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European Commission - Press release

Solidarity with Italy: EU funds support reconstruction efforts in Umbria, including the Basilica of San Benedetto

Brussels, 21 November 2017

The Commission will allocate €28 million from Cohesion Policy funds towards regenerating economic activity in the region of Umbria, affected by severe earthquakes, including €5 million to restore the Basilica of San Benedetto in Norcia.

This money will be matched with the same amount by Italy. In total, €400 million from EU and national funds will support reconstruction efforts and revitalise the economy in the four regions – Abruzzo, Lazio, Marche and Umbria – hit by the 2016 and 2017 earthquakes, including €10 million overall for the reconstruction of the Basilica.

Commissioner for Regional policy Corina Creţu said: "Rebuilding this jewel of European heritage in Norcia with Cohesion policy funds will be a lasting symbol of EU solidarity with Italy, as President Juncker said. The story of the church of Benedict of Norcia, Saint patron of Europe, restored to its former beauty with the help of young volunteers from France, Greece or Hungary, will inspire future generations of Europeans."

The money comes from the additional €1.6 billion of Cohesion Policy funds that Italy is set to receive as part of the 'technical adjustment', the midterm re-evaluation of all 2014-2020 Cohesion Policy envelopes which takes into account the impact of the economic and financial crisis.

The Commission approved the modification of the regional Cohesion Policy programme for Umbria, where the town of Norcia is located, in order to include the additional funding and the new priorities for investments. The regional programmes for Lazio, Marche and Abruzzo will soon be subject to the same procedure.

In Umbria, the extra Cohesion Policy money will help improve seismic resilience in schools as well as energy efficiency, support local businesses and finance the restoration of cultural landmarks, including the Basilica, to re-boost tourism.

Background

In November 2016, after Italy had been struck by devastating earthquakes in August and October 2016, and before it was to be hit again in January 2017, President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker said: "The EU has to mobilise money in order to help our Italian friends overcome the consequences of the earthquakes. This is a European duty too. This is above all about the people but also about the cultural heritage that has been destroyed by the earthquakes. There is this beautiful cathedral in Norcia. I would like the EU to help rebuild it."

In addition to this commitment which the Commission is delivering on today, young volunteers under the European Solidarity Corps arrived in Norcia in August 2017 to lend a hand to the population and help rebuild the town, including the Basilica of San Benedetto, a valuable and momentous contribution ahead of the 2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage.

The EU has put forward several strands of support for Italy following the earthquakes, including €1.2 billion of financial aid under the EU Solidarity Fund, the highest sum ever allocated to a country under this fund.

More information

IP/17/4710

Press contacts:

General public inquiries: Europe Direct by phone 00 800 67 89 10 11 or by email


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