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IP/02/77

Brussels, 17 January 2002

Urban II programme: European Union contributes Euro 15 million to urban regeneration in Misterbianco, Italy

Michel Barnier, Commissioner responsible for regional policy, has announced the approval by the European Commission of a programme for urban regeneration in the north west suburban areas of Misterbianco, 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, creating total resources of € 25 million. Priorities will include improvements of the natural 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 Misterbianco 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 Misterbianco."

The programme covers the urban area of Misterbianco Council with 45.608 inhabitants and a surface area of 8.42 km2. The area is suffering from severe social and economic problems: high long term unemployment, crime, decaying buildings and public spaces, environmental damage, lack of all kind of infrastructures (water, electricity, refuse collection, sewerage, roads). Most of the urban area developed without planning.

The situation is characterised by four geographically separate neighbourhoods, one historical and the others developed after the Second World War. The space among the districts could be developed into green land and decrease environmental problems.

On the other hand, the area is strategically located close to Catania.

The programme focuses on the following priorities:

Mixed-use and environmentally friendly brownfield redevelopment: Funding is available for the rehabilitation of buildings and open spaces, rehabilitation and enhancement of urban mobility networks (Community contribution: € 2.3 million).

Natural environment and transport: The focus is on environmental infrastructures (water purification, refuse collection) and improvements of the public transport sector (Community contribution: € 2.5 million).

Infrastructures for social cohesion: Measures will be financed to develop the social economy, to sustain social services and to create recreational spaces (Community contribution: € 5.3 million).

Services for Entrepreneurship and local employment: Projects will be funded, which support integrated services for small and medium-sized enterprises, local crafts and training to help disadvantages groups back into the labour market (Community contribution: € 4 million).

An additional amount of € 0.9 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, 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 space, 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 Misterbianco URBAN II Programme is the Town Council of Misterbianco

Comune di Misterbianco

Ufficio Unico Urban

Dr Rino di Guardo

Via S. Antonio Abate, 3

95045 Misterbianco

Phone: +39 (0) 95 302078

Fax: 0039 (0) 95 302221

E-mail: misterbianco@urban2.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 Misterbianco : http://www.misterbianco.net (under construction)

         http://www.urban2.it (under construction).

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


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