Operational Programme 'Styria'

Programme under Regional competitiveness and employment objective, co-funded by European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)


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The European Commission approved on May 4 2007 a regional development programme for the Austrian Bundesland of Styria for the period 2007-2013, the Operational Programme "Regional competitiveness Styria 2007-2013". This programme involves Community support for Styria within the framework of "Regional competitiveness and employment" objective ("phasing out" regions not included). The total public budget of the programme is around EUR 310.1 million and thereof the Community assistance through the ERDF amounts to EUR 155.1 million (approximately 10.61% of the total EU money invested in Austria under Cohesion policy 2007-2013).

1. The purpose and aim of the EU investment

The overall objective of the programme is to strengthen the competitiveness and innovation potential of the regional economy and to keep Styria as an attractive region, while observing the principles of sustainable development and gender equality. This approach shall guarantee the quality of life, income and employment of all inhabitants of the Bundesland.

With GDP per capita of 110.8% of EU average Styria belongs to the upper average regions of the European Union with a good standard of living and quality of the environment. However, to meet the challenges of the globalising world and significant changes at the EU internal market after the 2004 eastern enlargement of the Union, well-targeted support to specific sectors is essential to strengthen the economy in a further way. To increase the competitiveness and assure a long-term growth of the economy it is essential that Styria plays an important role in Europe. Networking with the neighbouring regions and the European centres should contribute to achieve these objectives. Development of marketable products and services as well as the innovation of the regions should concentrate on the specific strengths, to allow a balanced regional development. The programme shall promote innovation and knowledge-based economy and creation of permanent jobs, with the aim of increasing research & development, thus substantially contributing to achievement of the Lisbon strategy objectives. Gothenburg's objective of sustainability, as well as the principle of gender mainstreaming has received a special status of horizontal objectives in the programme.

2. The expected impact of the investment

The programme will ensure creation of 1.800 new jobs, out of which 250 in the research & development sector, trigger a total investment of EUR 944 million (six times the Community assistance), install additional renewable energy capacity of 11 MW and decrease the greenhouse gases emissions by 110,000 tonnes/year.

3. Priority axes

The principal objectives of the Regional Competitiveness Styria 2007-2013 programme are: establishment of innovative and knowledge-base oriented economy and increasing attractiveness of all regions of the Bundesland. The Regional Competitiveness Styria 2007-2013 programme is structured into the following priority axes:

Priority axis 1: Strengthen the innovation and knowledge-based economy

In the current period of globalisation, Styria's enterprises face a strong competition on the EU and world markets. In this context, improving innovation and promoting knowledge-based economy is of a crucial importance, as well as increasing quality and technological standards in sectors with comparative advantages. One of the key issues is a successful application of the research & development outputs in practice. Small and medium enterprises are the key success factor and stand in the focus of the programme, with wide range of support activities from establishing the company up to networking and clustering with others as well as innovation-orientated key-investments.

Priority axis 2: Strengthen the attractiveness of the regions and sites

The local and regional conditions of development are very different in the individual parts of Styria. The adequate use of regional potentials as well as chances has to become a common objective of the Bundesland and the regions. Special key-projects in the field of tourism should help to set up innovative offers in areas with geographical and natural handicaps. The increased individual traffic presents another challenge for which a sustainable solution should be found. Fully in line with EU and Austrian policies in the environmental sector, the programme will provide increased support for renewable energy and increasing the energy efficiency. The Bundesland will also be able to draw on EU funds for specific assistance to urban development of the capital Graz.

Priority axis 3: Governance and Technical assistance

There is also provision for technical assistance in order to implement the programme. Financial support is available covering administration, co-ordination, monitoring and evaluation, exchange of information and control as well as policy learning issues and discovering new fields of strengths for the region.

Financial and Technical information

Operational Programme 'Styria'

Intervention Type

Operational Programme

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Number of decision


Final approval date


Breakdown of finances by priority axis

Priority Axis EU Investment National Public Contribution Total Public Contribution
Strengthen the innovation and knowledge-based economy 132 398 529 132 398 529 264 797 058
Strengthen the attractiveness of the regions and sites 19 909 285 19 909 285 39 818 570
Governance and Technical assistance 2 754 040 2 754 040 5 508 080
Total 155 061 854 155 061 854 310 123 708