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The European Union supports the building of cultural facilities as part of its regional development policy and some of its environmental protection actions, with the aid of its research activities.

Culture, a factor of local and regional development
The creation of cultural facilities comes under the European Union's regional policy. The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) supports projects concerned with building cultural facilities or renovating historic buildings or cultural sites with a view to their conversion into museums, libraries, concert halls, multimedia centres or tourist attractions.

For example, it supported the pôle de l'image in Angoulême, France, the Temple Bar in Dublin, Ireland and the Lowry Centre in the United Kingdom. The European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF) plays a similar role to the ERDF in the development of rural areas.

The Community initiatives LEADER, for the economic development of rural areas, URBAN for towns and cities and INTERREG for border regions contribute to the creation of cultural facilities, in particular through the cultural exploitation of buildings, districts and sites as well as furnishings and objects of historical, architectural or heritage interest (see the information on cultural heritage).

Protecting the cultural environment
Under the framework programme on the environment LIFE III, the Community is supporting projects for the conservation and tourist development of natural and cultural sites (historical landscapes or archaeological sites) such as the megalithic monuments at Carnac, in France.

Research activities
The 6th framework programme for research and technological development (2002-2006) includes an action on the theme of "The City of Tomorrow and Cultural Heritage". This action, which has existed since 1998, is part of the priority "Support to the other policies of the EU" (SSP) of the 6th framework programme.

Finally, in the name of the programme of international cooperation, the 6th framework programme finances certain research projects in the field of cultural heritage with third country Mediterranean partners "Protection and conservation of cultural heritage".

Last update: 03-05-2006