Regions undergoing conversion in the European Union
period 2000-06, the priority Objectives of the Structural Funds have been reduced
to three, so that aid can be concentrated on the regions that need it most. Of
these three Objectives, Objective 2 relates specifically to areas undergoing socio-economic
conversion. The 12 national maps of the areas qualifying for Objective 2 aid have
been approved by the European Commission.
The selection criteria
the Commission decides whether an area can receive financing under Objective 2
is a relatively simple procedure.
Objective 2 for the period 2000-06 now
includes the former Objectives 2 (conversion of declining industrial regions)
and 5(b) (development of rural areas). But it goes even further than that. It
now also covers urban areas and areas dependent on fishing.
In order to
concentrate aid on the most affected regions, no more than 18% of the Community
population can qualify for the measures carried out under Objective 2. With this
ceiling in mind, the European Commission established the number of potential
beneficiaries in each of the 12 countries concerned.
All regions in
the three remaining countries, namely Greece, Portugal and Ireland, are either
totally or transitionally covered by Objective 1.
Each Member State submits
its own choice of areas, based on the fixed maxima and the definition
of areas . The Commission then analyses these proposals and, in co-operation
with the Member State, draws up the final lists of qualifying areas.
Member States' specific local characteristics do, of course, have a bearing on
the allocation of aid. Thus, most of the funding allocated to Objective 2 in Belgium,
Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom, Finland and Sweden is earmarked for industrial
areas. Rural areas predominate in Denmark, France and Austria, while Luxembourg,
Belgium and the Netherlands attach a special importance to urban areas.
A painless good-bye
In the 1994-99 period,
some regions eligible for Objectives 2 and 5(b) made great progress and, as a
result, they are no longer eligible for Objective 2 in 2000-06. However, Community
support for these regions has not been broken off brutally. They will benefit
from transitional aid from the Structural Funds and so continue to receive degressive
funding from the ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) until 2005 and from
the ESF (European Social Fund), EAGGF (European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee
Fund) and FIFG (Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance) until 2006 for the
horizontal measures they undertake.
Detailed maps of the eligible areas
can be viewed on the Inforegio website
Breakdown of beneficiary populations, by country
% of the country's total population)
|Spain || |
|Italy || |
|Netherlands || |
|United Kingdom|| |
The evolution of the eligibility criteria
for Objective 2
Objective 2: conversion
of declining industrial regions.
To qualify for this Objective, regions had
to present the following characteristics:
rate above the Community average
of persons in industrial employment higher than the Union average
declining employment in that sector
Objective 5(b): development of vulnerable rural areas
relatively low development
large number of agricultural workers
low population density
migration from rural areas in evidence
Industrial areas which meet the same criteria as the former Objective 2.
Rural areas which must meet two of the following four criteria:
density lower than 100 inhabitants/km2
- high number of agricultural
- unemployment rate higher than the average
Under certain conditions, areas other
mentioned above can qualify for Objective 2 funding. They may be, for
rural areas where the agricultural workforce is not renewing itself.
Urban areas with one of the following five characteristics:
unemployment rate higher than the Union average
- high levels of poverty
- high crime rates
- low levels of education
Areas dependent on fishing occupying a significant number of workers
in this sector, where the restructuring of the fishing industry is likely to lead
to a significant fall in employment.