Today the Commission officially adopted five Operational Programmes for Italy with a total contribution of € 2.17 billion from the European Regional Development Fund and the European Social Fund. Two are national programmes - 'Metropolitan Cities' and 'Research & Innovation'; three target specific regions: Friuli - Venezia Giulia, Sardinia and Molise.
On the occasion, Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Creţu said: "The five programmes we adopted today are sound, consistent and forward-looking investment packages. They will contribute to boosting growth and jobs in Italy by focusing on research and innovation, support to SMEs, the digital agenda and the low-carbon economy."
Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility Marianne Thyssen said: "With today's adoptions, we are a step closer to completing the programming of the Social Fund for the 2014-2020 period in Italy. The funding is targeted at the implementation of an ambitious agenda focusing on growth, employment and social inclusion."
The five Operational Programmes adopted today are:
- National Operational Programme 'Metropolitan Cities': comprised of € 588 million from the ERDF and the ESF (totalling € 892.9 million with national co-financing added). The programme focuses on sustainable urban development and mobility. It will improve the quality and the efficiency of the services in 14 Italian metropolitan areas while promoting social inclusion. Significant funding is also allocated to the deployment of digital services and to the reduction of energy consumption in buildings and public facilities.
- National Operational Programme 'Research & innovation': comprised of € 926.2 million from the ERDF and the ESF (totalling € 1.28 billion with national co-financing added). This programme aims to promote business investment in research and innovation, develop links and synergies between enterprises and Research & Development centres as well as aiming to improve the quality of training.
- Regional Operational Programme for Sardinia: comprised of € 465 million from the ERDF (totalling €930 million with national co-financing added). This programme will help support the competitiveness of the region's small businesses and start-ups. It will also contribute to the deployment of high speed internet, to the efficient and sustainable exploitation of natural resources and to the promotion of scientific and technological research and innovation.
- Regional Operational Programme for Friuli - Venezia Giulia: comprised of € 115.3 million from the ERDF (totalling € 230 million with national co-financing added). The programme aims to promote collaborative schemes between enterprises and research institutions, to boost the competitiveness of the region's businesses and to reduce the energy consumption in households and public buildings.
- Regional Operational Programme for Molise: comprised of € 76.7 million from the ERDF and the ESF (totalling € 153 million with national co-financing included). The programme puts a special emphasis on the fight against unemployment, on social inclusion and on the competitiveness of the regional economy through financial support to local businesses. Promoting research and innovation and offering better access to digital technologies and services are also among the priorities of the programme.
For the period 2014-2020, Italy will benefit from a total amount of approximately€ 32.2 billion in Cohesion Policy funding.
The Priorities for Italy are set out in the Partnership Agreement signed with the European Commission for a period of seven years. The Operational Programmes enable the objectives set out in the Partnership Agreement to be turned into concrete actions.
The five programmes adopted today are co-financed by two Cohesion Policy Funds; the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Social Fund (ESF).
The ERDF aims to strengthen economic and social cohesion in the European Union by reducing imbalances between its regions. The ERDF will invest more than € 199 billion in the regions of Europe throughout 2014-2020.
The ESF plays a fundamental role in supporting Member States' investment in human capital and thereby strengthening the competitiveness of the European economy as it emerges from the recent economic crisis. Every year the ESF assists more than 15 million people by helping them upgrade their skills, facilitating their integration into the labour market, combating social exclusion and poverty and by increasing the effectiveness of public administrations.