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REGION OF THE WEEK: Puglia (Italy)

Puglia (Italy)

04/04/2011

Visit by Commissioner Hahn

Commissioner Hahn will be visiting Puglia on 8 April.  His programme includes meetings with the President of the region, Mr Nicola Vendola, as well as the Italian Minister for Regional Affairs, Mr Raffaele Fitto.  He will encourage the national and regional authorities to take action to ensure the take-up of EU regional funding.  (Currently, only 25% of the funds available for the period 2007-2013 have been committed.)

What are the region's priorities?

Puglia is situated in south-eastern Italy, bordering the Adriatic Sea in the east and the Ionian Sea in the south.  Its 800km of coastline and mild climate make it an attractive destination for tourists.  With 4 million inhabitants, population density is a little above the national average.

Agriculture continues to play an important role in the local economy, but the region has also developed industrial activities and a strong services sector.  Puglia is an important transport hub, particularly due to the important role of the port of Bari in connecting Italy with Greece and the eastern Mediterranean.

How is EU regional policy helping?

Puglia is one of Italy's four "convergence" regions (per capita GDP less than 75% of the EU average).  Puglia is due to receive €2.6 billion of EU funding during the period 2007-2013.  The regional operational programme has three main objectives:

  • enhancing the attractiveness of the region, by improving accessibility, guaranteeing the quality of its services and by safeguarding the potential of the environment
  • promoting innovation, entrepreneurship and development of the knowledge economy and also by promoting specialisation and productive districts
  • creating increased conditions of well-being and social inclusion.

Project examples

Puglia has used EU regional funding to promote alternative energy.  This has allowed the region to become the top producer in Italy of wind and solar energy.  Use of alternative energy in Puglia grew from 1.8% in 2000 to 9.9% in 2008.

Puglia has achieved a 30% increase in visitors since 2000 thanks to EU support for the development of tourism, particularly during the off-peak seasons.  EU funding has helped to renovate Bari Vecchia, including monuments like the Palazzo del Sedile and the Fortino Sant'Antonio.  An extension to the Bari airport has also increased capacity to welcome tourists to the region.

EU funding is being used to improve transport infrastructure, including the development of intermodal transport at the Port of Bari and improvements to the railway line between Bari and Taranto.

Funding from the European Regional Development Fund has also supported the development of papermaking (Foggia), aerospace and automotive (Taranto, Brindisi, Bari) and construction materials (Lecce, Bisceglie, Barletta).

Further information