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IP/02/78

Brussels, 17 January 2002

Urban II programme: European Union contributes Euro 8.6 million to urban regeneration in Mola di Bari, Italy

Michel Barnier, Commissioner responsible for regional policy, has announced the approval by the European Commission of a programme for urban regeneration in Mola di Bari, Italy. This URBAN(1) Community Initiative Programme will provide € 8.6 million from the European Union over the period 2000-2006. The European funding has attracted € 10.4 million in further investment from the public sector and € 2.8 million from the private sector, creating total resources of € 21.8 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 Mola di Bari 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 Mola di Bari."

The programme covers the urban area of Mola di Bari Council with 26,486 inhabitants and a surface area of 5,072 ha. The area is characterised by three geographically separate historical neighbourhoods, two of them located on the coastline, and the other located halfway up the hill. The districts developed without planning after the Second World War. The district suffers 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).

On the other hand, the area is located close to Bari, a substantial amount of open space along the shoreline is available to be reconverted into green land and the tourism and harbour sector have a significant growth potential.

The programme focuses on the following priorities:

Multiple land use and sustainable redevelopment: Funding is available for the rehabilitation of buildings and open spaces, environmental infrastructures (water purification) as well as for rehabilitation and enhancement of natural and cultural heritage (Community contribution: € 5.2 million).

Entrepreneurship, employment pacts and economic development: Projects will support small and medium-sized enterprises, develop the harbour and tourism sectors and local crafts, create services improving tourism and cultural activities (Community contribution: € 2.1 million).

Social inclusion and social services: The development of the social economy and social services and training to help disadvantaged groups back into the labour market will be financed (Community contribution: € 0.3 million).

Development of the potential of information society technologies: Projects will support services of public interest and for citizens (Community contribution: € 0.4 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, 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.

Managing Authority

The Managing Authority for the Mola di Bari URBAN II Programme is the Town Council of Mola di Bari:

Comune di Mola di Bari

Ufficio Speciale Urban II

Mr Vito Berardi

Via Alcide de Gasperi, 135

I-70042 Mola di Bari (BA)

Phone: +39 - (0) 80 4738207; (0) 80 4738512

Fax: +39 - (0) 80 4738313; (0) 80 4738513

E-mail: comune.mola@libero.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 Mola di Bari: http://www.eostel.it/rcmb/index.htm

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


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