Commissioner Hahn commented on his visit:
"The Graphene Institute is an excellent example of how EU regional funding in the UK is supporting innovation and taking excellent ideas into the marketplace. We have turned EU regional policy into an investment tool that directly contributes to the creation of growth and jobs. Up to now for 2007-2013 the European Regional Development Fund has helped create 19,000 jobs and 6,600 businesses in the North West alone. With a new policy focused on key growth areas like energy efficiency, innovation, the digital agenda and support for small businesses, there are more opportunities for 2014-2020. I hope that people and businesses in Manchester will keep up the pace and will continue to show other regions across Europe how these kinds of strategic EU investments can make a difference".
Under the previous financing round (2007-2013), the North West had a total budget of GBP 641 million (Euro 756 million). According to provisional figures announced by the UK government, Manchester alone could be eligible for GBP 343 million (Euro 415.6 million) for the next financing period (2014-2020). This would come from a total UK allocation of around 11.6 bn euros.
In addition to the Graphene Institute, other key projects in Manchester include: the Landing, a state-of-the art space at Media City in Salford, the regeneration of Manchester Victoria Interchange and a modern centre for SMEs from the biomedical sector on the site of the former Royal Eye Hospital (due to open soon).
After Manchester, on Friday 28 February Commissioner Hahn will be in London to join the new National Growth Board and discuss how EU investments under regional policy could fit in with other efforts to revive the UK economy after the crisis. He is then expected to meet the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, to discuss how to build on the success of initiatives like the Green Growth Fund using EU investments to help leverage finance for business and regeneration projects.