to translate these priority objectives into themes aimed at boosting the knowledge economy, fostering sustainable environment and transport, advancing local and urban development, encouraging lifelong learning and business creation, improving human capital, promoting access to employment, social inclusion and equal opportunities, enhancing public-private partnership and encouraging both strategic reflexion and acquisition of skills by experience exchange in newly-created thematic networks.
(IP/07/634)

Cyprus

Cyprus has been allocated approximately € 640 million, of which € 213 million under the Cohesion Fund , € 399 million under the Regional Competitiveness and Employment objective (phasing in), and € 28 million under the European Territorial Cooperation objective. Together with Cyprus’ contribution to complement the EU, the total investment should reach € 720 million calculated on the basis of an annual average of € 103 million.
The funds will be invested in five thematic priorities:
1. Strengthening of the productive base of the economy and support to enterprises
2. Knowledge Society and Promotion of RTD and Innovation
3. Human Resources, Employment and Social Cohesion
4. Environment, Transport and Energy Infrastructures
5. Development of Sustainable Communities
(IP/07/632)

Hungary

For the 2007-2013 programming period, Hungary has been allocated an amount of € 25.3 billion, of which € 22.9 billion under the Convergence objective (of which € 8.6billion from the Cohesion fund), € 386 million under the European Territorial Cooperation objective. The Hungarian contribution will reach an amount of € 4.4 billion.
The main objectives of the Hungarian National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) are to increase employment and sustain long-term growth.
Sustained growth is to be achieved through the specific objectives of:
1. Improving competitiveness including strengthening the knowledge economy
2. Widening the economic basis and
3. Developing the business environment
Increased employment is to be achieved through the specific objectives of:
1. Increasing labour supply by improving employability and labour market activity
2. Increasing labour demand by promoting job creation and
3. Developing a labour market environment that ensures balance between supply and demand
(IP/07/635)

Background

All Member States have already sent their national strategic reference frameworks (NSRFs) to the Commission, Malta, Greece and Austria being the first countries to have the plan approved. In drawing up their NSRFs, all Member States must take account of the Community guidelines for 2007-2013 which place particular emphasis on innovation, research and technological development, the information society, environmental protection, renewable energy sources and creating more and better jobs. The NSRF must also tie in closely with Member States’ national reform programmes which set out the measures they will implement to deliver the Lisbon jobs and growth strategy.

Further information about European Regional Policy is available at:
http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/index_en.htm

Further information on the European Social Fund is available at:
http://ec.europa.eu/esf

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