Brussels, 14 January 2002
Urban II programme: European Union contributes Euro 9.8 million to urban regeneration in the city of Ourense, Spain
Michel Barnier, Commissioner responsible for regional policy, has announced the approval by the European Commission of a programme for urban regeneration in the city of Ourense in Galicia (Spain). This URBAN(1) Community Initiative Programme will provide € 9.8 million from the European Union over the period 2000-2006. The European funding has attracted € 3.2 million in further investment from the public sector, creating total resources of € 13 million. Priorities will include the promotion of new technologies, improvement of the business environment, inclusion of disadvantaged groups into the labour market and improvement of the urban environment .
Announcing the decision, Michel BARNIER said: "The URBAN programme 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 Ourense 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 Ourense."
The programme covers the historical centre of Ourense with a population of 11,558. This area is characterised by problems of on-going depopulation, a deteriorating urban environment and problems of social and economic exclusion.
The programme aims to tackle these problems by five main priorities:
An additional amount of € 0.6 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 total URBAN allocation for Spain amounts to € 110.3 million. Programmes have also been submitted for Cáceres, Gijón, Granada, Jaén, Pamplona, Sant Adrià del Besós, San Sebastian-Pasajes, San Cristóbal de la Laguna and Teruel.
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.
Ministry of Finance
Secretaría de Estado de Presupuesto y Gasto
Dirección General de Fondos Comunitarios y Financiación Territorial
Paseo de la Castellana, 162
Phone: ++34 915834917
Fax: ++34 915835272
More detailed information on URBAN II can be found in MEMO/01/301 of 25 September 2001 or at the following website:
European Commission : http://www.inforegio.ec.europa.eu/urban/
(1) See below for a description of URBAN II.