Operational Programme 'Canary Islands'

Pogramme for Community assistance from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) under the 'Regional competitiveness and employment' objective in the Autonomous Community of the Canary Islands

Spain

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On 3 December 2007 the European Commission approved the operational programme (OP) for Community assistance from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) under the "Regional competitiveness and employment" objective for the Autonomous Community of the Canary Islands. The total cost of the programme is 1.67 billion euros, with a Community contribution of 1.02 billion euros.

1. Strategic objectives and priorities of the operational programme

The programme aims to help the Autonomous Community of the Canary Islands catch up in the field of research and development by focusing on its potential (biodiversity, maritime sector, renewable sources of energy, etc.), and also to combat the structural obstacles hampering its development (poor accessibility due to its island status and its remoteness from mainland Europe; territorial fragmentation into 7 islands; rugged terrain limiting the area suitable for establishing commercial activities; fragile environment).

The programme will make a significant contribution towards the objectives of the Lisbon strategy (76% of the expenditure will be directed towards the "Lisbon" priorities).

2. Estimated impact of EU investment

The anticipated effects of the programme are as follows (estimates):

- creation of around 8 700 jobs;

- mobilisation of private investment to the tune of around 814 million euros;

- tripling of the proportion of R&D expenditure in the regional GDP;

- connection of virtually all households and enterprises to the Internet;

- 74% increase in the proportion of private expenditure in R&D;

- 9% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions;

- 40% increase in the proportion of renewable energies in the total installed capacity.

3. Priority axes

1) Development of the knowledge economy

On the basis of the Canary Islands' Plan "Research-Development-Innovation 2007-2010", this priority aims to increase regional investment in R&D and the proportion of private-sector investment in this field, and thus to help reduce the region's dependence on the tourism sector through diversification of economic activities.

The programme will support the R&D capacity of the technology centres and universities in the Canary Islands and the transfer of these technologies to SMEs, which make up the bulk of the region's productive fabric (89% of enterprises have between 1 and 5 employees). In particular, it will permit the creation of a Centre for the provision of innovation services to enterprises and the establishment of sectoral groupings designed to foster synergies between enterprises.

2) Development and innovation by and for enterprises

This priority aims to promote entrepreneurship within the islands' society, to provide spaces for economic activities, adapting them if necessary, and to help internationalise the productive fabric.

The main beneficiaries will be SMEs. Special efforts will be launched in the field of eco-innovation and towards seeking new solutions to give enterprises greater access to sources of funding.

3) Environment, Water resources and Prevention of risks

Water being such a precious commodity in the Canary Islands, improving the water infrastructures and water use is a vitally important need. The measures planned will essentially consist of continuing the drive to equip factories with seawater desalination facilities and modernising existing water distribution plants for farming activities.

Biodiversity protection will consist of operations to restore habitats and species, construction of infrastructures for conserving habitats and species and for raising public awareness, acquisition of instruments for monitoring the marine environment and acquisition of areas of land for the protection and regeneration of the environment.

4) Transport and Energy

The main aims of this priority are to improve links between the Canary Islands and the outside world and to reduce the archipelago's dependency on oil (which accounts for around 90% of energy consumption).

The transport measures will be aimed at consolidating the safety and quality of the archipelago's ports and airports and their competitiveness on the international markets. In particular, they will involve improving the airports of Gran Canaria, Tenerife North and Tenerife South and enlarging quays, terminals and cargo handling areas at a number of seaports.

The programme will also support the construction of two LNG (liquefied natural gas) regasification plants on Tenerife and Gran Canaria, as well as various renewable-energy projects (wind power, solar power, biomass, hydroelectric power, geothermal power).

5) Local and urban sustainable development

The aim of this priority is to strengthen cohesion throughout the territory by implementing integrated urban and rural regeneration projects in small and medium-sized municipalities and to boost citizen participation in public management and in the improvement of local services.

6) Social infrastructures

The aim of this priority is to enable the Canary Islands to address the shortages of infrastructures (predominantly health infrastructures) caused by the combined effects of pressure of demand (increases in the resident and seasonal population) and territorial fragmentation.

The measures planned are designed to provide the Autonomous Community with a network of adequate medical centres and hospitals, and to improve facilities and equipment in the existing centres.

7) Technical assistance and Strengthening institutional capacity

Technical assistance will permit the cofinancing of management, monitoring, evaluation, animation, information and communication activities.

8) Reduction of additional costs hampering the development of the outermost regions (Investment expenditure)

The aim of this priority is to develop the infrastructures which are indispensable for overcoming the handicaps associated with outermost region status, essentially the problem of poor accessibility. The funding will thus be channelled primarily towards transport and communications infrastructures. The bulk of the measures will be carried out on the "non-capital" islands (the islands of the archipelago other than Tenerife and Gran Canaria).

9) Reduction of additional costs hampering the development of the outermost regions (Operating expenditure)

The operating costs of both public and private services are heavier in an "outermost" region such as the Canary Islands than on the mainland, chiefly on account of the geographical remoteness, the ruggedness of the terrain and the fact of being an archipelago. The main aim of this priority, therefore, will be to offset the additional operating costs arising from the poor accessibility and territorial fragmentation. The funding envisaged will chiefly be used to support aid for the sea and air transportation of goods and for the launching of new transport lines.

Financial and Technical information

Operational Programme 'Canary Islands'

Intervention Type

Operational Programme

CCI no

2007ES162PO011

Number of decision

C/2007/6120

Final approval date

03/12/2007

Breakdown of finances by priority axis

Priority Axis EU Investment National Public Contribution Total Public Contribution
Development of the knowledge economy 112 422 816 19 839 319 132 262 135
Development and innovation by and for enterprises 105 973 570 35 324 524 141 298 094
Environment, Water resources and Prevention of risks 66 016 196 22 005 399 88 021 595
Transport and energy 103 570 542 41 801 914 145 372 456
Local and urban sustainable development 32 386 826 10 795 610 43 182 436
Social infrastructures 108 121 435 36 040 477 144 161 912
Technical assistance and Strengthening of institutional capacity 1 113 704 196 538 1 310 242
Reduction of additional costs hampering the development of the outermost regions (Investment expenditure) 244 846 336 244 846 336 489 692 672
Reduction of additional costs hampering the development of the outermost regions (Operating expenditure) 244 846 336 244 846 336 489 692 672
Total 1 019 297 761 655 696 453 1 674 994 214