Brussels, 17 January 2002
Urban II programme: European Union contributes Euro 15 million to urban regeneration in Caserta, Italy
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 Caserta - Italy. This URBAN(1) Community Initiative Programme will provide € 15 million from the European Union over the period 2000-2006. The European funding has attracted € 10 million in further investment from the public sector, and € 4.2 million from the private sector, creating total resources of € 29.2 million. Priorities will include training, improvements of the physical and the business environment and various measures to promote the inclusion of disadvantaged groups, particularly into 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 Caserta 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 Caserta."
The programme covers a surface area of 3.37 km2 with 23,386 inhabitants. It includes historical hamlets, a 19th and 20th century neighbourhood, council houses and former industrial sites. The area is facing severe social and economic problems: derelict industrial areas, unemployment, crime, poverty, lack of equal opportunities, decaying buildings and public spaces, deteriorating high-rise social housing blocks and environmental damage characterise the situation.
On the other hand, there are green and open spaces (historical hamlets and the Villa of Caserta) and the tourism and cultural sector have significant growth potential.
The programme focuses on the following priorities:
Mixed land use, environmentally friendly redevelopment to improve the urban environment: rehabilitation of buildings and historical road system, conservation of cultural heritage, integrated transport measures (Community contribution: € 6.4 million).
Entrepreneurship and employment pacts: support to local economy, SME and social economy (Community contribution: € 3.1 million)
Social inclusion and social services: support and training to immigrants, creating organisations supporting social integration, helping disadvantaged groups back into the labour market and promoting equal opportunities. (Community contribution: € 1.2 million).
Natural resource management and improvement: natural environment improvement (differentiated refuse collection) and creating a natural environment management system. (Community contribution: € 2.6 million).
An additional amount of € 1.7 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 Italy amounts to € 114.8 million. Programmes have been submitted for Torino, Milan, Genoa, 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.
The Managing Authority for the Caserta URBAN II Programme is the Town Council of Caserta:
Comune di Caserta
Settore VI Assetto del territorio e cultura urbana
Dr Alfredo Messore
Phone: +39 0823 273250
Fax +39 0923 273294
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 Caserta : http://www.comune.caserta.it
(1) See below for a description of URBAN II.