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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 17 October 2014

European Commission adopts ‘Partnership Agreement’ with Austria on using EU Structural and Investment Funds for growth and jobs in 2014-2020

The European Commission has adopted a "Partnership Agreement" with Austria setting down the strategy for the optimal use of European Structural and Investment Funds throughout the country. Today’s agreement paves the way for investing €3.9 billion for rural development and €1.24 billion in total Cohesion Policy funding over 2014-2020 (including European Territorial Cooperation funding). Austria also receives €6.96 million from the Maritime and Fisheries Fund.

The EU investments will help tackle unemployment and boost competitiveness and economic growth through support to innovation, training and education in cities, towns and rural areas. They will also promote entrepreneurship, fight social exclusion and help to develop an environmentally friendly and a resource-efficient economy.

The European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) in Austria are:

• The European Regional Development Fund

• The European Maritime and Fisheries Fund

• The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development

Commenting on the adoption, Commissioner for Regional Policy, Johannes Hahn said: "Today we have adopted a vital, strategic investment plan that reflects the European Commission and Austria's joint determination to make the most efficient use of EU funding. I am particularly proud that Austria opted for a single management authority in order to reduce overhead costs to the benefit of necessary resources available for the real economy, sustainable growth and investing in people.”

Commissioner Hahn added: "This investment strategy builds on the important contribution Austria is already making to help the EU meet its goals of creating a resource efficient economy with sustainable energy use. The Partnership Agreement provides Austria with a firm foundation which covers all EU Structural and Investment Funds and gives strategic direction to future programmes. This will enhance innovation, transform Austrian SMEs into models of growth, and secure Austria's growing reputation in supporting research, development and innovation. The ESI Funds are helping Austria's regions and cities to face these key challenges."

Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Dacian Cioloş said:

Rural Development is a vital pillar of our Common Agricultural Policy, and nowhere is it more important than in Austria as a share of CAP spending. The concept of Partnership Agreements is very important to ensure that national or regional authorities, when drafting their Rural Development programmes, have an approach which is coherent with plans that they are drafting for other EU structural measures in order to obtain a greater efficiency in the use of EU taxpayers’ money. In this sense, I remain optimistic that EU funding will do even more in the coming years to support the development of rural areas in Austria.

Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, László Andor said:

"I congratulate Austria on the adoption of the Partnership Agreement and sincerely thank the Austrian authorities for the constructive negotiations with the Commission. I welcome the strategic choices Austria has made for the use of the European Social Fund (ESF) in line with the Europe 2020 agenda for growth and jobs. 442 million EUR will be available from the ESF over the next 7 years for promoting employment, investing in education and reducing the number of people at risk of poverty and exclusion in Austria. I am convinced that good use will be made of the ESF by improving conditions for active and healthy ageing, promoting equality between women and men, and helping the most vulnerable groups, such as migrants, the low qualified and young people to improve their qualifications and to integrate into the labour market."

Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki said:

“As with all of the other funds, the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund is about unlocking the sort of growth and jobs which Europe needs and which the EU is committed to making a reality. As a land-locked Member State, Austria's share in maritime and fisheries activities is modest so the Commission welcomes the Austrian approach which focuses on the specific needs of its traditionally small scale inland fishing, aquaculture and fish-processing enterprises. Austria will aim at consolidating and even growing its fisheries and aquaculture related enterprises by building on previous experience and taking advantage of innovation developments in these and other sectors."

The ceremonial signature of the Partnership Agreement will take place on Monday, 20 October in Vienna with EU Commissioner for Regional Policy, Johannes Hahn and Secretary of State in the Federal Chancellery, Sonja Stessl.

More information:

MEMO on Partnership Agreements and Operational Programmes Policy and Austria

European Commission- Austria Partnership Agreement and Summary

Contacts : Shirin Wheeler (+32 2 296 65 65) – Jonathan Todd (+32 4989 94107)

Roger Waite (+32 4989 61404) – Helene Banner (+32 4607 52407))

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