Operational programme 'Massif Central'

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


Additional tools


On 21 November 2007 the European Commission approved an operational programme for France's Massif Central for 2007-2013 (Modified decision C/2010/3343 - 26/05/2010).

This operational programme comes under the Regional Competitiveness and Employment objective and has a total budget of about €101 million. The aid provided by the European Union (EU) under the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) amounts to some €41 million, representing around 0.3% of Community contributions to France under the cohesion policy for 2007-2013.

1. Purpose and aim of the programme

The strategy of the operational programme is based in particular on:

  • regional issues highlighted by identification and analysis of the region’s weaknesses and potential;
  • the Community and national strategic framework setting out the principles for the allocation of Community funding.

Population decline, de-industrialisation and job losses linked to agriculture and crafts are the three characteristic features that mark the Massif Central. The operational programme therefore aims to reverse the decline in population, and that can only be achieved if the Massif Central becomes a land of opportunities, particularly for young people in employment.

A rich, diversified industrial and crafts fabric is already in place. Nevertheless its research and innovation capacities (a key factor in underpinning economic shifts) need to be strengthened. New wealth creation is essential to generate employment.

But employment alone is not enough to attract and hold the newcomers looking for jobs; men and women alike, they are also looking for quality of life, and that depends on efficient transport infrastructures, access to services and the environmental quality of the area. What the operational programme for the Massif Central has to build up, therefore, is the region's accessibility and attractiveness.

2. Expected impact of the investment

The success of the programme will be assessed in the light of progress against the following indicators:

  • 700 to 1000 new jobs;
  • 70 research and innovation projects;
  • 70 to 84 projects for economic, cultural and touristic development;
  • 50 information and communication technology projects ;
  • 7 renewable energy projects; 

3. Priorities

The operational programme hinges on four priorities:


Priority 1: attracting new populations

This priority aims to promote and structure intake capacity by:

  • developing business start-ups and take-overs;
  • supporting the integration of migrants;
  • encouraging the integration of women entrepreneurs;
  • developing active ageing
  • making the most of the ageing population,
  • coordinating integration policies (supply portals, initiatives with specific labels, etc.);
  • pooling resource, tools, exchanging experiences and decision-making tools;
  • networking players.

This priority also aims to adapt services to people and businesses by:

  • encouraging the supply of innovative, high-performance services for people and families (organising services across the entire region (telemedecine), quality accommodation, employment opportunities for spouses, etc.);
  • promoting integration by means of personalised training pathways;
  • supporting project promoters;
  • promoting and enhancing the image of the Massif Central.

Priority 2: wealth creation

This priority aims to create wealth by:

  • setting up networks of excellence in mechanical engineering, ceramics and meat products (support for inter-regional poles; research and technological development (R&TD); strengthening links between research, education and business; networking enterprises and supporting traditional economic values);
  • developing tourism (harmonising supply across the Massif Central; networking players; training service providers; reskilling and adapting infrastructures and developing sustainable tourism by exploiting the region's natural and cultural heritage).

Priority 3: appeal and accessibility 

This priority aims to develop infrastructures (roads and railways) and information and communication technologies (ICTs), protect the environment, manage water and enhance cultural heritage and identity.

The programme proposes to:

  • draw up an interregional map of the infrastructures across the Massif Central (linked to tariff politics, network complementarity, intermodality and access to small towns);
  • set up a monitoring unit;
  • innovate and experiment (mobility centres, user services, alternative forms of ‘soft’ transport, etc.);
  • carry our public information and education campaigns.

Where ICTs are concerned, the operational programme aims to:

  • develop infrastructures in areas that are not open to competition and interconnect networks, regions and collective resources (public services and innovative services);
  • set up a monitoring unit (technologies, pooling, interoperability, etc.).

Looking at environmental concerns, it is proposed to:

  • put a "renewable energies" scheme in place across the Massif Central (needs, potential, technologies, etc.);
  • support the development of new lines of activity (liquid wood, wood power, wind power, solar power and water power).

In water management, the programme aims to:

  • improve understanding of this resource and how to protect it (catchment areas, watersheds, inland waters and wetlands);
  • introduce sustainable management of resources in agriculture, tourism, energy and industry;
  • carry out public information and education campaigns.

Lastly, where cultural heritage and identity are concerned, the aim is to:

  • make the most of the region's natural, architectural and cultural heritage,
  • protect and renew its heritage;
  • promote cultural identity as a magnet for sustainable tourism.

Priority 4: technical assistance 

Technical assistance provides cofinancing for management, monitoring, evaluation, coordination, information and communication activities.

Financial and Technical information

Operational programme 'Massif Central'

Intervention Type

Operational Programme

CCI no


Number of decision

C/2007/5772 + C/2010/3343

Final approval date


Breakdown of finances by priority axis

Priority Axis EU Investment National Public Contribution Total Public Contribution
Attracting new populations 10 500 000 10 500 000 21 000 000
Wealth creation 14 000 000 15 000 000 29 000 000
Appeal and accessibility 14 671 407 14 500 000 29 171 407
Technical assistance 1 400 050 600 000 2 000 050
Total 40 571 457 40 600 000 81 171 457