Brussels, 25 October 2001
Urban II - EUR 12 million aid package for Bastia, Corsica (France)
The European Commission has approved aid worth EUR 12 million for regeneration projects in two neighbouring districts of the town of Bastia in Corsica (France). The funding will be granted under the Urban II Community Initiative(1), which covers the 2000-06 period. Boosted by close to EUR 19 million of finance from other sources - the French Government, local authorities and the private sector - the total package will touch EUR 31 million.
"The Urban Initiative takes a creative, innovative approach to urban regeneration," said Michel Barnier, Commissioner for regional policy, presenting the decision. "Its programmes are solidly grounded in local areas, with residents and local organisations involved in decision-making every step of the way. This is certainly true of the Bastia programme, which is based on a particularly strong local partnership. It has developed a particularly promising set of priorities for improving quality of life and the urban environment, regenerating and stimulating economic activity and promoting equal opportunities and occupational integration. The Commission expects this programme to make a substantial contribution to development in this part of the city.
Affecting more than 20 000 inhabitants, the programme centres on the old town and the southern districts of Bastia. Hastily erected in the 1960s in response to the baby-boom and the return of French expatriates from Algeria and never really finished adequately, the southern parts of the city are already showing clear signs of decay. New development has not been kind to the old centre, and the original residents have moved out to more desirable locations, leaving behind a proportion of buildings close to becoming inhabitable.
The programme will tackle these problems via three basic strategies:
An additional amount of almost EUR 0.6 million has been provided for technical assistance measures.
As with all Urban II programmes, the Bastia programme is financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), under the direction of Mr Barnier.
The aim of the Urban Community Initiative is "the economic and social regeneration of cities and neighbourhoods in crisis in order to promote sustainable urban development". The second round of Urban programmes (Urban II) will span the 2001-06 period, providing financial support for some 70 deprived urban areas across the EU. Altogether the Community will provide EUR 728.3 million worth of financing, which will attract at least as much again in matching funds from the public and private sectors.
ERDF funding for France is set to total some EUR 102 million(2). In all, nine programmes were submitted from French cities: Bastia, Bordeaux / Cenon / Floirac, Grigny / Viry-Chatillon, Clichy-sous-Bois / Montfermeil, le Mantois, le Val de Seine, Le Havre, Strasbourg and Grenoble.
Urban II is notable for its emphasis on innovative models of urban regeneration, partnership and the involvement of local interests. It also provides a forum for cities within the Union to pool information and share their experiences in the fields of sustainable urban development.
Urban II financing concentrates on a range of measures, including renovating buildings and public areas, job-creation schemes, improving education and training provision for the most marginalised groups, developing environmentally-friendly public transport networks, introducing more efficient management systems, expanding the use of renewable energy and developing the potential created by information and telecommunications technologies.
The Initiative works by the Commission adopting programmes submitted to it by local authorities. The successful programmes are then implemented throughout the 2001-06 period, with local bodies involved in implementation at all stages.
The managing authority for this programme will be the mayor of Bastia, Mr Zuccarelli.
Further information on the Bastia Urban II programme can be obtained from the following sources:
Further information on the Urban II Community Initiative can be found in Memo/01/301 of 25 September 2001 or on the Commission's Inforegio website: http://www.inforegio.ec.europa.eu/urban/
(1) For a description of the Urban II Community Initiative, see below.
(2) 2001 prices.