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IP/01/1718

Brussels, 3 December 2001

Urban II programme: European Union approves EUR 14.9 million support for urban regeneration in Luckenwalde, Germany

During his visit in Luckenwalde today, Mr Michel Barnier, member of the European Commission, responsible for regional policy, has announced the approval by the European Commission of a programme for urban regeneration in Luckenwalde, Germany. This URBAN(1) Community Initiative Programme will provide about € 14.8 million from the European Union over the period 2000-2006. The European funding has attracted about € 5 million in further investment from the public sector, creating total resources of € 19.8 million. Priorities will include support for new economic activities and job creation, improvement of the urban infrastructure and fabric as well as of the environment and measures against social exclusion.

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 Luckenwalde is no exception. It mobilises a strong local partnership and I fully endorse the programme priorities. I am confident that this programme will make a substantial contribution to urban regeneration in the city of Luckenwalde."

The programme area covers the whole city of Luckenwalde with a population of 22,500. The area forms part of a mixed industrial zone dating from the end of the 19th century as well as including buildings of historic importance dating from the Middle Age. Since German reunification, the city has been facing radical changes and strong social and economic problems: decline of population, structural weaknesses in the local economy, derelict industrial areas, outdated building structures, high unemployment, low average education levels and environmental damage.

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

  • Economic development and employment. Projects aim to strengthen small and medium-sized enterprises (Community contribution: 6,8 million €);

  • Combatting social exclusion. Funding is available for the renewal of cultural heritage, promotion of cultural activities and reintegration of excluded groups (Community contribution: 1,7 million €);

  • Infrastructure, urban development and environmental protection. Development of derelict areas and of the city centre will receive funding under this priority (Community contribution: 5,3 million €).

An additional amount of about € 1.0 million (Community contribution) will finance technical assistance.

The programme has some very innovative features, for example: the development of a multifunctional industrial centre, the renovation of the former hat factory of E. Mendelsohn (a cultural heritage and industrial monument), setting-up of an active museum with information about the social and economic life of local people with different cultural backgrounds, education and training projects - mainly in the field of biotechnology and in co-operation with the biotechnology-park in Luckenwalde, the programme "1000 trees" and a network to combine train, cycling and roller skating, called "Rail-Ride-Roll".

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 € 728.3 million and this will attract at least as much again in matched funding from both public and private sectors.

The total URBAN allocation for Germany amounts to € 145.7 million. 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). 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 2000-2006 and local actors are involved at all stages in this process.

Managing Authority

Ministerium für Finanzen des Landes Brandenburg, Referat 22

Steinstr. 104-106

D-14480 Potsdam

Phone: + 49 331 866 6710

Fax :  + 49 331 866 6810

e-mail: alexandra.schubert@mdf.brandenburg.de

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.


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