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MEMO/01/249

Brussels, 28 June 2001

Additional information concerning Community financing under the Structural Funds in Belgium

Acting on behalf of the Commission, Michel Barnier has signed the four Objective 2 Single Programming Documents for Flanders. The programmes concern the provinces of Limburg, Antwerp, West Flanders and East Flanders.

The adoption of the programmes brings the total amount of Community financing committed in Belgium to date to approximately €831 million for the period 2000-06 (€645 million for the Objective 1 programme in Hainault committed in May 2000 and €186 million(1) for the four Objective 2 programmes in the Flemish region which has now been committed).

In the case of the four programmes for Flanders, the regional and local authorities will provide an additional €304 million with the private sector taking part to the tune of €64 million, as provided for in the rules on the part-financing of projects receiving support under the Structural Funds.

For Belgium, three programmes (Brussels Region, Meuse-Vesdre and Dinant-Philippeville) have still to be approved. The first is expected to be adopted in early July, while the two Objective 2 programmes for the Walloon region may be adopted by September.

It is now up to the Flanders management authorities to adopt the programme complements setting out the selection criteria making it possible to identify the projects eligible for financing and to forward them to the Commission. Implementation at local level can then begin. An advance of 7% of the Community funds will be transferred for that purpose.

In Flanders, the regions covered by Objective 2 comprise: part of three districts in the province of Limburg, part of the Kempen area in the province of Antwerp, certain disadvantaged neighbourhoods in the cities of Antwerp and Ghent, the coastal area (Kustgebied) in West Flanders and two rural areas in West and East Flanders (Westhoek and Meetjesland). The four programmes cover an area with a population of 1.2 million, i.e. around 20% of the inhabitants of the Flemish Region.

In the previous financing period (1994-99), the Flanders Region received approximately €320 million under Objectives 2 and 5(b). This enabled many projects to be carried out, including, for example, the Campus Hoogtechnologische Bedrijven Hasselt project, which is part of the strategy for creating a centre for the development of knowledge and the new information and communication technology industry in Flanders.

Background

Under the Structural Funds a sum of €195 billion is available to the Member States in the period 2000-06. This will be used to finance regional development programmes which are the result of cooperation between the national, regional and local authorities, the socio-economic partners and other relevant organisations. Assistance from the Structural Funds will be concentrated mainly on three key priorities:

  • Objective 1: the development and structural adjustment of regions whose development is lagging behind (70% of the appropriations);

  • Objective 2: the socio-economic conversion of areas affected by structural difficulties (11.5% of the appropriations);

  • Objective 3: the adjustment and modernisation of policies and systems of education, training and employment (12.3% of the appropriations).

In more practical terms, Objective 1 funds will be available to around fifty regions and 22% of the population of Europe. An amount totalling €13.95 billion will make it possible in 2000-06 for the least well-off regions in the Union (those with a GDP of less than 75% of the Community average) to be provided with the basic facilities they still lack (transport, water supplies, energy, waste treatment plants, telecommunications, health, education, etc.) and to encourage investment in businesses and revitalise the productive infrastructure which is very often weak.

As a rule Objective 1 funds are allocated in the following way: a Community Support Framework (CSF) contains a description of the socio-economic situation in the country or regions concerned, sets out the development priorities and the goals to be attained, and proposes systems of financial management, monitoring, evaluation and control. Operational programmes (OPs) are then adopted, containing details of the various CSF priorities at the level of regions or of individual development priorities (transport, training, business support, etc.)

Objective 2 incorporates the former Objectives 2 and 5(b) applicable in the period 1994-99. The areas concerned are of four types: industrial, rural, urban and those dependent on fishing. Objective 2 applies to 18% of the population of Europe. In Belgium, the number of inhabitants benefiting under Objective 2 is 1 269 million, i.e. 12% of the total population.

For any additional information, please consult the Directorate-General for Regional Policy's site:

http://www.inforegio.ec.europa.eu

Annex I:

Summary tables for the adoption of the Single Programming Documents in Belgium

    Single Programming Documents already signed

Programme name

Amount committed by the CommissionTotal amountDate of adoption
Hainaut€645 million€2 221 million15 May 2000

    Newly approved

Programme name

Amount committed by the CommissionTotal amountDate of adoption
Limburg€93 million€241 million15 May 2001
Provincie Antwerp€47 million€136 million14 June 2001
Kustgebied-Westhoek€33 million€118 million31 May 2001
Oost-Vlaanderen€14 million€60 million8 June 2001

    To be approved

Programme name

Amount to be committed by the CommissionTotal amount
Bruxelles-Capitale€44 million€106 million
Meuse/Vesdre€158 million€562 million
Dinant-Philippeville€58 million€206 million
Annex II:

Allocation of Structural Funds by Objective and Member State in 2000-06

- in € million at 1999 Prices -

Objective 1

(regions lagging behind in their development)

Objective 2

(socio-economic conversion of areas affected by structural difficulties)

Objective 3

Total

Objective 1

Objective 1 transitional(2) support

Objective 2 Objective 2 transitional1(3) support
B 0 645 382 65 737 1 829
DK 0 0 156 27 365 548
D 19 229 729 2 984 526 4 581 28 049
EL 20 961 0 0 0 0 20 961
E 37 744 352 2 553 98 2 140 42 887
F 3 254 551 5 437 613 4 540 14 395
IRL 1 315 1773 0 0 0 3 088
I 21 935 187 2 145 377 3 744 28 388
L 0 0 34 6 38 78
NL 0 123 676 119 1 686 2 604
A 261 0 578 102 528 1 469
P 16 124 2 905 0 0 0 19 029
FIN 913 0 459 30 403 1 805
S 722 0 354 52 720 1 848
UK 5 085 1166 3 989 706 4 586 15 514
EUR 15 127 543 8 411 19 733 2 721 24 050 182 458

(1)All amounts and other figures shown include areas receiving transitional support in the provinces concerned.

(2) Under the rules a system of transitional aid is available for regions which qualified for structural support during the period 1994-99 but no longer do so in the period 2000-06. This system of decreasing aids means that support from the Community is not cut off abruptly and benefits acquired as a result of structural operations in the preceding period can be consolidated.

(3)


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