Operational Programme 'Aquitaine'

Co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) under the Regional Competitiveness and Employment objective


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On 30 July 2007 the European Commission approved an Operational Programme for the region of Aquitaine (France) for the period 2007-2013.

This Operational Programme comes under the Regional Competitiveness and Employment objective and has a total budget of about 1.3 billion euros. The financing by the European Union under the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) amounts to some 392 million euros, representing about 2.7% of Community aid to France as part of the cohesion policy for 2007-2013.

1. Purpose and aim of the programme

The draft proposal for a Commission Decision adopting the Operational Programme for Community financing from the ERDF under the Regional Competitiveness and Employment objective for the region of Aquitaine (France) is the result of discussions and negotiations between the Commission and France.

The strategy of the Operational Programme is based primarily on:

  • regional issues highlighted by an identification and analysis of the region’s potential;
  • strategic Community guidelines and the national strategic framework defining the principles for the allocation of European funding.

The programme was devised with the idea of contributing proactively to the objectives of the Lisbon Strategy with regard to economic competitiveness and employment by providing significant support to intervention capacity for research and technology transfer and by targeting interventions geared to innovation and the information society, while at the same time focusing particular attention on the environment and sustainable development.

Innovation, information and communication technologies (ICT) and energy are thus the main themes of this programme, which targets as a matter of priority small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

2. Expected impact of the investment

The quantitative objectives are primarily to:

  • increase expenditure on research and development (R&D);
  • increase high-speed Internet connections;
  • cut regional greenhouse gas emissions;
  • increase the contribution of renewable energy sources to energy production;
  • improve the quality of water;
  • create 9 000 jobs by 2015.

3. Priorities

The competitiveness of the Aquitaine region requires innovation capacity to be strengthened. The region has tremendous potential in this area, and this is demonstrated by the identification of four pôles de compétitivité (competitive clusters) for the aircraft industry, lasers, future maritime pine and food/health, together with four other proposed clusters.

Other features of the Aquitaine region are its cultural and scenic assets, its quality of life and its particular link to the sea. In the face of the challenge posed by climate change, environmental protection is vital for the development of the region's appeal and competitiveness.

On the basis of these assets, the Aquitaine region has opted to put innovation and sustainable development at the core of its regional development. The detailed description of the strategic priorities makes it possible to estimate that the share of Community funding devoted to the Lisbon priorities is nearly 74% for the ERDF and nearly 81% for both the ERDF and the European Social Fund (ESF).

The Operational Programme is centred on four priorities:

Priority 1: Promoting the knowledge-based economy [about 46% of total investment]

This priority is devoted to promoting the knowledge-based economy and aims to:

  • boost public and private economic research efforts in quantitative and qualitative terms;
  • encourage the growth of SMEs by developing their potential for innovation in order to reach new markets and to strengthen involvement in the construction of the European Research Area.

Priority 2: Developing information and communication technologies (ICT) for the benefit of the information society [about 10% of total investment]

Information and communication technologies are crucial to the development of a knowledge-based economy and society. The Aquitaine region is lagging behind, primarily because of its geographic position and the distribution of its small enterprises, and this issue therefore requires a special effort. The objective is specifically focused and comprises six main action areas covering governance, access and usage.

Priority 3: Exploiting energy and environmental potential [about 30% of total investment]

Enhancing and protecting the environment in the Aquitaine region and preventing the effects of activities are vital to preserving the region's natural and cultural identity and are essential for maintaining and developing its appeal and competitiveness.

Priority 4: Sustainable development of the specific territories [about 12% of total investment]

Three types of territory – the coast, sensitive urban districts and territories undergoing change – have to cope with economic, social and environmental risks. They must consequently be accorded special attention.

Priority 5: Technical assistance [about 2% of total investment]

Technical assistance will make it possible to co-finance activities relating to management, monitoring, organisation evaluation, information and communication.

Financial and Technical information

Operational Programme 'Aquitaine'

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
Promoting the knowledge-based economy 175 000 000 326 716 667 501 716 667
Developing information and communication technologies (ICT) for the benefit of the information society 45 000 000 95 000 000 140 000 000
Exploiting energy and environmental potential 114 000 000 318 500 000 432 500 000
Sustainable development of the specific territories 47 000 000 146 899 747 193 899 747
Technical assistance 11 371 063 18 951 772 30 322 835
Total 392 371 063 906 068 186 1 298 439 249