Operational Programme 'Puglia'

Under the Convergence co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)


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On 20 November 2007, the European Commission approved an Operational Programme for Puglia for the period 2007-13.

The Operational Programme falls within the framework laid out for the Convergence objective and has a total budget of around € 5.2 billion. Community assistance through the ERDF amounts to € 2.6 billion.

1. Purpose and aim of the programme

Cohesion policy in Puglia for the 2007-2013 period aims principally at promoting full convergence of the region in terms of growth and employment, while ensuring sustainability.

The regional operational programme for Puglia co-financed by ERDF has three objectives:

  • enhancing the attractiveness of the region, by improving accessibility, guaranteeing the quality of its services and by safeguarding the potential of the environment. This will be achieved through a sustainable development model based on greater efficiency of energy consumption and a significant increase in the production of renewable energy;
  • promoting innovation, entrepreneurship and development of the knowledge economy and also by promoting specialisation and productive districts;
  • creating increased conditions of well-being and social inclusion.

These objectives of the ERDF programme will work in conjunction with a number of transversal macro-objectives which are of fundamental importance for Puglia. These are to be found in each of the main areas of intervention:

  • Sustainable development
  • Equal opportunities
  • Spatial dimension of development

2. Expected impact of investments

The expected impacts of the PUGLIA programme, one of the largest ERDF programme in Italy are the following:

  • A growth rate in GDP between 2.4 and 3.1% (average annual percentage variation in real terms).
  • A growth rate in employment which will reach a level of between 48.6 and 50%.
  • Reduction in greenhouse gases, in particular CO2, is estimated at around 6.5%, as a result of improved public transport, with the accent on rail transport and a subsequent reduction in the use of cars. This will also be achieved through a steady increase in the production of renewable energies.
Operational targets in term of sustainable transport modes, separate waste collection, share of energy from renewable energies, off peak season tourism and Research and Development (R&D) public and private expenditure have been set, allowing a more strategic follow up of the programme (not just financial).

3. Priorities

The ERDF operational programme for Puglia is made up of 8 priorities:

Priority 1: "Promotion and dissemination of research and innovation for competitiveness

In line with the Lisbon strategy, the main aim is to increase the contribution of research and innovation and the Information Society to regional competitiveness; by emphasizing the close links between knowledge and the capacity of regional production to successfully take on the challenges of global markets. Increasing the present levels of regional innovation requires, in particular, an approach based on dissemination of knowledge among enterprises and the economic system as a whole.

Special attention will be paid to supporting the development of services in the advanced digital field; particularly with regard to SMEs and also with regard to innovative public services for enterprises and for the region's inhabitants.

Priority 2: "Sustainable and efficient use of environmental and energy resources for development"

In line with the Goteborg guidelines; this priority aims to promote the sustainable and efficient use of natural resources, guaranteeing environmental sustainability and adequate levels of environmental services for the public and for enterprise. Special attention will be paid to optimizing an integrated cycle of water and waste resources, as well as prevention of soil erosion; natural and technological risks.

The programme will contribute to improve the energy efficiency and increase the amount of energy produced from renewable resources with a view to significantly reducing emissions of CO2 into the atmosphere.

Priority 3: "Social inclusion and services to enhance the quality of life and the attractiveness of the region

The priority's main aim is to guarantee wellbeing and safety of the region's inhabitants and generally to improve conditions affecting development. Regional priorities will therefore be focused on a) strengthening social and health infrastructure networks and improving accessibility to services in urban areas and other areas b) increasing care services to individuals and families, c) creating new enterprises in the social care and health sectors: Special attention will be paid to increasing the safety and legality of the environment in which the region's inhabitants and enterprises work.

Priority 4: "Promoting the potential of natural and cultural resources to improve the attractiveness and development of the region

The main aim of this priority is to attract more tourists. This will be achieved by integrating environment and cultural policies and the tourism industry.

The priority will focus on innovative projects aimed at raising regional competitiveness by directing those working in the tourism industry towards product and market niches with the greatest value added; the aim being to attract more foreign tourists to the area and to encourage out-of-season tourism. The emphasis will be on promoting an integrated image of Puglia in terms of hospitality and the quality of services offered.

In promoting new forms of tourism, the regional strategy will focus on promoting the environment, the ecosystem and biodiversity. The starting point will be the National Park of the Gargano and numerous other protected areas.

Priority 5: "Networks and mobility links"

Almost all the interventions under this priority relate to strengthening sustainable forms of transport (rail and ports).

The programme intends to improve regional mobility; in particular a) to create a regional public transport system which is integrated in terms of networks, services and tariffs b) to develop local and urban transport networks which are sustainable and accessible c) to create an integrated and multifunctional regional logistic platform capable of strengthening the situation of entrepreneurs in the region, also by attracting national and foreign investment and by creating accessible services to commercial traffic in the Mediterranean.

Priority 6: "Competitiveness of productive systems and employment

The priority will support the structural transformation of regional industry. Support will be given to the competitive repositioning of traditional sectors, particularly exposed to competition from newly industrialized countries by supporting start-ups and the consolidation of firms producing specialised goods with value added. The regional strategy aims to create conditions which will improve the advantages of localisation and support the strategies of the productive system to expand to international markets. It will also strengthen networks and production chain strategies.

The priority will provide aid on a selective basis, with assistance to environmental sustainability projects, and facilitate access to credit and capital risk for SMEs.

Priority 7: “Competitiveness and attractiveness of cities and urban systems

The priority will support initiatives focused on enhancing the historical, cultural and environmental resources of Puglia's cities and urban areas which might risk being abandoned.

Two types of intervention are foreseen a) integrated urban development plans characterised by initiatives aimed at environmental sustainability and enhancement and, in particular, which will seek to contain the expansion of cities. This intervention is aimed at medium-sized cities and/or at large cities with physical, social and/or economic problems b) integrated development plans conceived for small town centres and aimed at improving infrastructure networks (such as transport, ecology networks aimed at reconnecting with the natural and cultural environment) as well as regenerating abandoned industrial areas and other areas.

Priority 8: “Governance, institutional capacity and competitive and efficient markets

The regional development of a region depends in large part on the role played by public administration.

The aim of this priority is to increase the capacity of administrations involved in programming and management of ERDF funds and in strengthening the involvement of the economic and social partners. Particular attention will be paid to initiatives which support the participation of diverse types of public and private actors in the implementation and evaluation of the operational programme and also in the programme’s information and publication activities.

Financial and Technical information

Operational Programme 'Puglia'

Intervention Type

Operational Programme

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Number of decision


Final approval date


Breakdown of finances by priority axis

Priority Axis EU Investment National Public Contribution Total Public Contribution
Promotion and dissemination of research and innovation for competitiveness 290 500 000 290 500 000 581 000 000
Sustainable and efficient use of environmental and energy resources for development 454 000 000 454 000 000 908 000 000
Social inclusion and services to enhance the quality of life and the attractiveness of the region 285 000 000 285 000 000 570 000 000
Promoting the potential of natural and cultural resources to improve the attractiveness and development of the region 196 000 000 196 000 000 392 000 000
Networks and mobility links 525 000 000 525 000 000 1 050 000 000
Competitiveness of productive systems and employment 551 000 000 551 000 000 1 102 000 000
Competitiveness and attractiveness of cities and urban systems 260 000 000 260 000 000 520 000 000
Governance, institutional capacity and competitive and efficient markets 57 521 978 57 521 978 115 043 956
Total 2 619 021 978 2 619 021 978 5 238 043 956