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IP/02/131

Brussels, 24 January 2002

Urban II programme: European Union contributes EUR 8 million to urban regeneration in Komotini, Greece

Michel Barnier, Commissioner responsible for regional policy, has announced the approval by the European Commission of a programme for urban regeneration in the Komotini area in Greece. This URBAN(1) II Community Initiative Programme will provide about € 8 million from the European Union over the period 2000-2006. The European funding has attracted about € 2.67 million from the public sector while approximately € 1.73 million are expected from the private sector, creating a total investment of about € 12.39 million. Programme priorities will include improving the quality of urban infrastructure and spatial planning, supporting the local economy, preventing social exclusion, and supporting local inhabitants' networks.

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 and organisations at all stages in the decision making process. The URBAN II programme for the city of Komotini is no exception. It mobilises a strong local partnership and I fully endorse the programme's priorities for local development. I am confident that this programme will make a substantial contribution to urban regeneration in Komotini."

The programme's interventions are located in a zone of 180 hectares, with 20,000 inhabitants. The city has a diverse multi-cultural and multi-religious population. The programme area is characterised by a degraded urban environment, long-term unemployment, poverty and exclusion. Special needs arise for a significant number of immigrants and religious minority groups, and problems include a low educational level, lack of skills and a high rate of pupils leaving school without certificates.

The objectives set for sustainable economic and social revival of the district are related to the socio-economic inclusion of Muslims, Gypsies and repatriated immigrants, the improvement of the urban environment and the citizens' quality of life, the stimulation of the local economy, the improvement of the workforce's skills, equal opportunities for socially excluded groups and the improvement of the town's competitiveness.

The programme is developed on the basis of 4 priority axes:

  • Multifunctional and ecological urban regeneration. Projects focus on interventions for the benefit of the existing urban environment and ecological enrichment of urban spaces (Community contribution: € 2.75 million).

  • Entrepreneurship encouragement. Actions aim at stimulating the local economy and the creation of jobs in the area (Community contribution: € 1.07 million).

  • Society of citizens. Measures and projects will reinforce the town's infrastructure and improve living conditions for the citizens by modernising the services of the Komotini municipality (Community contribution: € 2.91 million).

  • IT networking. New approaches and technologies focus on better use of information technologies and jobs creation (Community contribution: € 0.64 million).

An additional amount of € 0.63 million (Community contribution) will finance technical assistance.

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 II allocation for Greece amounts to € 25.5 million. Programmes have been submitted for Perama, Komotini and Iraklion.

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), which falls under the responsibility of Mr Barnier. 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.

Management authority

Ministry for the Environment, Physical Planning and Public Works

Management Authority for URBAN II Community Initiative

87 Mihalakopoulou Street

GR-11527 ATHENS

Phone: +30 (0) 1 / 6433829

Fax : +30 (0) 1 / 6458690

E-Mail : k.manola@dxor.minenv.gr

Further information

More detailed information on URBAN II can be found in MEMO/01/301 of 25 September 2001 or at the following European Commission website :

http://www.inforegio.ec.europa.eu/wbpro/PRORD/prordc/prordc18_en.htm

(1) See below for a description of URBAN II.


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