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Brussels, 20 April 2007

Danuta Hübner in Castilla-La Mancha (Spain): Knowledge Society and Sustainable Development for an increased convergence with Europe

Regional policy Commissioner Danuta Hübner is visiting the Spanish central region of Castilla-La Mancha. She met M. José María Barreda, the President of the Regional Government (Junta de Comunidades), and the regional media. The Commissioner meets today the social partners and visits 2 projects co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF): the former convent "Madre de Dios" in the regional capital of Toledo, which has been refurbished to host the Faculty of Law and Social Sciences of the Regional University, and research projects that are being implemented in the European Business and Innovation Centre of Talavera de la Reina.

The Commissioner said: "Castilla-La Mancha has proved solid management of Structural and Cohesion Funds and increased convergence in the last years. I congratulate the good use of European funding in Castilla-La Mancha so far, which is an excellent basis for the new programming period". During which I hope full convergence will be reached through research, technology and in particular innovation as well as sustainable development

Mrs Hübner had yesterday a working meeting with the President of the Junta de Comunidades and several members of his Executive and will also meet today the leaders of the regional social and economic partners.

The visit to the Faculty of Law and Social Sciences will give her first hand information on the developments of the young regional University and show how history and culture can be kept by targeting modern education. The refurbishing and the equipment of the "Madre de Dios" building benefited from ERDF funding in the 2000-2006 period.

Commissioner Hübner will also be informed about technological research that is taking place in the European Business and Innovation Centre of Talavera de la Reina, were the ERDF has contributed to the financing of projects as well as to the equipment of the Centre. Research (BIC) in Talavera will receive ERDF funding under the 2007-2013 programme.


Castilla-La Mancha has a total population of 1.9 million inhabitants (4.3 % of Spain) and an extension of approx. 80,000 sq. km. (15.7%). The region is located in the centre of the country and has very encouraging clusters in the fields of agroindustry, some industrial traditional sectors like textile, wood and shoes, as well as renewable energies. Experiences in e-health and promotion of its young University have also proved to be very encouraging. Castilla-La Mancha is nevertheless more dependent on the primary sector than the Spanish average and performances on research, technology and mainly innovation and information society are below the national average.

The region has always been an Objective 1 beneficiary since 1986 and has kept a Convergence objective status for the 2007-2013 period; income per head figures of the last years have proved nevertheless convergent with the European average.

For the 2000-2006 period, Castilla-La Mancha received approximately € 3.3 billion (8%) of the total allocation under Structural and Cohesion Funds for Spain. For the 2007-2013 period, Spain will be the second beneficiary of Funds with a total allocation of € 35.217 billion, around a tenth of the total EU-27 assistance. Regional Convergence Objective areas will receive € 22.637 billion, whereas € 8.478 billion will be available for the Regional Competitiveness and Employment objective and another € 559 million under the European Territorial Cooperation (ETC) objective. The Cohesion Fund will have an allocation of € 3.543 billion.

The Spanish NSRF (National Strategic Reference Framework) was submitted to the Commission on 8 February 2007. It proposes 19 regional Operational Programmes (OP) funded by the ERDF and the same number of regional interventions cofinanced by the European Social Fund (ESF). Three ERDF national OP, three ESF national OP, one ERDF-Cohesion Fund OP as well as several OP for the ETC Objective will also be implemented.

Over the period 2007-2013, the EU will make available about € 350 billion (in current prices) from its Structural Funds and instruments, which is equal to 35% of the Community budget.

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