Operational Programme 'Castile–La Mancha'

Programme under the 'Convergence Objective', co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)

Spain

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On 7 December 2007 the European Commission approved an Operational Programme for the Autonomous Community of Castile-La Mancha (Spain) for the period 2007–2013. The OP comes under the ‘Convergence Objective’ and has a total budget of around €2.1 billion. The assistance provided by the European Union through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) amounts to around €1.4 billion, representing approximately 4.1% of Community contributions to Spain under the cohesion policy for 2007–2013.

The national contribution amounts to €635 million, which may be partly covered by Community loans from the European Investment Bank (EIB) and other loan instruments.

1. Aim and purpose of the programme

The 2007–2013 Operational Programme is based primarily on:

  • the strategic guidelines and strategic framework which establish the principles for the utilisation of the Community Structural Funds;
  • the issues identified following the analysis of the territory’s potential;
  • the outcome of the previous phases of Community programming.

The OP will also help achieve the following objectives:

  • to increase regional per capita GDP so as to achieve convergence with the European average;
  • to increase regional productivity by improving production structures;
  • to increase the region’s activity and employment rates, especially for women.

2. Expected impact of investments

The global impact of the programme for the period 2007–2013 on the macroeconomic data for Castile-La Mancha is estimated at €1.3 billion in terms of gross value-added and the creation of 39 000 new jobs.

In the context of the ‘Knowledge economy’ priority, 23 technology centres are due to benefit from the OP, which should allow 630 pilot research projects and 690 information society projects to be carried out. The resulting activities are in particular expected to contribute to increases in expenditure on research and development (R&D) (from 0.41% to 2.5% of regional GDP), the female employment rate in the sector (from 33% to 50%), the percentage of citizens connected to the Internet (from 40% to 70%), and the percentage of businesses connected to the Internet (from 89% to 97%).

Some 13 300 companies should benefit from assistance under the ‘Entrepreneurial development and innovation’ priority. These projects should lead to increases in the innovation intensity rate (from 0.56% to 2.5%), the percentage of firms involved in exporting (from 1.80% to 2.60%), and the female employment rate (from 35% to 50%).

The ‘Environment and water resources’ priority covers 115 waste processing projects, with 579 000 inhabitants benefiting from 500 km of water supply network, 175 000 inhabitants benefiting from 175 km of waste water network, and 30 projects covering 40 km² in ‘Natura 2000’ zones. In terms of water infrastructure, the planned projects should contribute to increasing the volume of waste water treated from 0.27 to 0.35 m³ per inhabitant per day and, at the same time, to reducing water distribution losses from 18.4% to 16.4% of the total volume distributed.

Assistance from the 2007–2013 OP in the transport field should cover 31 km of trans-European network (TEN) railways and 28 km of TEN roads. Assistance provided in the renewable energy sector should make it possible to achieve a total capacity of 7 150 kW, with a saving of 17 850 tonnes of oil equivalent (toe).

3. Priorities

From the detailed description of the priorities and Community cofinancing of the expenditure they imply, it is estimated that 71.43% of the OP and 80.22% of all ERDF and European Social Fund (ESF) operational programmes for the Autonomous Community of Castile-La Mancha are devoted to the Lisbon priorities.

The Operational Programme is based on seven priorities:

Priority 1: Knowledge economy [approx. 9% of total investment]

The aim of this priority is to promote research, technological development and innovation (R&D&I) on the one hand, and the information society on the other. The envisaged assistance is based on the regional plans for scientific investigation, technological development and innovation (PRINCET) and telecommunications and the information society (PETSI).

In the first of those fields, the ERDF will contribute to the promotion of identified regional clusters and new strategic sectors, with research centre infrastructures and pilot projects, as well as aid for and investment at the level of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) whose activities are directly linked to research and innovation.

In the second field, the ERDF will target services and applications for SMEs (e-commerce and networking) and projects involving the identification and analysis of demand for such services, together with public interest centres and applications in the public sector (especially administration and health).

Priority 2: Entrepreneurial development and innovation [approx. 17% of total investment]

The second priority puts the emphasis on encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship in SMEs and, more specifically:

  • improving competitiveness and the promotion of an entrepreneurial culture;
  • promoting locally-generated capital and cooperation between enterprises;
  • internationalisation of activities;
  • promoting environmentally-friendly products and production processes.

Direct location aid and support infrastructures for SMEs are also included in this priority, where around a tenth of the anticipated expenditure will be allocated through the global grant to be managed by SODICAMAN, the regional corporation for industrial development.

Priority 3: Environment, natural surroundings, water resources and risk prevention [approx. 21% of total investment]

According to the initial programming, water resources infrastructure will take up 60% of total expenditure under this priority. The major supply projects between the Alcorlo dam and the Mohernando treatment plant and the enlargement of the Ciudad Real treatment plant are included in the OP as an indication.

The priority also includes three other areas of assistance:

  • promoting biodiversity and protection of the environment in the context of the ‘Natura 2000’ network, by recovering natural areas;
  • protecting river banks, restoring habitats and protecting species;
  • preventing natural risks, including infrastructure to protect against fires and floods and infrastructure to manage household and industrial hazardous waste.

Priority 4: Transport and energy [approx. 39.5% of total investment]

The transport activities envisaged concern first of all the TEN (high-speed line Madrid – Castile – La Mancha – Comunidad Valencia – Murcia) and the road network, total investment in which will account for around 60% of investment in the sector.

Other measures are planned, such as:

  • extending and improving the regional road network;
  • removing level crossings, for the safety of people and traffic;
  • developing multimodal logistic centres and intelligent transport systems;
  • encouraging clean urban means of transport.

The measures planned in the energy sector are part of the national and regional plans for energy efficiency and renewable energy forms. The aim is to promote the production and use of renewable sources (solar and biomass) and encourage measures to promote energy efficiency and cogeneration.

Priority 5: Local and urban sustainable development [approx. 9% of total investment]

Up to 70% of resources here will be allocated to integrated projects for the regeneration of districts or municipalities with more than 50 000 inhabitants and small municipalities or rural areas. This priority is based on the action areas proposed in the Commission’s Communication on Cohesion Policy and Cities. Other projects are planned with a view to improving tourist services and protecting and preserving the cultural heritage.

Priority 6: Social infrastructure [approx. 4% of total investment]

The two most important areas of assistance under this priority are education infrastructure and health infrastructure. Other facilities are planned for young children and for day centres for the elderly and disadvantaged groups.

Priority 7: Technical assistance [approx. 0.5% of total investment]

The purpose of this priority is to finance technical assistance for management, monitoring and follow-up activities on the one hand, and evaluation, information and communication activities on the other hand.

Financial and Technical information

Operational Programme 'Castile–La Mancha'

Intervention Type

Operational Programme

CCI no

2007ES161PO007

Number of decision

C/2007/6317

Final approval date

07/12/2007

Breakdown of finances by priority axis

Priority Axis EU Investment National Public Contribution Total Public Contribution
Knowledge economy (R & D, Information society, ICT) 143 939 389 35 984 859 179 924 248
Entrepreneurial development and innovation 247 020 925 105 866 112 352 887 037
Environment, natural surroundings, water resources and risk prevention 304 725 821 130 596 784 435 322 605
Transport and Energy 533 278 994 287 150 229 820 429 223
Local and urban sustainable development 127 391 636 54 596 412 181 988 048
Social Infrastructure 76 528 439 19 132 111 95 660 550
Technical Assistance 6 508 690 1 627 176 8 135 866
Total 1 439 393 894 634 953 683 2 074 347 577