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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 29 October 2014

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

The European Commission has adopted a "Partnership Agreement" with Italy 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 €32.2 billion in total Cohesion Policy funding over 2014-2020 (current prices, including European Territorial Cooperation funding and the allocation for the Youth Employment Initiative). Italy also receives €10.4 billion for rural development and €537.3 million for fisheries and the maritime sector.

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 Italy 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: "This is a tremendously important moment for Italy. Today we have adopted a vital, strategic investment plan that sets the country on the path to jobs and growth for the next 10 years. This Partnership Agreement reflects the European Commission and Italy's joint determination to make the most efficient use of EU investments and to avoid the mistakes of the past. Our investments must be strategic, according to the new Cohesion Policy - focusing on the real economy, on sustainable growth and investing in people. Crucially too they must be backed by sound and efficient administrative structures at every level. Quality not speed is the paramount aim and in the coming months we are fully dedicated to negotiating the best possible outcome for investments from the European Structural and Investment Funds in 2014-2020 as we set up the operational programmes from which the 100's of projects to stimulate Italy's economy and create jobs will come. Commitment is needed on all sides to ensure that good quality programmes and reinforced fund management are put in place.”

Commissioner Hahn added: "This investment strategy builds on the important contribution Italy is already making to help the EU meet its goals of developing knowledge circuits, modernising and internationalising its economy and fostering an efficient use of energy and natural resources. Italy now has a firm base in this Partnership Agreement that covers all Structural and Investment Funds and gives strategic direction to future programmes to enhance innovation, transform Italian SMEs into models of growth, and secure Italy's competitive edge in knowledge intensive sectors. The ESI Funds are helping Italy's regions and cities to face these challenges."

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

"I congratulate Italy for finalising its Partnership Agreement as a result of its intense collaboration with the Commission. I am very pleased that Italy has decided to use €10.5 billion from the European Social Fund (ESF), so as to ensure ESF-funded actions can have a significant impact towards meeting the Europe 2020 employment and poverty targets. I also appreciate that high priority is given to tackling youth unemployment, also through a programme implementing the Youth Employment Initiative. The ESF will help to maximise the growth potential of each region by addressing its specific needs, focusing on entrepreneurship and job creation, as well as better social inclusion through employment, education and vocational training. I am also pleased to see greater synergies between measures supported by the different Funds."

Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Dacian Cioloş said:

It is with great satisfaction that I salute the approval of the Partnership Agreement for Italy today, and in particular the new aims for Rural Development, the second pillar of the EU Common Agricultural Policy. Rural Development programmes are a noteworthy contributor toward solving an array of economic, environmental and social problems in rural areas. For many Italian Regions, Rural Development is the most important source of EU structural funding. In this context, I am confident that the Partnership Agreement for Italy will enable a more efficient use of funding to boost Italy's path to growth and competitiveness, to promoting employment and to decreasing regional disparities. I trust that the well-targeted EU financial support proposed for developing an innovation-friendly business environment, for upgrading infrastructures or for increasing the efficiency in the use of natural resources will play a meaningful part in the overall effort to reach these goals.

Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki said:

"The European Maritime and Fisheries Fund is about investing in local fishing communities to help them unlock the sort of development and jobs which Europe needs and which the EU is committed to making a reality. For Italy in particular, the greatest challenge but also the most promising opportunity, is to boost the country's Blue Growth potential taking advantage of its long tradition and experience in the marine and maritime sectors. The Fund will focus in increasing the competiveness of Italian fisheries and aquaculture while safeguarding the sustainable management of natural and stock resources. We will not prescribe how every single cent should be spent; it is about letting those who know their craft, industry, and local regions best, to work towards a sustainable future for their own communities – this is indeed the spirit of the new Common Fisheries Policy and the Integrated Maritime Policy".

More information:

MEMO on Partnership Agreements and Operational Programmes

Cohesion Policy and Italy

European Commission-Italy Partnership Agreement and Summary

Contacts : Shirin Wheeler (+32 460 76 65 65) – Jonathan Todd (+32 4989 94107)

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


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