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   On  a  proposal by Bruce Millan, Commissioner  responsible  for  regional
   policies,  the  Commission has decided to award aid totalling  98.4  MECU
   (227  Million  HFl) under the Objective 2  programmes  for  Zuid-Limburg,
   Twente and Groningen/Zuidoost-Drenthe in the Netherlands.
   Commenting  on  the  decision, Mr Millan said  "These  three  areas  have
   suffered  in  the past from the decline in agriculture, the  textile  and
   coal  industries.  Attracting new investments is a long process but I  am
   pleased  that  continued  Community  funding  is  assisting  the   areas'
   development".
   The   programmes  will  be  implemented  within  the  Community   Support
   Frameworks  in  the  period 1992/1993. Estimation of the  total  cost  is
   263 MECU (608 Million HFl). The Community Support Frameworks were adopted
   by the Commission at the end of 1991.
   The  general  aim of the programmes is to help the  regions  involved  to
   strengthen the local economic base by ensuring that firms, in  particular
   small  and  medium-sized enterprises, have at their disposal a  range  of
   financial and other services to enable them to prepare for the  challenge
   of the Single Market.
   The Objective 2 programmes focus on four fields of action :
   -  industrial   expansion,  diversification  and  renewal   for   example
      investment in the redevelopment of Almelo city centre to make it  more
      attractive  to businesses, and 4.5 MECU for work on the port  area  of
      Delfzijl;
   -  expansion of applied scientific research;
   -  promotion and improvement of tourist potential;
   -  redevelopment  of  industrial  areas and  improvement  of  the  socio-
      economic structure.
   Measures under these development priorities comprise for example:
   -  innovation and technology transfer, like telematics and new  materials
      research,  promotion  of quality improvement, creation  of  vocational
      training infrastructure projects;
                                     - 2 -
   -  upgrading of industrial estates;
   -  promotion   of  subcontracting  and  quality  improvement   concerning
      environmental products and processes, pilot-projects for collection of
      industrial  waste  and  environmental services for  companies  in  the
      regions;
   -  promotion   and  coordination  of  tourism  activities  for   example,
      development  of  bicycle  paths in Dalen  and  Odoorn,  and  continued
      investment in the Nooder Dierenpark zoo in Groningen;
   -  cross  border development, including external promotion of the  region
      and  improvement of the knowledge of European markets as well  as  the
      modernisation of transport and distribution facilities.
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