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Brussels, 23 January 2002

Urban II Programme: EU grants assistance worth 12.9 million Euro for development of French urban area of Le Mantois

European Regional Policy Commissioner Michel Barnier has announced Commission approval of a programme for the French urban area of Le Mantois for 2000-06. Adopted under the Urban II Community Initiative,(1) the programme will provide an EU contribution of nearly €13 million.(2) Together with contributions of over €25 million from the Member State, local authorities and the private sector, this will put total assistance at almost €38 million.

Announcing the decision, Mr Barnier said that the Urban Initiative proposed a creative and innovative approach to urban renewal. Its programmes were strongly anchored in the localities, involving the inhabitants and those active locally at all stages of the decision-making process. The programme for Le Mantois, which mobilised a strong local partnership, was no exception in this respect. The priorities it set in terms of economic development, the cultural heritage and the natural environment, equal opportunities and social conditions and the improvement of neighbourhood public areas were, he felt, especially worthwhile. The Commission expected the programme to make a substantial contribution to the development of the urban area concerned.

The urban area covered by the programme lies in the two communes of Mantes-la-Jolie and Mantes-la-Ville, about 50 km west of Paris in the department of Yvelines, and has a population 29 504. It is the result of urban growth in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s that followed in the wake of industrial development in the Seine valley and large-scale building of low-cost worker housing. These neighbourhoods underwent a sharp fall in prosperity after the downturn in the economic situation in the 1970s.

The programme seeks to overcome these problems by laying down four main priorities:

  • Ensuring urban regeneration through economic development by encouraging a mix of economic activities and upgrading an industrial estate in La Vaucouleurs (Community contribution: over €2.5 million);

  • Developing neighbourhoods' access to cultural and natural heritage by turning to account the environmental and tourist assets of the green belt and providing assistance for local initiatives to improve the opportunities available to the inhabitants through sport, culture and enjoyment of the environment (Community contribution: nearly €4.6 million);

  • Improving the equal opportunities situation and social conditions for the inhabitants through neighbourhood social centres and a special social-integration programme (Community contribution: €2.45 million);

  • Support for upgrading and improving management of neighbourhood urban areas (Community contribution: €2.7 million).

Extra funds of over €0.6 million has been set aside for technical assistance.

As in the case of all Urban II programmes, the programme for Le Mantois will be financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), under the responsibility of Mr Barnier.

Urban II

The aim of the Urban Community Initiative is "the 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") covers the period 2001-06 and will support 70 deprived urban areas across the European Union. The total Community contribution will be €728.3 million and this will attract at least as much again from the public and private sectors.

The total contribution for France under Urban is €102 million. Nine programmes were submitted for Bastia, Bordeaux/Cenon/Floirac, Grigny/Viry-Chatillon, Clichy-sous-Bois/Montfermeil, Le Mantois, Val de Seine, Le Havre, Strasbourg and Grenoble.

Particular features of Urban II are the development of innovative urban-regeneration models and an emphasis on partnership and on involving local players. There will also be an exchange of information and experience on sustainable urban development in the European Union.

Urban II is financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The contributions are targeted at initiatives such as the renovation of buildings and public areas, employment initiatives, the improvement of education and training for the most disadvantaged groups, the development of environmentally friendly public transport systems, the introduction of more efficient management systems, the use of renewable energy and the development of the potential created by information and communications technologies.

The Commission adopts programmes proposed by the local authorities. Such programmes cover the whole period 2001-06 and local players will be involved at all stages.

Managing Authority

The Managing Authority for this programme is Mr Jean-Luc Poidevin, Director-General of the Etablissement public pour l'aménagement du Mantois Seine Aval.

Local contact:

Philippe de Castilla

Etablissement public pour l'aménagement du Mantois (EPAMSA)

Tel.: + 33 1.39 29 21 21.


Further information

For further information on the Urban II Community Initiative, consult Memo/01/301 of 25 September 2001 and the European Commission's Inforegio website:

(1)See description of the Urban II Community Initiative below.

(2)At prices obtaining at the time the programme was drawn up.

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