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Czech Republic, Austria

Operational Programme 'Austria - Czech Republic'

Programme under the European Territorial Cooperation Objective, co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)

On 20 December 2007, the European Commission approved a Cross-border Cooperation Operational Programme between Austria and the Czech Republic for the period 2007-13. The Programme involves providing Community support as part of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) for specific Austrian and Czech regions that lie along their common border: the Austrian regions of Waldviertel, Weinviertel, Wiener Umland Nordteil, Wien, Mühlviertel, Innviertel, Linz-Wels, Steyr-Kirchdorf, Mostviertel-Eisenwurzen and St.Pölten and Czech regions Jihočeský kraj, Jihomoravský kraj and kraj Vysočina.

The Operational Programme falls within the framework laid out for the European Territorial Cooperation Objective and has a total budget of around €126 million. Community assistance through the ERDF amounts to some €107 million, which represents approximately 1.2% of the total EU investment earmarked for the European Territorial Cooperation Objective under the Cohesion Policy 2007-13.

1. Aim and purpose of the programme

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The overall objectives of the Programme are to increase and intensify cooperation in this cross-border region and support sustainable economic growth by means of removing existing barriers and improving development across the entire territory.

The cross-border area is characterised by large economic disparities between the Austrian and Czech regions. The Gross Regional Product (GRP) per capita in the Austrian border regions is about 132% of the EU-25 average; in the Czech border regions this amounts to some 62%.

Given that many protected natural areas form a large part of the cross-border territory, tourism is seen as a key potential contributor to development in this area. Renewable energy production is also seen as a major growth area.

2. Expected impact of investments

In accordance with the Lisbon Agenda for growth and jobs objectives, the Programme is expected to result in better cooperation networks among universities, research centres and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), more ICT use, support services for SMEs, and improved education, training systems and worker adaptability.

The Programme should also see marked improvements in local road connections, risk prevention and nature protection. Tourism is expected to benefit from increased use of innovative ICT tools as well as campaigns promoting certain cross-border regions as unique integrated areas for recreation, able to compete with other major tourist destinations in both countries. Cycling networks should also be completed and offer interconnections between the countries.

3. Priorities

The Operational Programme is structured along the following priorities:

Priority 1: Socio-economic Development, Tourism and Know-how Transfer [approximately 44.2% of total funding]

The aim of this priority is to strengthen business and service related support environments, intensify and create tourism opportunities, improve and manage cultural heritage, develop human resources and improve living conditions and social integration.

Priority 2: Regional Accessibility and Sustainable Development [approximately 49.8% of total funding]

This priority seeks to improve accessibility in the region, enhance risk prevention, develop/manage natural areas, natural heritage and alternative energy use, and improve institutional cooperation structures.

Priority 3: Technical Assistance [approximately 6.0% of total funding]

The aim here is to support the management of the Operational Programme, notably information and communication activities.

4. Managing Authority

Government of Lower Austria
Department of Spatial Planning and Regional Policy
Landhausplatz 1
A-3109 St. Pölten
Bernard, Köhle
Tel.: +43 (0)2742 9005 15359
Fax.: +43 (0)2742 9005 14170
E-mail.: bernhard.koehle@noel.gv.at
Web: Government of Lower Austria

Financial and Technical information

Title : Operational Programme 'Austria - Czech Republic'

Intervention Type : Operational Programme

CCI no : 2007CB163PO002

Number of decision : C/2007/6491

Final approval date : 2007-12-20

Breakdown of finances by priority axis
Priority Axis EU Investment National Public Contribution Total Public Contribution
Socio-economic Development, Tourism and Know-how Transfer 47 476 084 8 378 132 55 854 216
Regional Accessibility and Sustainable Development 53 513 186 9 443 504 62 956 690
Technical Assistance 6 446 123 1 137 551 7 583 674
Total 107 435 393 18 959 187 126 394 580
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