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The Commission has decided to co-finance pilot actions to tackle problems of urban regeneration in parts of London and Marseille. A total of 9.1 MECU (5.1 MECU for London and 4.0 MECU for Marseille) is being provided by the ERDF over a two year period for a range of actions with a total cost of 20.2 MECU. This decision is the result of an initiative taken by Bruce Millan, the regional policy Commissioner, in 1989, when he invited London and Marseille, two cities not otherwise receiving assistance from the Community's Regional Fund, to submit innovatory pilot schemes which could be funded from money earmarked for such purposes(1). Decisions to put in place the European Social Fund's contribution to these schemes (principally co-financing the operational costs of the training element) are being examined under the responsibility of Ms Vasso Papandreou. Explaining the background to the decision, Mr Millan said, "We have to be selective about the problems we try to tackle with the Community's Structural Funds if we are to be sure of achieving a real impact. Under Objectives 1 and 2 of the reform, the focus is rightly on areas of industrial decline. This leaves out some urban areas with acute and highly concentrated problems of unemployment and economic and environmental decay. The people and elected representatives of these areas very understandably look to the Community as well as to their national and local authorities for help in their efforts to cope with these problems. The co-financed schemes decided today represent a modest contribution, but one which the Commission believes will have an impact beyond the localities concerned, since many cities share the problems of London and Marseille and should be able to benefit from the experience gained. We shall be considering extending the pilot schemes to the other cities, some of which have already presented proposals to the Commission." The London and Marseille schemes have been designed by the local authorities, in consultation with the UK and French national authorities and the Commission, to look at new approaches to urban problems and to have demonstration potential for other European cities. The objectives of these actions are: - the introduction of economic activity into public housing estates; - the restoration of derelict land, improvements in the environment and the better use of space; (1) Article 10 of the ERDF regulation No.(EEC)4254/88. - 2 - - extending the local communities the employment and other benefits of the activities of growth sectors in their localities, including major development projects which may otherwise pass them by; - developing the economic potential of members of ethnic minorities. In London eight areas are targeted in inner city zones: Brixton, the eastern fringe of the City of London, Deptford, Finsbury Park and Seven Sisters, Central Hackney, Kings Cross, the Lower Lea Valley and South Canning Town and Custom House areas of Newham, and the northern part of Southwark. Each is a small, discrete area with a population of between 25,000 and 50,000. The 8 areas together have a population of about 330,000. Examples of the actions proposed for London include: - changing the use of garages into workshops and providing measures to encourage the formation of small busineses; - training targetted towards ethnic minorities. For example, the provision of mobile training units to bring training to people in housing estates; - an Arts Technical Centre and computer-aided graphics unit in the Kings Cross area. The action in Marseille deals with three peripheral housing estates - La Bricarde, La Castellane and Le Plan d'Aou with a population of about 10,000. Also included are two projects in the Panier and Beisunce area near the city centre. Examples of the actions proposed for Marseille include: - recreation and better use of space within the estates with the aim of drawing in commercial and economic development; - change of use of ground floor flats with security problems into workshop units; - a mobile training unit to bring training to the people living in the three estates and other actions designed to improve the job opportunities of local residents; - in the Belsunce area near the city centre, a project "Cité de la Musique" designed to examine the way in which music and culture can promote economic development. Both pilot projects can enhance inter-regional co-operation and the exchange of ideas between cities. In both cases committees will be set up to monitor progress and evaluate results. It is intended that there will be some joint meetings so that London and Marseille can learn directly from each other and that a wider sharing of the results will follow.