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IP/02/72

Brussels, 17 January 2002

Urban II programme: European Union contributes Euro 8.8 million to urban regeneration in Carrara, Italy

Michel Barnier, Commissioner responsible for regional policy, has announced the approval by the European Commission of a programme for urban regeneration in Carrara - Italy. This URBAN(1) Community Initiative Programme will provide € 8.8 million from the European Union over the period 2000-2006. The European funding has attracted € 18.3 million in further investment from the public sector creating total resources of € 27.1 million. Priorities will include training, improvements of the natural environment, improvements to the business environment and various measures to promote the inclusion of disadvantaged groups, particularly in the labour market.

Announcing the decision, Michel BARNIER said: "URBAN programmes are characterised by their 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 Carrara 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 and the physical environment. I am confident that this programme will make a substantial contribution to urban regeneration in Carrara."

The programme covers a surface area of 28 km2 with 34,635 inhabitants along the Carrione River. It includes the historical centre of Carrara, various neighbourhoods along the river (named "paesi a monte") and Carrara Avenza, which is a neighbourhood of Carrara having been developed in the 19th century and after the Second World War. The area is suffering from severe social and economic problems: unemployment (industrial crisis of the late '80), social problems (poverty and exclusion, elderly population), decaying buildings and public spaces and environmental damage (lorries carrying marble crossing the urban area regularly) characterise the situation.

Despite the decline of the economic activity of marble manufacturing, the extraction and commercialisation of marble have a significant growth potential and there is a high know-how in the marble sector. Carrara hosts buildings and landmarks of significant value and the tourism sector could be developed further. In addition, Carrara has various cultural and environmental associations and an active network of local actors.

The programme focuses on the following priorities:

Multiple land use and environmentally friendly redevelopment to improve the urban environment: rehabilitation of open spaces and infrastructures for an environmentally friendly urban transport (Community contribution: € 4.2 million).

Entrepreneurship, promotion of tourism and the cultural sector: key actions include sustaining crafts, trade and cultural sectors, rehabilitation of the cultural heritage and measures to promote the cultural and tourism sector (Community contribution: € 3.4 million).

Development of an anti-exclusion and anti-discrimination strategy: key actions include the promotion of community services, equal opportunities projects, social inclusion and measures to help disadvantaged groups back into the labour market (Community contribution: € 0.6 million).

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.

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 allocation for Italy amounts to € 114.8 million. Programmes have been submitted for Torino, Milan, Genova, Carrara, Pescara, Caserta, Taranto, Mola di Bari, Crotone and Misterbianco.

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 for the Carrara URBAN II Programme is the Town Council of Carrara:

Comune di Carrara

Settore Organizzazione Amministrativa e Servizi Demografici

Mr Lino Buselli

Piazza 2 Giugno

54033 Carrara (MS)

Phone. 0039 (0) 585 641216

E-mail: sabinabruschi@comune.carrara.ms.it

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 websites:

European Commission : http://www.inforegio.ec.europa.eu/urban/

Government Office: http://www.infrastrutturetrasporti.it

The city of Carrara: http://www.comune.carrara.ms.it

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


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