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Brussels, 18 October 2001

Urban II programme : European Union contributes EURO 14.9 million for urban regeneration in Berlin (Lichtenberg and Friedrichshain), Germany

The European Commission has approved a programme for urban regeneration in the urban districts of Lichtenberg and Friedrichshain in Berlin, Germany. This URBAN(1) Community Initiative Programme will provide € 14.9(2) million from the European Union over the period 2001-2006. The European funding has attracted about € 4.7 million in further investment from the public sector, as well as € 0.2 million in private co-financing, creating total resources of about € 19.8 million. Programme priorities will include strengthening of the local economy and job creation, stimulating equal opportunities and social integration, working towards a sustainable living environment, increasing the attractiveness of the area, and preserving cultural and historical sites.

Announcing the decision, Michel BARNIER, Member of the European Commission responsible for regional policy, said: "The URBAN Community Initiative is a creative and innovative approach to urban regeneration. These programmes have a strong "grassroots" emphasis, involving local people and organisations at all stages in the decision making process. The programme for the districts of Lichtenberg and Friedrichshain in the city of Berlin is no exception. It mobilises a strong local partnership and I fully endorse the programme's priorities for local development. I am confident that this programme will make a substantial contribution to urban regeneration in this part of the city of Berlin."

The programme area covers parts of the districts of Lichtenberg and Friedrichshain in the southeastern part of the city of Berlin with a total eligible population of 30,000 inhabitants. Shunting yards and other railway facilities cover more than 20% of the URBAN II area and geographically split it in half. Until 1990 the area in question was characterised by the predominant presence of manufacturing industries employing over 20,000 people. The 1999 unemployment rate in Friedrichshain (15,3%) and Lichtenberg (16,6%) was more than 50 % above the national average (10,2%).

In order to address these problems, the programme focuses on three priorities:

  • Economy and labour market (Community contribution € 3.4 million),

  • Urban planning and environment (Community contribution € 3.5 million),

  • Diminishing social, ethnic, cultural and communication barriers (Community contribution € 6.9 million).

A Community contribution of € 1,0 million will be reserved for technical assistance.

The planning of actions is characterised by a bottom-up approach, involving the local inhabitants and other actors. Themes such as equal opportunities, information society and protecting the environment will receive particular attention, allowing for implementation of innovative strategies and pilot-projects, as well as improvements in governance. Small businesses will also get special attention. The "Green Belt"-network for example aims to connect isolated public green spaces. The refurbishment of the "Max Taut" school auditorium will receive about 40% of the available funding. It will serve both as a centre for cultural events and as a meeting point for the local inhabitants.

The URBAN II Community Initiative

The goal of the URBAN Community Initiative is "economic and social regeneration of cities and of neighbourhoods in crisis in order to promote sustainable urban development". The second round of URBAN ("URBAN II") will cover the period 2001-2006, supporting 70 deprived urban areas across the EU. Total funding from the EU alone will be € 743,6 million(3) and this will attract at least as much again in matched funding from both public and private sectors.

The total URBAN II allocation for Germany amounts to € 148.7 million(4). Programmes have been submitted for Berlin, Bremerhaven, Dessau, Dortmund, Gera, Kassel, Kiel, Leipzig, Luckenwalde, Mannheim/Ludwigshafen, Neubrandenburg and Saarbrücken.

A particular feature of URBAN II is the development of innovative models for urban regeneration. Another feature 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.

URBAN II is financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), which falls under the responsibility of Mr Barnier. Funding is available for initiatives such as the renovation of buildings and public spaces, local employment initiatives, the improvement of education and training systems for disadvantaged groups, the development of environmentally friendly public transport systems, the introduction of more efficient energy management systems and the use of renewable energy, developing the potential created by information society technologies.

The Commission adopts programmes which are proposed by a partnership including local and community groups. These programmes run for the whole of the period 2001-2006 and local actors are involved at all stages in this process.

Managing Authority

Senatsverwaltung für Wirtschaft und Technologie

Martin-Luther-Str. 105

D-10820 Berlin

Referat II C

Dr. Jürgen Varnhorn

Phone: ++49/30/9013-8270

Fax: ++49/30/9013-7490


    Further information

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

(1) See below for a description of URBAN II.

(2) Programming prices

(3) New profile 2003 prices

(4) New profile 2003 prices

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