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   On  a  proposal  from  Mr Bruce Millan, Member  of  the  Commission  with
   responsibility for regional policies, the Commission has decided to grant
   for  1992 and 1993 ECU 340 million (FF 2370 millions) from  the  European
   structural  Funds  for the industrial conversion  of  several  employment
   areas in France.  The regions involved are Nord-Pas-de-Calais,  Lorraine,
   Picardy,  Franche-Comté, Brittany, Champagne-Ardenne  and  Burgundy.  The
   programmes form the second phase of Community structural Fund  assistance
   to areas in industrial decline (Objective 2)1.  These appropriations  are
   in addition to the ECU 364 million (FF 2530 million) already granted  for
   the period 1989-91.
   Commenting on the decision, Mr Millan said that the launch of the  second
   generation of Community programmes for the conversion of areas which have
   been  in  industrial decline would allow a significant  increase  in  the
   measures  to be undertaken in 1992 and 1993.   An all-out effort must  be
   made to improve the employment situation in the areas heavily affected by
   the  restructuring of important industrial  sectors.  Community  measures
   were  also  aimed at establishing a solid and competitive  base,  thereby
   enabling these regions to meet the industrial challenges to come.
   The programme involves in particular:
   -   ECU  166.7  million  (FF 1165 million), of which  ECU  130.9  million
       comes  from  the  ERDF  and ECU 35.7 million from  the  ESF,  for  an
       integrated  programme  contributing to industrial conversion  in  the
       employment  areas  of  Boulogne,  Calais,  Dunkirk,  Lille,  Roubaix-
       Tourcoing,   Béthune,   Lens,  Douai,   Valenciennes,   Cambrai   and
       Sambre-Avesnois    (population   3   431   000)   in    the    Region
       Nord-Pas-de-Calais;
   -   ECU 49.1 million (FF 340 million), of which ECU 37 million comes from
       the ERDF and ECU 12.1 million from the ESF, for an initial integrated
       programme contributing to the industrial conversion of the  coalfield
       and employment areas of Meuse du Nord, Longwy, Thionville, Epinal and
       Saint-Dié  (population 1 082 000) in Lorraine.  A specific  programme
       for Longwy will be added at a later date.
   1   Memo 11/92
                                     - 2 -
   -   ECU  47.9 million (FF 332 million), including ECU 38.3  million  from
       the  ERDF  and  ECU  9.5 million from  the  ESF,  for  an  integrated
       programme  for the conversion of the employment areas  of  Abbeville,
       Vimeu, Amiens, Santerre (Somme), Saint-Quentin, Chauny, Soissons  and
       Thiérache (population 922 000) in Picardy;
   -   ECU  23.9 million (FF 166 million), including ECU 19.1  million  from
       the  ERDF  and  ECU  4.8 million from  the  ESF,  for  an  integrated
       programme for the conversion of the employment areas of  Montbéliard,
       Belfort and Lure-Luxeuil (population 413 000) in Franche-Comté;
   -   ECU  20.6 million (FF 144 million), including ECU 16.4  million  from
       the  ERDF  and  ECU  4.2 million from  the  ESF,  for  an  integrated
       programme  for  the conversion of the employment areas  of  Guingamp,
       Lannion  and  Saint-Brieuc  (population 384  000)  in  Côtes  d'Armor
       (Brittany);
   -   ECU  17.6 million (FF 120 million), including ECU 14.1  million  from
       the  ERDF  and  ECU  3.5 million from  the  ESF,  for  an  integrated
       programme for the conversion of the employment areas of Vallée de  la
       Meuse    ardennaise   (population   270   000)   in   the    Ardennes
       (Champagne-Ardenne region);
   -   ECU  14.9 million (FF 103 million), including ECU 11.9  million  from
       the ERDF and ECU 3 million from the ESF, for an integrated  programme
       for   the   conversion   of  the   employment   areas   of   Creusot,
       Montceau-les-Mines  and  Châlons-sur-Saône (population  269  000)  in
       Burgundy.
   Business competitiveness will be strengthened by a series of measures  to
   aid productive investment, encourage technology transfer to SMEs,  assist
   local development initiatives and encourage vocational training measures.
   With a view to diversifying activities, the tourism potential of the area
   will   be  enhanced  particularly  through  aid  for  the  provision   of
   accomodation and vocational training.
   To  improve  the potential of the employment areas concerned  to  attract
   investment,  extra business facilities will be provided.  The renewal  of
   derelict sites and industrial sites in particular will also contribute to
   this objective.
   Lastly,  the potential for training and research will be strengthened  by
   contributing  to the construction and fitting-out of  infrastructure  for
   third-level, technical or continuing education.
   The  measures  planned  give effect to the priorities laid  down  in  the
   Community  support  frameworks  decided  upon by  the  Commission  on  18
   December  1991(1) following negotiations between the Commission  and  its
   partners   in  France  at  national,  regional  and  local   level.  This
   partnership  will  also be applied to the management of  the  operational
   programme.
                                     * * *
(1) IP/91 1182

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