Operational programme 'Italy-Switzerland'

Programme under the “European Territorial Cooperation” objective, co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)

Switzerland

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On 20 December 2007, the European Commission approved the “cross-border cooperation operational programme: Italy – Switzerland” for Community assistance from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) under the European Territorial Cooperation objective in Italy and Switzerland. The total cost of the programme is 92 million euros. The maximum contribution from the ERDF to the operational programme is 69 million euros, which represents around 0.8% of Community aid under the “European Territorial Cooperation” objective.

In Italy, this programme covers the Autonomous Region of Valle d’Aosta, the region of Piedmont (the provinces of Verbano-Cusio-Ossola, Biella, Vercelli and Novara), the region of Lombardy (the provinces of Varese, Como, Lecce and Sondrio), the Autonomous Province of Bolzano and, as neighbouring areas, the provinces of Turin and Alessandria (Piedmont) and the provinces of Pavia, Milan, Bergamo and Brescia (Lombardy). In Switzerland, it covers the cantons of Valais, Ticin and Grisons.

The whole cooperation area is characterised firstly by an area of the Alpine mountains that is sparsely populated but endowed with an exceptional natural and environmental heritage, and secondly, by an area of lakes which, owing to its more low-lying character, acts as a link in its privileged position between the main axes of communication between the North and the South.

The “Italy-Switzerland” programme covers an area of 61 000 km2, 38 000 of which are neighbouring areas located along the approximately 700-kilometre border. This area constitutes one of the external borders of the European Union (EU), representing a central and strategic position for Europe and, in relation to the areas of cross-border cooperation in the Mediterranean, the centre of Europe and the Alpine area.

1. Purpose and aim of the programme

The aim of the cross-border cooperation strategy of “Italy-Switzerland” is to improve cooperation between border areas in the fields of accessibility, innovation, optimal use of natural and cultural resources and sharing of infrastructure and integrated services, so as to increase competitiveness at southern European and world levels and to secure the cohesion of the geographical areas in question and encourage job creation and sustainable development.

The programme’s strategic objectives, in line with the overall objective and the priorities set out in the legislation, are as follows:

  • to combine development of the area with sustainable environmental management through joint management of natural risks and to safeguard, manage and enhance environmental resources, integrate the agri-forestry sector and promote innovation and joint experimentation;
  • to stimulate development of an economy based on innovation and integration of tourist resources and transport networks in the cross-border area by providing incentives for cooperation between small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) on both sides, and to improve networks and services;
  • to improve quality of life in the area by strengthening cooperation in social and institutional fields and by developing the cultural heritage through efforts to strengthen a common identity by protecting and enhancing the cultural heritage, supporting information and communication initiatives for citizens, integrating education, training and the labour market, and strengthening the cooperation process in social and institutional settings;
  • to secure improvements in the effectiveness of the programming and implementation of the operational programme and to guarantee Suitable levels of information and communication.

2. Expected impact of the investments

The programme will aim to foster:

  • protection, management and optimal joint use of natural and cultural resources;
  • protection against natural and technological risks.

It will make it possible to implement a joint programme for sustainable development and cultural promotion in the area of cooperation.

It will also extend collaboration and promote the creation of networks to improve access to public services, particularly in the sectors of health, culture, tourism and education, and strengthen links between urban and rural areas in order to contribute to territorial cohesion.

Finally, completing this programme will make it possible to improve access to physical and non-physical networks and transport services, so as to foster closer integration of these networks and make them more competitive. The programme will also encourage the joint development of innovation and entrepreneurship with a broader objective, that of the competitiveness of SMEs.

3. Priorities

The operational programme is structured around four priorities:

Priority 1: environment and territory [approx. 25.2% of total investment]

The aim here is to promote the protection, management and optimal joint use of natural and environmental resources and protect against natural and technological risks, and to promote harmonious integration within the agri-environmental sphere to strengthen links between urban and rural areas, thereby contributing to territorial cohesion for sustainable development.

This priority aims to improve access to physical and non-physical networks and transport services, so as to foster closer integration of these networks and make them more competitive.

Priority 2: competitiveness [approx. 38.8% of total investment]

This priority aims to encourage the joint development of innovation and entrepreneurship, in the context of the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), industry, agriculture, crafts, tourism and cross-border trade with a view to building up competitiveness within this cross-border area.

This priority aims to improve access to physical and non-physical networks and transport services, so as to foster closer integration of these networks and make them competitive.

Priority 3: quality of life [approx. 30.1% of total investment]

The aim of this objective is to:

  • improve quality of life by boosting collaboration in the sectors of health, culture, tourism and education;
  • promote the creation of networks to improve access to public services;
  • strengthen links between urban and rural areas in order to contribute to territorial cohesion.

Priority 4: technical assistance [approx. 6.0% of total investment]

This priority will provide support for the introduction of an effective management, monitoring and control system to evaluate the programme and its projects and for communication and publicity under the programme.

Financial and Technical information

Operational programme 'Italy-Switzerland'

Intervention Type

Operational Programme

CCI no

2007CB163PO035

Number of decision

C/2007/6556

Final approval date

20/12/2007

Breakdown of finances by priority axis

Priority Axis EU Investment National Public Contribution Total Public Contribution
Environment and territory 17 334 750 5 778 250 23 113 000
Competitiveness 26 683 500 8 894 500 35 578 000
Quality of life 20 685 750 6 895 250 27 581 000
Technical assistance 4 107 858 1 369 286 5 477 144
Total 68 811 858 22 937 286 91 749 144