Operational Programme 'Basque Country'

Programme under the 'Regional competitiveness and employment' objective


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On 28 November 2007, the European Commission approved an operational programme for the Autonomous Community of Basque Country covering the period 2007-2013.

This operational programme comes under the "Regional competitiveness and employment" objective and has a total budget of around €500 million. The assistance provided by the European Union via the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) amounts to some €241 million, which represents about 0.7% of Community contributions in Spain under the cohesion policy 2007-2013.

The planned national contribution amounts to €260 million and may be made up partly of Community loans granted by the European Investment Bank (EIB) and other loan instruments.

1. Purpose and aim of the programme

The development strategy is based on the accumulation of assets which are the region's strengths, particularly its science and technology network and its substantial investment outlay on research and development (R&D).

From the detailed description of the strategic guidelines it can be estimated that the proportion of Community funds devoted to the Lisbon priorities represents over 91% of the ERDF financing, with substantial support for the knowledge economy, innovation and business development (more than 77% of resources).

With this in mind, the operational programme's strategic objective is focused on convergence, both technological and social, with the most advanced regions in the EU. This main objective underlies the priorities of the programme, namely:

  • to stimulate innovation and the knowledge economy;
  • to promote sustainable development and risk prevention;
  • to strengthen local and urban territorial cohesion.

2. Expected impact of the investments

Despite its small volume, (it represents only 0.06% of the region's GDP in annual terms), the Community assistance, together with the national contribution, will have a significant impact on the Basque Country economy.

To be more precise, the Community programme should result in the creation of almost 2 700 jobs, co-financing of more than 7 400 research, development and innovation (R&D&I) projects, the creation of 15 research centres and the mobilisation of over €560 million in private investment.

3. Priorities

The operational programme is structured around four priorities, plus a technical assistance priority.

Priority 1: Knowledge economy, innovation and business development [approx. 71.5% of total investment]

There are two main objectives under this priority:

  • to increase the rate of investment in R&D as a proportion of GDP;
  • to improve businesses' productivity and competitiveness.

In this context, the programme focuses on boosting the potential of the Basque system of innovation, support for businesses' investment in R&D&I and the spread of new information and communication technologies (ICTs). The lines of action envisaged concentrate on measures to improve businesses' competitiveness and internationalisation, particularly actions to stimulate research and innovation, technology transfer, cooperation between enterprises and their diversification, development of entrepreneurship and development of new financial instruments.

Priority 2: Environment and risk prevention [approx. 3% of total investment]

This second priority, together with priorities 3 and 4, reflects the Autonomous Community's wish to incorporate the environment into its economic and social policies, so that sustainable development is the fundamental criterion guiding territorial and sectoral policies, especially those relating to industry, agriculture, energy and transport.

In this context, this priority contributes to sustainable development by strengthening the synergies between economic growth and environmental protection and taking positive action in the restoration of industrial centres and contaminated land, the prevention of environmental risks and the promotion of natural activities.

Priority 3: Energy resources and access to transport services [approx. 20% of total investment]

This priority is aimed at reducing the negative impact of transport on energy consumption, boosting energy efficiency and developing renewable forms of energy.

In operational terms, it means improving security and accessibility by reconciling mobility with quality of life and the environment while fostering energy efficiency and savings and the development of renewable forms of energy in order to meet the targets set by the international community under the Kyoto Protocol.

Priority 4: Local and urban sustainable development [approx. 4.5% of total investment]

On account of the concentration of the population in urban areas, it is necessary to reconcile the constraints arising from this demographic reality with sustainable development while maintaining towns and cities as driving forces for growth.

Drawing on the experience gained from the Community initiative URBAN, the measures under this priority will also focus on local development, supporting integrated urban regeneration projects, actions relating to protection of cultural heritage and measures to integrate the most disadvantaged.

Priority 5: Technical assistance [approx. 1% of total investment]

This technical assistance will provide support for the management, follow-up, evaluation and monitoring of the operational programme and for communication and publicity activities.

Financial and Technical information

Operational Programme 'Basque Country'

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
Knowledge economy, innovation and business development 179 754 959 179 754 959 359 509 918
Environment and risk prevention 6 652 377 6 652 377 13 304 754
Energy resources and access to transport services 40 177 390 59 370 142 99 547 532
Local and urban sustainable development 11 626 671 11 626 671 23 253 342
Technical assistance 2 370 760 2 370 760 4 741 520
Total 240 582 157 259 774 909 500 357 066