Brussels, 12 December 2001
Urban II Programme: the European Union contributes EURO 9.66 million to the development of the urban area of Bordeaux/Cenon/Floirac (France)
Mr Michel Barnier, the Member of the Commission responsible for regional policy, has announced approval by the European Commission of a programme for the urban area of Bordeaux/Cenon/Floirac (France) for the period 2000-06. This programme, adopted under the Urban Community Initiative(1) includes a contribution of almost €10 million by the European Union. Other contributions from national and local government and the private sector totalling over €16 million will bring total assistance to over €26 million.
Announcing this decision, Mr Barnier remarked that Urban programmes allowed a creative and innovative approach to urban regeneration while remaining firmly rooted in the local situation, involving local people and economic operators at all stages of decision-taking. This was true of the Bordeaux/Cenon/Floirac programme, which was based on a strong local partnership. He regarded its priorities for the improvement and development of an urban area, the development of economic potential and greater social integration as particularly interesting. The Commission expected this programme to make a substantial contribution to the development of this urban area.
The programme includes an area on both sides of the Garonne which it seeks to turn into a genuine urban centre for Bordeaux. The left bank is part of the historic centre of Bordeaux while the right, the municipalities of Cenon and Floirac, is only partially urbanised. The population there is stagnant with a lot of vacant accommodation, high unemployment (between 18% and 30%), worrying levels of poverty and social exclusion and a growing feeling of insecurity. It is suffering from the dividing effect of infrastructure (the railway line) and has a large foreign population.
The programme has three main priorities.
The Community will provide a further almost €1 million as a reserve for technical assistance.
Like all the Urban programmes, the Bordeaux/Cenon/Floirac 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.
Total ERDF funds for France amount to €102 million. Nine programmes have been submitted, for Bastia, Bordeaux/Cenon/Floirac, Grigny/Viry-Chatillon, Clichy-sous-Bois/Montfermeil, le Mantois, le Val de Seine, Le Havre, Strasbourg and Grenoble.
One feature of Urban II is the development of innovative models for urban regeneration and its stress on the 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 prefect of the region of Aquitaine, Mr Christian Fremont.
For more information on the Bordeaux/Cenon/Floirac Urban II programme, the following may be contacted:
Mr Maurice Tubul, responsible for European matters in the regional Prefecture
Tel: + 05 56 90 65 03
Mr Serge Rodriguez, Urban correspondent in SGAR (regional Prefecture)
Tel: + 05 56 90 65 26
For further information on the Urban Community Initiative, please consult memo/01/301 of 25 September 2001 or the Commission's Inforegio site:
(1)See the description of Urban II below.