The European Commission has today adopted the 2014‑2020 'Operational Programme' for Scotland worth over 1 billion euro, with some €477 million coming from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
The investments will boost research, technological development and innovation, particularly in sectors of regional importance, such as offshore wind, wave and tidal energy production, marine bio-sciences and the food and drink sector.
For the Highlands and Islands, a so-called 'transition region' in EU Regional Policy categorisation, a special focus will be on increasing high-speed broadband coverage, while all of Scotland's small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will be supported to modernise and become more competitive, even on global markets.
Welcoming the adoption, European Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Crețu said: "Today we have adopted a vital investment package that will benefit all of Scotland's citizens from the Hebrides, highlands and islands to the cities of Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen. These investments will help Scotland's regions to capitalise on their strengths, boosting research into key sectors that can bring real economic growth. No region and no citizen should be left behind as we strive to meet our goals for a more competitive and resource-efficient economy. "
Today's investment package also foresees measures to increase resource efficiency to counteract and lower the negative impact on the environment of industry and of high concentrations of population. It will also finance green infrastructure to improve quality of life, ease and accessibility in the nation's large towns and cities.
The programme is expected to support some 11,600 SMEs nationwide, creating 9,400 jobs. In the remote and rural areas of Scotland's Highlands and Islands, over 11,800 additional households and over 1,500 more businesses will gain high-speed broadband access thanks to ERDF investment. This extended broadband coverage to remote areas of Scotland will also facilitate the roll-out of e-health services and reduce the isolation effects on citizens of these regions.
The EU regional investments will be broken down as follows:
- Research, technological development & innovation: €111.5 million
- Access to, and quality of information and communication technologies: €25m
- SME competitiveness: €143.7m
- Shift to a low-carbon economy: €131m
- Environmental protection and resource efficiency: €56m
OP Budget breakdown:
Total value: € 1,013,138.558
EU co-financing (Contribution from ERDF) € 476,788.331
of which: Transition (Highlands and Islands): € 111,957.083
More developed (the rest): € 364,831.248
The 'transition region' category, in general, contains many regions which have been 'Objective 1' or 'Convergence' regions in the past. This category has been extended to include all regions that are in a similar situation when considering the level of GDP/head.
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