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IP/01/1640

Brussels, 22 November 2001

Urban II programme: European Union contributes 4.2 million EUR for urban regeneration in Graz West, Austria

During a visit to Austria, Mr Michel Barnier, Commissioner responsible for regional policy, today announced the approval by the European Commission of a programme for urban regeneration in Graz West, Austria. This URBAN(1) Community Initiative Programme will provide € 4.2(2) million from the European Union over the period 2000-2006. The European funding has attracted € 12.6 million in further investment from the public sector and about € 3.8 million from the private sector, creating total resources of about € 20.6 million. Priorities will include local development of the information society, urban development and communication projects.

Announcing the decision, Michel BARNIER said: "The URBAN Community Initiative is a creative and innovative approach to urban regeneration. These programmes have a strong "grassroots" emphasis, involving local people at all stages in the decision making process. The programme for the city of Graz is no exception. It mobilises a strong local partnership and I fully endorse the programme priorities of development of the potential of the information society, urban development and communication measures. I am confident that this programme will make a substantial contribution to urban regeneration in the city of Graz."

The programme area covers the western part of the city of Graz (Lend, Gries, Eggenberg, Wetzelsdorf) with a population of 31,930. The area forms part of an industrial area with a narrow and declining economic base. The area is experiencing high unemployment, a high percentage of immigrants, low average level of education, social exclusion, as well as transport-led environmental pressures.

The programme aims to tackle these problems with three main priorities:

  • Development of the potential of the information society. Key actions include the improvement of framework structures, development of human resources, start-up businesses for young entrepreneurs. (Community contribution: € 1.76 million);

  • City quarter development. Key actions include the promotion of urban mobility, recycling of urban areas, improvement of environmental conditions. (Community contribution: € 1.35 million).

  • Communications development. Key actions aim at improving the communication between the city areas and include interactive urban monitoring based on digital information technologies. (Community contribution € 0.73 million)

An additional amount of € 0.36 million will finance technical assistance.

As with all URBAN programmes, this programme will be funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) under the responsibility of Mr Barnier.

URBAN

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 2000-2006, supporting 70 deprived urban areas across the EU. Total funding from the EU alone will be € 743,6 million and this will attract at least as much again in matched funding from both public and private sectors.

The total URBAN allocation for Austria amounts to € 8.4 million. Programmes have been submitted for Vienna and Graz.

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). 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

Stadt Graz

Amt für Stadtentwicklung und Stadterhaltung

Europaplatz 20

A-8020 Graz

Phone: + 43 316 872 4201

Fax:  + 43 316 872 4209

E-mail: urban@stadt.graz.at

Further information

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

European Commission : http://www.inforegio.ec.europa.eu/urban/

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

(2)Programming prices


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