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Brussels, 25 September 2001

Structural Funds: Commission approves assistance of almost EUR 37 million for the development of the French urban area of Grigny/Viry-Chatillon

The European Commission has approved a programme under the Urban Community Initiative for the urban regeneration of the French area of Grigny/Viry-Chatillon. The programme will receive EUR 12.884 million from the European Union plus EUR 24 million from the French Government, local authorities and the private sector, making a total of almost EUR 37 million. The programme aims to develop economic activities and combat unemployment.

The programme for Grigny/Viry-Chatillon has been adopted under the Urban II Community Initiative(1) for the period 2001-06. Announcing the decision, Mr Michel Barnier, Commissioner responsible for regional policy, said: "The Urban Initiative is a creative and innovatory response to the problems of urban regeneration. These programmes are close to the local communities, involving them at all stages of the decision-making process, and the programme for Grigny/Viry Chatillon is no exception. It mobilises local partnerships and will make a substantial contribution to the development of this urban area. The two municipalities concerned have already make a considerable effort to improve these neighbourhoods and the life of their inhabitants."

The area concerned falls within the two municipalities of Grigny and Viry-Chatillon, in the Essonne Department, 25 km to the south of Paris, and covers a population of 37 700 in the four most deprived neighbourhoods of Grande Borne, Grigny II, CILOF and Plateau. These were built in the 1970s to designs that are today generally discredited because of their mono-functional nature (housing only), expressways cutting off districts from each other and the absence of a centre. The result is a marginalised area with a weak economic base, marked by unemployment, especially among women, poverty, exclusion, crime and poor health. The position of children is worrying and local schools have a high failure rate. There is a large foreign population.

However, the area also has real assets, particularly in the areas of the environment (large lakes and green areas) and transport (a good road and railway network).

On the basis of an analysis of the area's strong points and weaknesses, the two municipalities have adopted four priorities for action (in addition to technical assistance):

  • developing economic activity. This involves mobilising local entrepreneurs, giving priority to supporting recently formed companies, encouraging groupings and associations of those active economically and revitalising trade, with a Community contribution of around EUR 2.2 million.

  • promoting access to employment for local people, in particular for women, by providing better childcare facilities, enhancing training for local people and improving information on business needs (Community assistance: almost EUR 3.4 million).

  • promoting access to knowledge and culture, by setting up an innovation and advice centre, organising socio-cultural activities in the local neighbourhoods, providing access to new technologies for all and developing linguistic skills (Community assistance: almost EUR 2.8 million).

  • improving environmental protection and developing the natural and historical heritage. Under this priority, lakes and hillsides will be improved and developed, a footpath along a "green corridor" will link the different neighbourhoods and an ecological centre will be set up to allow waste processing (Community assistance: around EUR 3.6 million).

The Managing Authority for the programme is a groupement d'intérêt public (GIP) (public interest grouping) bringing together the French Government, local authorities, social services and the Consignments and Loans Fund. The economic partners involved and representatives of associations will participate in monitoring the programme.

As with all Urban II programmes, the Grigny/Viry-Chatillon programme will be financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), under the responsibility of Mr Michel Barnier.


The goal of the Urban Community Initiative is the economic and social regeneration of cities and neighbourhoods in crisis in order to promote real urban development. The second round of Urban ("Urban II") covers the period 2001-06, supporting 70 deprived urban areas across the European Union.

Funding from the Community budget will be EUR 728.3 million and this will attract at least as much again from both the public and private sectors.

The total Urban allocation for France amounts to EUR 99.9 million. In addition to Grigny/Viry, the following cities have submitted applications under the Initiative: Clichy-Montfermeil; Le Mantois, Val-de-Seine; Bastia, Le Havre, Strasbourg, Grenoble and Bordeaux.

A particular feature of Urban II is the development of new forms of urban regeneration. Another aspect is a strong emphasis on partnership and on involving local actors. There will also be an exchange of information and experience on sustainable urban development across the European Union.

Funding is available for initiatives such as the renovation of buildings and public spaces, local employment initiatives, the improvement of education and training for disadvantaged groups, the development of environmentally friendly public transport systems, the introduction of more efficient energy management, the use of renewable energy and the development of the potential created by the information society.

The Commission adopts programmes proposed by a partnership bringing together the various local actors. The programmes run for the 2001-06 period and the local actors are involved at all stages in this process.

    Managing Authority:

Groupement d'intérêt Public de Grigny/Viry-Chatillon

Director: Mr Yanick Le Meur

Postal address: GIP/GPV

6, avenue des tuileries

91350 Grigny



    Further information:

More detailed information on the Urban Initiative can be found in MEMO/01/301 of 25 September 2001 or on the following European Commission website:

(1)The Urban II Community Initiative, with a budget of EUR 700 million for the 2001-06 period, aims to encourage integrated economic, social and environmental assistance in 70 deprived European urban areas. It allows local actors to try innovative urban development measures and encourages the dissemination of all the successful measures funded.

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