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Brussels, 16 December 2008

Danuta Hübner praises EU's 'smart' investment in Scotland

Danuta Hübner, European Commissioner for regional policy, visits Scotland tomorrow where she will hold talks with First Minister Alex Salmond on the European Economic Recovery Plan and visit regeneration and educational projects which have received funding through the EU's Cohesion Policy. She will also meet representatives from Glasgow City Council and deliver a keynote address on better governance at the Institut Français in Edinburgh.

Speaking ahead of her visit, Commissioner Hübner said: "I am pleased to have an opportunity to see the extremely creative and constructive use of EU funds in Scotland. I am encouraged that the new Cohesion Policy programmes, which target 'smart' investment in areas such as innovation and renewable energies, will help Scotland address the global economic slowdown. The Commission's European Economic Recovery Plan recovery plan will accelerate structural funds' payments and simplify procedures to speed-up project implementation."

EU invests in R&D and business growth

The EU is investing in two programmes in Scotland through its European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) between 2007 and 2013 (see MEMO/08/235 and MEMO/08/239). In the Lowlands and Uplands, the funding will contribute to promoting R&D, and improving access to finance and e-commerce to stimulate business growth. It will also target particular support on the most disadvantaged urban and rural communities.

For the Highlands and Islands, investment is focused on business competitiveness and sustainable growth in isolated areas, through support for small-scale infrastructure projects. The programme also contributes to improving research and training, with developments such as the University of Highlands and Islands Millennium Institute.

EU backs urban regeneration in Glasgow

On the morning of her visit, Commissioner Hübner will meet Glasgow city councillors at the Clydebank regeneration area and hold discussions on potential EU support for future urban renewal.

The Commissioner will tour Clydebank College, which received £5.6 million (€6.3 million) in ERDF support to upgrade the complex into a modern campus. The college has over 10,000 students and houses modern engineering and construction workshops, advanced science laboratories and excellent sports facilities. She will also visit "Clydebank Rebuilt", an urban regeneration company which redevelops former industrial sites, many of which have received support from the EU.

Moving to Edinburgh, Commissioner Hübner will deliver a speech at an event organised by the University of Aberdeen at the capital's Institut Français. This will be introduced by the French Consul-General, Hervé Bouché, on behalf of the French Presidency of the EU.

Talks with First Minister Alex Salmond

Following this, the Commissioner will meet the First Minister for Scotland, Alex Salmond. Their talks will focus on the EU Cohesion Policy programmes in Scotland and the £179 million (€200 million) European Economic Recovery Plan (MEMO/08/740), adopted by the European Council on 12 December. The accelerated structural funds' payments and additional advances envisaged under the plan will provide Scotland with an injection of £18 million (€ 20.5 million) in 2009. The advances mean projects can benefit from EU funding with immediate effect.

Notes for Editors

Scotland will receive a total of £1.3 billion (€1.5 billion) in EU investment between 2007 and 2013. The funding is split as follows:

  • £416 million (€498 million) from the European Regional Development Fund;
  • £269 million (€322 million) from the European Social Fund (ESF) for jobs and training;
  • £535 million (€640 million) from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) ;
  • £46 million (€55 million) from the European Fisheries Fund (EFF).

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