Operational Programme 'Lower Austria'

Programme under Regional competitiveness and employment objective, co-funded by European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)

Austria

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The European Commission approved on May 4 2007 a regional development programme for the Austrian Bundesland of Lower Austria for the period 2007-2013, the Operational Programme "Strengthening Regional Competitiveness of Lower Austria 2007-2013". This programme involves Community support for Lower Austria within the framework of "Regional competitiveness and employment" objective ("phasing out" regions not included). The total budget of the programme is around EUR 291.2 million and the Community assistance through the ERDF amounts to EUR 145.6 million (approximately 10% of the total EU money invested in Austria under Cohesion policy 2007-2013).

1. The purpose and aim of the EU investment

The overall objective of the programme is to strengthen competitiveness of the regional economy in all regions of Lower Austria, while observing the principles of sustainable development and gender equality. This approach shall guarantee the quality of life, income and employment of all inhabitants of the Bundesland.

Despite positive economic development in the recent years, with GDP per capita at more than 104% of EU average, Lower Austria belongs to the less performing regions in context of the most important economic indicators in Austria. As a region neighbouring with two new Member States, Lower Austria has significantly benefited from the 2004 eastern enlargement of the Union. However, to respond to the profound changes brought about to the internal market by this enlargement and to meet the challenges of the globalising world, well-targeted support to specific sectors is essential to maintain the momentum gained in the recent years. The programme shall promote innovation and knowledge-based economy and creation of permanent jobs, thus substantially contributing to achievement of the Lisbon strategy objectives. Reducing the gap between urban and structurally weaker peripheral areas of the Bundesland is also an important aim of the support. Gothenburg's objective of sustainability, as well as the principle of gender mainstreaming will be observed horizontally when implementing the programme.

2. The expected impact of the investment

The programme will ensure creation of 1,800 new jobs, out of which 200 in the research & development sector, connect additional 10,000 inhabitants to broadband internet, trigger a total investment of EUR 850 million (almost six times the Community assistance), install additional renewable energy capacity of 25 MW and decrease the greenhouse gases emissions by 25,000 tonnes/year.

3. Priority axes

The principal objectives of the Strengthening Regional Competitiveness of Lower Austria 2007-2013 programme are: enhancing regional competitiveness and increasing attractiveness of all regions of the Bundesland. The Strengthening Regional Competitiveness of Lower Austria 2007-2013 programme is structured into the following priority axes:

Priority axis 1: Enhancing regional competitiveness through innovation and knowledge economy

In the current period of globalisation, Lower Austria's enterprises face a strong competition on the EU and world markets. In this context, improving innovation and promoting knowledge-based economy is of a crucial importance, as well as increasing quality and technological standards in sectors with comparative advantages. One of the key issues is a successful application of the research & development outputs in practice. Small and medium enterprises are the key success factor and stand in the focus of the programme, with wide range of support activities from establishing the company up to networking and clustering with others.

Priority axis 2: Strengthening of regions and sites through mobilisation of endogenous potentials, competitive tourism, better environment, energy use and risk prevention

Maintaining high living standard of the inhabitants, quality of the environment and regional accessibility of Lower Austria is in the spotlight of the second programme priority axis. The idea to make the region more attractive for business and the people will be streamlined through targeted and balanced support for the regional governance structures. Fully in line with EU and Austrian policies in the environmental sector, the programme will provide increased support for renewable energy and increasing the energy efficiency. The Bundesland will be able to draw on EU funds for specific assistance to develop innovative projects in tourism and flood prevention.

Priority axis 3: Technical assistance

There is also provision for technical assistance in order to implement the programme. Financial support is available covering administration, monitoring, evaluation and control.

Financial and Technical information

Operational Programme 'Lower Austria'

Intervention Type

Operational Programme

CCI no

2007AT162PO001

Number of decision

C/2007/2059

Final approval date

04/05/2007

Breakdown of finances by priority axis

Priority Axis EU Investment National Public Contribution Total Public Contribution
Enhancing regional competitiveness through innovation and knowledge economy 99 540 000 99 540 000 199 080 000
Strengthening of regions and sites through mobilisation of endogenous potentials, competitive tourism, better environment, energy use and risk prevention 44 750 000 44 750 000 89 500 000
Technical assistance 1 356 798 1 356 798 2 713 596
Total 145 646 798 145 646 798 291 293 596