Operational Programme 'Centre Region'

European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) - Regional competitiveness and employment objective


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On 7 August 2007, the European Commission approved the Operational programme for Community assistance from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) under the Regional competitiveness and employment objective in the Centre Region of France for the 2007-2013 period. The programme amounts to a total of around €575 million, including a Community contribution via the ERDF of approximately €196 million, i.e. an average Community cofinancing rate of about 34%.

1. Strategic objectives and priorities of the operational programme

The Centre Region chose to focus on innovation, sustainable development, accessibility and regional competitiveness in its regional development strategy.

To increase its capacity for innovation, the Centre Region will make use of "competitiveness poles" such as "sciences and electrical energy systems", "the science of beauty and well-being" and the European pole of excellence for energy efficiency, which have already been approved, and other emerging poles.

Efforts to increase the accessibility of areas in the Centre Region include the development of alternative forms of transport and the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs). The Centre Region also has a rich natural and cultural heritage, which it intends to preserve to ensure that both urban and rural parts of the region remain attractive and competitive in the long term. The development of the tourist economy is part of the regional strategy.

On the basis of a detailed description of the strategic priorities, the share of Community funds allocated to the priorities of the Lisbon strategy can be estimated at around 65% for the ERDF and almost 82% for the ERDF and the ESF together.

2. Estimate of the impact of EU investment

Community financing should contribute to the creation of  5 600 jobs, the development of 200 cooperation projects involving businesses and research centres, a 30% increase in the tonnage handled by local railway operators, the contruction or re-construction of 53 kilometers of railways, and an increase from 250 to 539 in the number of trains converting from diesel to electric traction on the Nantes-Lyon line, as a transport measure to help reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.

3. Priorities

The operational programme has three main priorities and one technical assistance priority:

Priority 1. Supporting research, innovation and the development of businesses

This priority covers research, technological and non-technological innovation, the development of the regional economy and business support. The aim is to allow businesses to achieve a sufficiently high level of excellence to compete on the world market by: 

  • supporting research and structures contributing to the development of innovation in businesses
  • strengthening public-private partnerships
  • improving the economic environment of businesses
  • developing measures to promote innovation
  • supporting innovative, energy-efficient practices.

Priority 2. Improving regional accessibility

Measures to improve the accessibility and attractiveness of the region include alternatives to road transport for the movement of passengers and goods, with the introduction of high-speed networks to break the isolation of the areas concerned, and experimenting with new uses of Information and Communication Technologies.

Priority 3. Increasing the long-term attractiveness and competitiveness of the region

The Centre Region consists of three large areas: the "franges franciliennes" on the fringes of the Ile-de-France, where there is a high degree of polarisation; the Loire valley, which accounts for most of the region's population and activities, confirming its role as the driving force in the region, but which is vulnerable to natural and technological hazards and, finally, the south of the region, which is experiencing demographic decline and is facing difficult changes in its employment zones and reduced accessibility. The priority is to help increase the long-term attractiveness of these areas and their competitiveness by supporting projects which incorporate social, economic and environmental issues.

Priority 4. Technical assistance

Technical assistance allows the joint-financing of management, monitoring, evaluation, leadership, information and communication activities.

Financial and Technical information

Operational Programme 'Centre Region'

Intervention Type

Operational Programme

CCI no


Number of decision

C(2007)3868 + C(2011)1598

Final approval date


Breakdown of finances by priority axis

Priority Axis EU Investment National Public Contribution Total Public Contribution
Supporting research, innovation and the development of businesses 110 500 000 108 071 429 218 571 429
Improving regional accessibility 36 500 000 101 011 125 137 511 125
Increasing the long-term attractiveness and competitiveness of the region 42 310 000 63 153 335 105 463 335
Technical assistance 6 875 531 6 875 531 13 751 062
Total 196 185 531 279 111 420 475 296 951