Operational Programme 'Sicily'

Co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) under the Convergence Objective

Italy

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On 7th September 2007, the decision approving the ERDF regional operational programme for Sicily 2007-2013 was adopted. Sicily is one of the "Convergence" regions. The total cost of the programme amounts to 6.54 billion euros and Sicily receives Community funding of 3.27 billion euros. The financial counterpart of Community assistance is provided by the central Italian administration, the region of Sicily and other public bodies. The rate of Community part-financing is 50% of eligible cost.

1. Purpose and aim of the programme

The overall objective of the programme is to contribute to increasing and stabilising the rate of growth of the regional economy by creating conditions in the region which are more attractive to productive enterprises. Competitiveness will thus be thereby promoted. Development must be sustainable with due regard paid to the environment and to social cohesion.

Industry, made up in large part by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), requires input from research and innovation so that it can be more competitive. The programme aims therefore to improve technological transfer. The programme aims to contribute significantly to the objectives of the Lisbon strategy (48% of ERDF assistance) with considerable support for research, technological transfer, innovation (approximately 12% of Community resources).

Many of the measures aim to improve the transport sector - transport equipment and accessibility in general, while paying due regard to the environment. Funding of rail transport in urban and metropolitan areas will be promoted. The programme will also seek to establish a more balanced transport system by increasing the importance of rail networks and ports. (which will represent 60% of financial resources allocated to transport infrastructure).

The programme will also promote the production and use of renewable energy as well as energy efficiency.

2. The expected impact of the investment

Impacts expected are as follows:

  • Increase in annual GDP to 2% (currently 1.5% per year),
  • Creation of 15 000 jobs,
  • Reduction on greenhouse gases emissions (– 0.5% of the total or 250 000 tons CO2 over the period).

3. Priorities

The regional programme for Sicily is structured in 7 priorities, as follows:

Priority 1. Mobility networks

This priority aims to improve accessibility for people and goods, with due regard for the environment. There is a clear preference for a better balance between the various modes of transport and the intention is to increase rail and port infrastructure. However, there will also be funding for roads, for instance, missing sections of the Syracuse-Gela motorway will be completed.

There will be a focus on improving mobility in the urban and metropolitan areas of Palermo (a railway going round the city and new tramway) and in Catania (the metropolitan line and new sections of the "Circumetnea" including a link to Catania airport). As well as having a positive effect for the environment; energy consumption should also be improved.

Priority 2. Efficient use of natural resources

All the measures aim at reducing energy dependence on traditional resources are contained in this priority. The production and use of renewable energy will be promoted as well as measures to promote energy efficiency. The methane gas distribution network will also be completed.

Besides energy, interventions in the sectors of water infrastructures, risk prevention and waste treatment will also be supported within this priority. As for the waste treatment, productive investments in the recycling sector will be financed.

Priority 3. Exploiting cultural and environmental resources to attract tourism and promote development

This priority aims at the promotion of sustainable tourism by the enhancement of the cultural and natural potential of the region. The preservation of historical premises and the support to SMEs linked to the management of the cultural heritage and the environmental networks are envisaged.

Aid schemes to productive investments in the tourism sector will mainly address the problem of the diversification of demand (off peak tourism).

Priority 4. Dissemination of research and innovation and Information Society

It is intended to promote global competitiveness through better integration of public and private research into the economy. There will be a special focus both on transferring the research results of public centres and universities to private enterprise, and on promoting and starting up enterprises in new sectors. Innovation will be fostered through specific aid schemes with a particular attention on clusters.

The diffusion of information and communication technologies (ICT) will be supported in order to increase the competitiveness of local SMEs as well as to reduce the digital divide affecting mainly the interior rural areas.

Priority 5. Development of enterprises and competitiveness of local production systems

The increase of competitiveness of local production systems will be pursued by supporting the development of clusters of large and small and medium-sized enterprises, the increase of the average size of local SMEs, the access of the SMEs to advanced services, the improvement of credit conditions mainly through 'guarantee schemes".

Priority 6. Sustainable urban development

This priority will promote measures in urban areas, some of which will be targeted at enterprises. Funding for social infrastructure and strengthening of regional health poles will also be supported.

In the framework of this priority there will also be measures to mitigate against the negative effects of traffic congestion and reduce atmospheric and acoustic pollution. Other measures foreseen are the clean up of polluted industrial sites and contaminated areas as well as risk prevention.

All these activities will form part of integrated sustainable plans.

Priority 7. Governance, institutional capacity-building and technical assistance

The following activities are foreseen under this priority: coordination, management, monitoring, evaluation, facilitating, information and communication.

Financial and Technical information

Operational Programme 'Sicily'

Intervention Type

Operational Programme

CCI no

2007IT161PO011

Number of decision

C/2007/4249

Final approval date

07/09/2007

Breakdown of finances by priority axis

Priority Axis EU Investment National Public Contribution Total Public Contribution
Mobility networks 719 356 560 719 356 560 1 438 713 120
Natural resources 801 101 625 801 101 625 1 602 203 250
Cultural and environmental resources 735 705 574 735 705 574 1 471 411 148
Dissemination of research and innovation and Information Society 163 490 128 163 490 128 326 980 256
Development of enterprises and competitiveness of local production systems 425 074 332 425 074 332 850 148 664
Sustainable urban development 359 678 280 359 678 280 719 356 560
Governance, institutional capacity-building and technical assistance 65 396 051 65 396 051 130 792 102
Total 3 269 802 550 3 269 802 550 6 539 605 100