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Brussels, 23 January 2002

Urban II Programme: EU grants assistance worth 11.8 million Euro for development of French urban area of Val de Seine

European Regional Policy Commissioner Michel Barnier has announced Commission approval of a programme for the French urban area of Val de Seine for 2000-06. Adopted under the Urban II Community Initiative,(1) the programme will provide an EU contribution of nearly €12 million.(2) Together with contributions of more than €18 million from the Member State, local authorities and the private sector, this will bring the total assistance to over €30 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 Val de Seine programme, which mobilised a strong local partnership, was no exception in this respect. The priorities it sent in terms of improving the living environment, enhancing employability and promoting economic development 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 Mureaux and Ecquevilly. 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. Cut off from the town centres, the neighbourhoods now suffer from a lack of access. Plagued by unemployment, poverty and insecurity, the inhabitants are beset with increasing problems concerning social integration.

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

  • Improving the living environment by upgrading areas between buildings and improving access; this will involve light transport links and upgrading of public areas (Community contribution: nearly €1.7 million);

  • Measures to help boost employability and introduction of innovative and alternative training in field of health education, neighbourhood facilities for early-childhood and childhood care, setting-up of a "centre for languages", introduction of facilities for public access to NICTs, and alternative, innovative training schemes (Community contribution: nearly €4.2 million);

  • Economic development and new services involving support for development of SMEs/SMIs, trade and craft trades, support for business start-ups by providing suitable buildings and development of estates offering new services (Community contribution: over €5 million).

An extra €0.9 million has been set aside for technical assistance.

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


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 the Prefect of the Ile-de-France Region, Mr Jean-Pierre Duport.

Mr Jacquet, Préfet, Secrétaire général de la Préfecture de Région Ile-de-France

Tel.: + 33 1 44 42 60 20

Further information

For further information on the Urban II Community Initiative, consult Memol/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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