Brussels, 12 December 2001
Urban II Programme: the European Union contributes EUR 7 million to the urban development of Sambreville
Mr Michel Barnier, the Member of the Commission responsible for regional policy, announced approval by the European Commission of an urban regeneration programme for Sambreville. This programme, under the Urban Community Initiative(1) includes part-financing worth €7 million by the European Union for the period 2000-06. A further contribution by the public sector of €9 million will bring the total to €16 million. Priorities include training, improving the physical environment and a number of measures to promote the integration of disadvantaged groups, in particular into the labour market.
Announcing this decision, Mr Barnier remarked that Urban programmes allowed a creative and innovative approach to urban regeneration while mobilising a local partnership at all the levels of the decision-making process. He completely approved the priorities of the programme, namely social integration, training and the renewal of the commercial infrastructure and the physical environment, and was convinced that this programme would make a substantial contribution to urban regeneration in Sambreville.
The programme for Sambreville concerns the whole municipality, a total of 27 197 people. The features of this area are a high urban density and an unattractive environment. Its economic and social situation is marked by high unemployment (20%), particularly among women (25%) and young people (39%), a rising crime rate and a sizeable immigrant population.
However, the area also has genuine assets for use in development, in particular accessibility and direct links to motorway and rail networks and to ports, the presence of several large firms, a dense network of cooperative bodies and sites of architectural and historical importance.
The programme will tackle these problems through four main priorities.
Economic conversion and local economic development
This involves creating networks of companies, stimulating the use of new information and communications technology by small firms and planning and improving infrastructure for business (€5.5 million).
Developing human resources and improving skills
This priority covers training for those both in and out of employment and the integration of young people into working life (€3.2 million).
Social revitalisation of the city and neighbourhood
This involves coordinating and expanding services for marginalised groups and checking drug-addiction and crime to reduce the feeling of insecurity among inhabitants (€2.4 million).
Improving living conditions and the urban environment
This involves improvements to roads and public spaces (€4.3 million)
An additional €900 000 will provide finance for technical assistance.
Like all the Urban programmes, this programme will be financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), under Mr Barnier's responsibility.
The Urban Community Initiative aims to foster "the economic and social regeneration of cities and of urban neighbourhoods in crisis with a view to promoting a sustainable development". The second cycle of Urban ("Urban II") will cover the period 2000-06 and provide assistance to 70 disadvantaged urban areas throughout the EU. Total financing by the EU alone will total €728.3 million and this should attract resources of at least an equal amount from the public and private sectors.
Urban II has specific features. It includes innovative models for urban regeneration and stresses partnership and the participation of local people. Exchanges of information and of experiments in sustainable urban development will also take place throughout the European Union.
Urban II is financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Funds will be available for initiatives such as the modernisation of buildings and public spaces, local initiatives as regards employment, the improvement of education services and training for disadvantaged groups, the development of environmentally-friendly public transport systems and the introduction of more effective systems of managing energy and using renewable energy. This also involves harnessing the development potential of the information society technologies.
The Commission adopts the programmes through a partnership which includes local groups and authorities. These programmes cover the whole period 2000-06 and local people are involved at all the stages of the process.
The managing authority is the Sambreville council. Day-to day management is the responsibility of:
Mr Michel Faless - Philippe Lhomme
B - 5060 Auvelais
Tel. (+ 32).071.260.341
Fax. (+ 32).071.260.306
For more information, please consult MEMO/01/301 of 25 September 2001 or the following sites:
The European Commission: http://www.inforegio.ec.europa.eu/urban/
The Sambreville Urban programme: http://www.urbansambreville.be
(1)See the description of Urban II below.