Operational Programme 'Rhône-Alpes'

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


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On 14 August 2007 the European Commission approved an Operational Programme for the Rhône-Alpes region in France for 2007-2013 (Decison modified C(2009)10482 - 17/12/2009 and C(2011)2069 - 30/03/2011).

This Operational Programme comes under the Regional Competitiveness and Employment objective and has a total budget of about 812 million euros. The financing provided by the European Union under the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) amounts to some 334 million euros, representing about 2.3% of Community aid to France as part of the cohesion policy for 2007-2013.

The part of the aid supporting the objectives of the Lisbon Strategy concerning competitiveness and employment amounts to 67.8% of the ERDF funding for the region.

1. Purpose and aim of the programme

The draft proposal for a Commission Decision adopting this Operational Programme 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 identifying and analysing the region's weaknesses and potential;
  • the Community and national strategic framework establishing the principles for the allocation of Community funds;
  • the analysis of the region reveals a dual strategic need in order to ensure long-term competitiveness:
  • ensuring regional economic growth by focusing on areas of excellence;
  • pursuing an active strategy to boost regional cohesion and sustainable development by promoting the objectives of social cohesion and environmental protection.

With regard to innovation and the knowledge-based economy, the region of Rhône-Alpes has considerable potential for growth (with 15 centres of competitiveness), which puts its second among regions in France and 33rd at European level. The region thus has some significant assets which can be exploited in sectors such as biotechnology, digital technology, electronic components, health and pharmaceuticals. Efforts in the areas of research and innovation must also be continued in order to encourage the creation of lasting employment and to avoid falling behind Europe's better-performing regions.

Another feature of the Rhône-Alpes region is its diversity throughout the region. The analysis in fact reveals the significance of local disparities, especially sizable differences in the unemployment rate. The fragile areas need to be made part of the more dynamic approach of the growth areas, and local partnerships need to be encouraged in order to foster overall cohesion. The rural areas present specific issues which will have to be considered in order to contribute to their sustainable development. The issues affecting the urban areas must also be tackled, namely, problems of economic development, sustainable development and cohesion. The emphasis in the region will be on an integrated approach to tackle these various issues.

The principles which have been identified as guidelines for the ERDF programme for the new period include:

  • Community value-added;
  • employment and social cohesion;
  • sustainable development and innovation as key elements in the development of the region;
  • anticipating social, agricultural, economic and environmental changes;
  • rationale behind the project and, in particular, regional planning.

2. Expected impact of the investment

The Community aid should in particular make it possible to:

  • boost the potential of training, research and innovation, by conducting 150 cooperation projects between research and industry, together with 150 actions to publicise and promote the spirit of entrepreneurship between now and 2013;
  • encourage the development of enterprises by supporting 1 200 innovative enterprises and maintaining the level of enterprise creation in fragile areas, especially urban areas in difficulty, with the creation of 800 jobs;
  • improve environmental quality and ensure sustainable development for the Rhône-Alpes region by cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 2% by 2013;
  • strengthen the competitiveness of the region by allocating 30 million euros of ERDF funds (between 75 and 100 million euros of total cost) information and communication technologies (ICT) and by ensuring 100% Internet broadband coverage for enterprises and municipalities in the region by 2013.

3. Priorities

The Operational Programme for the Rhône-Alpes region is centred on six priorities:

Priority 1: Innovation and knowledge-based economy [about 38% of total investment]

The two main aims of the first priority are to:

  • support technological innovation for the benefit of enterprises by increasing the proportion of research and development (R&D) in the activity of enterprises, by supporting the exploitation of research and technology transfer, by improving the access of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to research and innovation and by bringing SMEs closer together through support for the organisation and planning of sectoral initiatives;
  • anticipate changes in order to provide support for SMEs and very small enterprises (VSEs).

Priority 2: Diversification and promotion of economic activities [about 25% of total investment]

The aim of this priority is to boost sustainable development in the region and to encourage the creation of jobs by supporting growth in economic activities, by making services accessible to the population and economic operators and by promoting the use of ICT.

Priority 3: Environment and risk prevention [about 13% of total investment]

The aims of the actions under the third priority are to:

  • combat global warming by focusing on energy efficiency, renewable energy sources and transport;
  • boost the appeal of the quality of life and the environment.

Priority 4: Accessibility – transport and ICT [about 15% of total investment]

The aims of the fourth priority are to:

  • develop multimodal and environmentally-friendly transport;
  • support innovative transport projects;
  • encourage access by enterprises and by the public to the information society by familiarising those involved with ICT, developing efficient services and developing and expanding digital services throughout the region.

Priority 5: The Rhône as a centre of economic development and environmental protection [about 7% of total investment]

The aim of the fifth priority is to contribute to the implementation of a strategy for the sustainable development of the river Rhône and the Rhône valley.

Priority 6: Technical assistance [about 2% of total investment]

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

Financial and Technical information

Operational Programme 'Rhône-Alpes'

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
Innovation and knowledge-based economy 121 000 000 123 643 067 244 643 067
Diversification and promotion of economic activities 85 000 000 104 767 442 189 767 442
Environment and risk prevention 46 000 000 49 450 000 95 450 000
Accessibility – transport and ICT 48 000 000 73 627 273 121 627 273
The Rhône as a centre of economic development and environmental protection 24 000 000 22 000 000 46 000 000
Technical assistance 10 049 596 3 349 865 13 399 461
Total 334 049 596 376 837 647 710 887 243