Operational programme 'Champagne-Ardenne'

Programme co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) under the 'Regional Competitiveness and Employment' objective

France

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On 18 October 2007 the European Commission approved an operational programme for the region of Champagne-Ardenne in France for 2007-2013 (modified decision 06/06/2011).

This operational programme comes under the ‘Regional Competitiveness and Employment' objective and has a total budget of around €674 million. The aid provided by the European Union (EU) under the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) amounts to some €186 million, representing about 1.3% of Community contributions to France under the cohesion policy for 2007-2013.

1. Purpose and aim of the programme

The strategy of the operational programme is based mainly on:

  • regional issues identified by diagnosis and analysis of the region’s weaknesses and potential;
  • the Community and national strategic framework establishing the principles for the allocation of Community funds.

The twelfth-largest of France’s regions in terms of area, Champagne-Ardenne, as a result of its geographical position and the activities of its population, is oriented towards both the Paris Basin and eastern France. Situated at the heart of the major trade routes between the North Sea, Flanders and Italy, Champagne-Ardenne has always been a region of transit. It also has a solid transport infrastructure, especially in the east–west direction, which was strengthened by the arrival of the TGV Est high-speed train in 2007.

However, the region displays substantial differences from one area to another. As regards social cohesion, it presents a very special profile, linked to the consequences of major industrial changes that are taking place and also to a weak urban structure which has no attraction for neighbouring areas. Furthermore, the decline of industrial activities, particularly in the steel and textiles industries, has led to an increase in the number of jobseekers and social minimum income recipients.

Champagne-Ardenne has a declining and ageing population, which is not without consequences for its economy and attractiveness. According to the latest demographic estimates, it is the only French region where the population declined between 1999 and 2005.

The region is also characterised by traditional activities which are being hit by international competition, and a level of development in the tertiary sector which is insufficient to counter the decline of industry.

However, the strong presence of agriculture and the agri-food sector is one of the region’s features and the key element in its production capacity. The agri-food sector, dominated by champagne, is the leading exporter and the sector which attracts the most investment. Champagne-Ardenne is active in the field of innovation and economic development in terms of new uses of agricultural resources, a role which is supported by a teaching and research pole oriented towards agronomy, viticulture, oenology and industrial processing.

The region’s environmental situation is relatively good, except for water quality (mainly as a result of the intensive use of the land for agricultural purposes) and the industrial environment.

2. Expected impact of the investment

Community funding should make it possible to:

  • consolidate and develop links between research, innovation and businesses;
  • improve the performance of businesses and support entrepreneurship;
  • make full use of the environment and promote sustainable development;
  • strengthen territorial cohesion and improve accessibility.

More specifically, in order to consolidate and develop links between research, innovation and businesses, it is anticipated that 65 new businesses will be genuinely involved in research projects and that innovation projects will be supported in 85 businesses, generating more than 200 new jobs.

In order to promote sustainable development, 30 new energy efficiency projects will be financed, creating 10 new jobs.

Finally, the reinforcement of the territorial cohesion and the improvement of accessibility objective will help financing more than 20 projects improving the economic, cultural and touristic attractivity of cities, and create more than 30 new jobs.

3. Priorities

The operational programme is centred on five priorities:

Priority 1: To consolidate and develop links between research, innovation and businesses [approx. 25.7% of total investment]

The aim of this priority is to promote research, development and innovation as the driving force behind growth and productivity. The region is characterised by the need to give new direction to traditional sectors of industry by supporting existing strong-points, such as the exploitation of agricultural resources or the medico-health sector. The plan is also to promote the implementation of research projects associating public or private laboratories or research centres with regional businesses and, as a priority, the regional SME fabric.

Priority 2: To improve the performance of businesses and support entrepreneurship [approx. 29.1% of total investment]

This priority is designed to ensure the emergence of new businesses and the growth of existing businesses, and to help them achieve better collective organisation, particularly in sectors which are not highly structured or in employment areas which are in crisis.

The aim is also to attract industrial, logistical or services projects which create a large number of jobs and to offer regional SMEs better conditions for their development in the face of international competition.

Priority 3: To make full use of the environment and promote sustainable development [approx. 22.1% of total investment]

The focus here is on priority areas already identified by preparatory work, on the basis of criteria which will allow real development in the environmental sector. Four measures are envisaged with a view to achieving the objectives:

  • establishing of a programme to combat climate change through pilot measures;
  • safeguarding and exploiting biodiversity and sensitive natural environments;
  • reducing flooding risks;
  • encouraging preparations and activities in the field of sustainable development, to benefit local authorities and SMEs.

Priority 4: To strengthen territorial cohesion and accessibility [approx. 21.8% of total investment]

Despite their relative stagnation, urban areas will host the major economic development and innovation projects in Champagne-Ardenne. These urban areas are also where most of the sensitive urban districts and depressed areas are located. Furthermore, the increase in regional disparities has also led to the marginalisation of rural districts.

This priority thus embraces two objectives, namely to assist:

  • urban areas, with a view, first, to consolidating the roles of the main cities and urban areas in the development of the region, so as to make them more competitive, and, secondly, to including their most depressed districts in a measure involving the disadvantaged groups living there;
  • small towns and rural areas, giving priority to strengthening the rural environment’s reception functions and to the hub functions of the region’s small towns, so as to meet the needs of people and businesses in the local area and surrounding rural districts.
  • In particular, the aim is to promote the establishing of a supply of quality services for businesses and individuals, as well as high-quality tourism to exploit the region’s natural and cultural assets.

Priority 5: Technical assistance [approx. 1.3% of total investment]

Technical assistance appropriations are to be used to:

  • improve the skills and performances of those involved in implementing the programme;
  • implement the management, monitoring and control system efficiently;
  • promote the objectives of the programme and communication concerning operations in this context.

Financial and Technical information

Operational programme 'Champagne-Ardenne'

Intervention Type

Operational Programme

CCI no

2007FR162PO008

Number of decision

C/2007/5207 + C/2011/3065

Final approval date

18/10/2007

Breakdown of finances by priority axis

Priority Axis EU Investment National Public Contribution Total Public Contribution
To consolidate and develop links between research, innovation and businesses 52 700 000 73 240 909 125 940 909
To improve the performance of businesses and support entrepreneurship 44 500 000 75 001 515 119 501 515
To make full use of the environment and promote sustainable development 40 500 000 69 988 968 110 488 968
To strengthen territorial cohesion and accessibility 42 300 000 102 397 209 144 697 209
Technical assistance 5 580 603 1 860 201 7 440 804
Total 185 580 603 322 488 802 508 069 405