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Brussels, 25 January 2002

Urban II programme : European Union contributes EUR 5.3 million to urban regeneration in Århus (Denmark)

Michel Barnier, Commissioner responsible for regional policy, has announced the approval by the European Commission of a programme for urban regeneration in the Gellerup, Hasle and Herredsvang area in Århus. This URBAN(1) Community Initiative Programme will provide € 5.3 million from the European Union over the period 2000-2006. The European funding has attracted € 6.6 million in further investment from the public sector and € 0.1 million from the private sector, creating total resources of € 12 million. Priorities will include training, improvements of the business environment and various measures to promote the inclusion of disadvantaged groups, particularly into the labour market.

Announcing the decision, Michel BARNIER said: "The URBAN initiative is a creative and innovative approach to urban regeneration. These programmes have a strong "grassroots" emphasis, involving local people at all stages in the decision making process. The programme for Århus is no exception. It mobilises a strong local partnership and I fully endorse the programme priorities of social inclusion, training and renewing the business infrastructure. I am confident that this programme will make a substantial contribution to urban regeneration in Århus."

The programme area in the district of Århus relates to the neighbourhoods of Gellerup, Hasle and Herredsvang. The selected area covers a population of 20,331 inhabitants. The area is threatened by a high unemployment rate, a low income level, a growing number of immigrants, 'ghettoism', drug abuse and crime. On the other hand, there is an abundance of green areas, a well-organised environmental and public transport system, a strong sense of community and a considerable amount of affordable housing.

The programme aims to tackle this situation by three main priorities:

  • Skills and jobs. Key actions aim at improving the labour market capacity and skills in new technologies (Community contribution: € 1.3 million).

  • Overhaul of social and organisational resources. Key actions include the prevention and reduction of crime and drug abuse as well as the promotion of citizens' involvement (Community contribution: € 1.2 million).

  • Integration through culture and leisure activities. Key actions include the integration of ethnic minorities through leisure and cultural activities as well as the prioritisation of green recreational opportunities (Community contribution: € 2.5 million).

An additional amount of € 0.3 million (Community contribution) will finance technical assistance.

As with all URBAN programmes, this programme will be funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) under the responsibility of Mr Barnier.


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 Århus programme is the sole URBAN II programme in Denmark for the period of 2000-2006.

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). 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.

Managing Authority

The Managing Authority of the programme is the Danish Agency for Trade and Industry :

Danish Agency for Trade and Industry

Centre for Regional Trading Conditions (Mr Preben Gregersen)

Vejlsovej 29

DK - 8600 Silkeborg


Phone:  +45-3546 6000

Fax:  +45-3546 6401

E-mail: (Mr Flemming Jensen)

Further information

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

European Commission :

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

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