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REGION OF THE WEEK:

Luxembourg

(12 March 2013)

Luxembourg

EU Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn will pay a visit to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg on 12 March where he will meet with Mr Marco Schank, the Minister Delegate of Luxembourg for Sustainable Development and Infrastructure, to discuss the future cohesion policy for the period 2014-2020.

Commissioner Hahn will also be opening the new premises of ESPON, an observation network for Territorial Development and Cohesion, which is financially supported by the European Union (EU) with EUR 45 million. The mission of the centre is to produce studies, analyses and prospective reports on the development of regions, cities and other larger areas in order to contribute to a harmonious development of the European territory in the framework of the EU regional policy.

 

What are the country's priorities?

For the period 2007-2013, the Government of Luxembourg chose to focus its actions in the South of the country, with the particular aim of ensuring the conversion of old industrial sites.

However, the projects supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) also focuse on other areas that are capable of generating leverage and economic benefits for the whole country.

The priorities of the Luxembourg 2007-2013 programme are:

- To contribute to making Luxembourgmore attractive for investment and employment

- To improve knowledge and innovation by supporting the creation and improvement of infrastructures and competences enabling the development and/or strengthening of Research and Development capacities

- To enhance cooperation between public and private research, and encourage the development of research centres.

- To develop or consolidate regional specialisations with high added value and reinforce the technological and economic position of the region, while respecting the principles of sustainable development and environmental protection.

 

How has EU regional policy contributed?

In 2009, Luxembourg recorded a GDP per capita of 266 % of the EU average, or more than two and a half time the average in all European regions. Due to its level of wealth, it is among the regions covered by the objective ‘Competitiveness and Employment’.

The investment of the ERDF totals EUR 25 million for the Operational Programme ‘Luxembourg’, with a total budget of EUR 85 million. In accordance with Luxembourg's priorities, the expected results of the investment are the creation of new jobs, including in the area of research and development (R&D) and information and communication technologies (ICT), the creation of converted and restored industrial areas, and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

As Luxembourg shares borders with France, Germany and Belgium, it is also involved in cross-border cooperation programmes.

Operational Programme ‘Grande Région’, with EU assistance of EUR 106 million, relates to Wallonia and the German-speaking community in Belgium, Lorraine in France, the Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland in Germany, and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. The actions carried out as part of this operational programme aim to enhance the attractiveness of the ‘Grande Région’, to encourage innovation and economic development, and therefore create more jobs. The operational programme should help to improve the competitiveness of the cross-border region and promote the sustainable planning and development of the ‘Grande Région’, ensuring better management of mobility and the environment and greater cultural and social cooperation.

Operational Programme ‘North West Europe’, which relates to seven Member States of the EU (Belgium, Germany, Ireland, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom) and Switzerland, has financial support of EUR 355 million from the EU. The programme is unique in that it takes a cross-sectoral approach to territorial development, which promotes a close cooperation between universities, non-governmental organisations, public authorities and the private sector. It offers the advantage of establishing links between actions at the regional, national, cross-border and interregional levels. It complements the projects, policies and programmes of the participating countries. The specific objectives of the operational programme are innovation, environment, accessibility and sustainable urban development.

 

Project examples:

Construction of a solar-powered sludge drying plant: EU investment EUR 875 000

The Bettembourg biological treatment plant has seen its capacity increase from 70 000 population equivalent to 95 000 population equivalent. The existing facilities have also been upgraded. The project involves the construction of eight polycarbonate greenhouse structures, covering a total surface area of 5 000 m2. The sludge is dried in these greenhouses. After the drying stage, the sludge is compressed into bricks and then used as additional fuel to produce energy in regional industrial operations. This substitute for fossil fuels is neutral in terms of CO2 emissions. Thanks to this project, wastewater sludge has been reduced by 60 %, as have greenhouse gas emissions (1 100 tonnes of CO2 per year) and 5 jobs have been created.

 

Extension of the Ecostart Enterprise and Innovation Centre in Foetz : EU investment: EUR 1 550 994

The Ecostart centre is a business incubator designed to encourage the creation of new innovative high-tech companies with an industrial profile. The purpose of the Ecostart centre is firstly to support and to provide on-going assistance to innovative technological projects during the start-up phase. Secondly, it serves as a relay centre, providing temporary accommodation to start-up companies as well as foreign companies looking to establish operations in Luxembourg. The construction of this new incubation hub on the site in Foetz will give the Ecostart centre an additional 1 000 m2 of office space and 3 300 m2 of workshop space to offer innovative young companies. The Ecostart centre will have a total area of 12 300 m2 available, divided into 2 300 m2 of office space and 10 000 m2 of industrial space.

 

Business incubation centre on the old industrial site of Belval : EU investment EUR 2 000 000 during the periods 2000-2006 and 2007-2013

The business incubator - built in the old blast furnaces of the industrial site of Belval - has a surface area of 4 400 m2 and can accommodate six to eight fledgling businesses per year. It aims to improve the survival and growth prospects of young, innovative cutting-edge technological businesses by providing them with computer hardware, management advice and operational support services.

 

Luxembourg Center for Systems Biomedecine – LCSB : EU investment EUR 2 667 000

The construction and use of the Luxembourg Center for Systems Biomedecine - LCSB is part of a strategic partnership between American research institutes and the Government of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg in the framework of the national initiative ‘Technologies de la Santé’, implemented with the University of Luxembourg and public research centres. This initiative aims to establish a centre of expertise in molecular medicine and systems biology in Luxembourgat the old industrial site of Belval. The project also involves a significant technological component, focusing on developments in bioinformatics, among other areas. The activities carried out by the LCSB include very high level scientific and applied research, specialist training at doctoral and post-doctoral level, international-level documentation and scientific publishing, and the supervision of master's dissertations and doctoral theses. LCSB covers a total surface area of 3 300 m2 and 55 jobs have been created as well as 37 research positions.

 

Further information:

Managing authority (Ministry of the Economy and Foreign Trade)

List of projects co-financed by the EU