The European Commission has adopted the 2014-2020 "Operational Programme" for the Puglia region, worth €7.12 billion. Of these, €3.56 billion will be drawn from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Social Fund (ESF), and will be matched by equivalent national co-financing.
Corina Creţu, Commissioner for Regional Policy, said: "I warmly welcome the adoption of this ambitious program. It will unlock a large-scale investment that will create a favourable environment for innovation and entrepreneurship, thereby creating thousands of jobs. It will also boost the attractiveness of the region and improve the quality of life of its citizens."
Marianne Thyssen, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility added: "With more than €3.5 billion in EU funding available, more investments can be made to target growth and jobs in Puglia. The funding that will be invested in education and skills, strengthening health and social services and in promoting social inclusion and combat poverty, can greatly contribute to making the lives of citizens better in this region."
A significant amount of funding will be invested into the real economy: €1.1 billion for competitiveness, support to innovation and internationalisation of SMEs; €672 million for research and development, and in particular the cooperation between public and private research centres; €272 million for ultra-fast broadband and the digital agenda.
Infrastructure and sustainability investments represent the second pillar of the programme: €1.1 billion is earmarked for environmental protection and resource efficiency (waste and water sectors); €462 million for enhanced transport connections; €396 million for the transition to a low-carbon economy.
A third important aspect is the improvement of social services and education: €1 billion will be invested to promote social inclusion and combat poverty; €754 to foster work training and education; €540 million to support labour mobility and access to employment.
The expected impact of this Operational Programme includes:
- The creation of 1,500 new enterprises;
- An increase of public R&D expenditure from 0.5% to 0.7% of GDP, and of private R&D expenditure from 0.19% to 0.25% of GDP;
- 50% of population covered by ultra-fast broadband (100Mbs)
- An increase of exports, from 12.6% to 18% of GDP;
- A reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emission from 38.546 to 33.535 tonnes of CO2 equivalent;
- A ten-fold increase of the number of visitors to supported cultural and natural sites;
- The rehabilitation of 1 500 hectares of land;
- Improved wastewater treatment for 320 000 additional population;
- 3,500 new places in childcare or education infrastructure.