Operational Programme 'Wallonia (Hainaut)'

Programme co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) under the Convergence Objective


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On 21 December 2007 the European Commission approved an Operational Programme for the Wallonia region (Hainaut) in Belgium for the period 2007-2013.

This Operational Programme comes under the Convergence objective and has a total budget of about 1.1 billion euros. The financing provided by the Community from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) amounts to some 449 million euros, representing about 19.9% of Community aid to Belgium as part of the cohesion policy for 2007-2013.

The planned national contribution amounts to about 621 million euros and may be partly met by Community loans granted by the European Investment Bank (EIB) and other lending instruments.

1. Purpose and aim of the programme

The particular aim of the 2007-2013 strategy for the ERDF and ESF (European Social Fund) Operational Programmes is to place the concepts of selectivity, sustainability, transversality, interactivity and networking at the centre of all the actions, for both managing authorities and operators.

As far as the actions are concerned, the development strategy will focus on restoring the urban competitiveness of the metropolitan area and enhancing the regional competitiveness of the rural areas. The emphasis must be placed on stepping up interactions among the various projects while ensuring that they take place in a joint context of integrated territorial development.

In other words, they must play an active part in devising a strategic vision for the economic and social development of the industrial basin or rural areas.

The detailed description of the strategic priorities makes it possible to estimate that the proportion of Community funds allocated to the Lisbon Strategy priorities will be more than 68% in the case of the ERDF.

2. Expected impact of the investment

As far as the programme is concerned, the overall indicator is the creation of jobs. The objective is that by 2015 some 6 500 direct jobs will have been created through the programme. The expected overall impact, taking into account indirect and derived effects, is on that basis estimated at about 16 200 new jobs.

3. Priorities

The Operational Programme has four priorities:

Priority 1: Job and business creation [about 36% of total investment]

The aim of this priority is to act directly in favour of economic actors with projects for investment and business creation with a view to developing Hainaut's production base in industry and commercial services. The priorities for action have been chosen with a view to stimulating economic activity, particularly business creation, and promoting local entrepreneurship. In addition to support for investment projects, this first priority will endeavour to improve development conditions for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and very small enterprises (VSEs) in Hainaut by means of novel and innovative services geared to management, information and communication technologies (ICT), business creation and entrepreneurship, internationalisation and networked economic activity.

Priority 2: Development of human capital, knowledge, know-how and research [about 22% of total investment]

In close synergy with the objectives of priority 1, the second priority of the Operational Programme will focus on developing and exploiting Hainaut's potential for research and technological innovation, non-technological innovation and the development of efficient infrastructures for skills training. This second priority has several operational levels: direct support for R&D projects from SMEs, strengthening centres of excellence, follow-up service provision to the area's enterprises and, lastly, the development of efficient infrastructures for disseminating knowledge relating to new technologies to the working population and young people.

Priority 3: Balanced and sustainable territorial development [about 40% of total investment]

The aim of this priority is to restore the appeal of the area by establishing and exploiting competitive business infrastructures. The aim is also to support integrated projects for urban regeneration, enhancement of the region's heritage, and reclamation of industrial and urban wasteland, especially by rehabilitating derelict built-up areas. The rehabilitation of wasteland and urban renewal are essential prerequisites for restoring the appeal of the province, both for the population and for potential investors.

Priority 4: Technical assistance [about 2% of total investment]

This priority will provide support for the introduction of an effective management, monitoring and control system to evaluate the programme and its projects and handle communication and promotion.

Financial and Technical information

Operational Programme 'Wallonia (Hainaut)'

Intervention Type

Operational Programme

CCI no


Number of decision


Final approval date


Breakdown of finances by priority axis

Priority Axis EU Investment National Public Contribution Total Public Contribution
Job and business creation 175 609 729 210 309 960 385 919 689
Development of human capital, knowledge, know-how and research 96 529 322 144 793 983 241 323 305
Balanced and sustainable territorial development 172 087 928 258 131 893 430 219 821
Technical assistance 5 002 556 7 503 834 12 506 390
Total 449 229 535 620 739 670 1 069 969 205