Operational Programme 'Catalonia'

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


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On 7 December 2007, the European Commission approved a Community Operational Programme for the Autonomous Community of Catalonia in Spain for the period 2007-2013. This Operational Programme comes under the Regional Competitiveness and Employment Objective; its total budget is around €1.4 billion. The funding provided by the European Union under the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) amounts to almost €679 million, which represents around 1.9% of Community contributions in support of Spain in the framework of cohesion policy for the period 2007-2013.

1. Aim and purpose of the programme

The development strategy of the Autonomous Community of Catalonia focuses on achieving the objectives of the Lisbon Strategy, namely:

  • restoring the foundations for competitiveness;
  • boosting the potential for growth and productivity;
  • strengthening social cohesion through research, innovation and the upgrading of human capital.

Community funding for the objectives of the Lisbon Strategy accounts for over 58% of contributions under the ERDF.

The development of the knowledge economy, research and technological development (RTD), the information society, business development and local and urban sustainable development are at the heart of Catalonia's strategy for sustainable, integrated development.

Its ultimate aim is to enhance the attractiveness of the region and the overall competitiveness of its economic system.

2. The expected impact of the investment

The implementation of the programme is based on the results to be achieved:

  • a 0.016% annual increase in real terms in the growth rate of gross domestic product (GDP);
  • an increase in research and development (R&D) expenditure from 1.36% of GDP in 2006 to 3% of GDP by 2013;
  • an increase in average expenditure per business on the protection of the environment from €690 to €1 150 by 2013.

3. Priorities

The operational programme is structured around five priorities:

Priority 1: Knowledge-based economy, innovation and business development [around 53% of total investment]

The aim of this priority is to support the region's move towards a knowledge-based society. This involves creating new scientific and technological infrastructures and fostering the competitiveness of businesses through the promotion of RTD, business innovation and the dissemination of information and communication technologies (ICT).

Special attention is paid to technology transfer and the improvement of cooperation networks among businesses, including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), universities, colleges, regional authorities, research centres and hubs of science and technology. Priority is given to projects in the following sectors:

  • genomics and proteomics;
  • bio-engineering, nanotechnologies and photonics;
  • palaeontology and palaeo-ecology.

The regional authorities should therefore set up a management delegation for the "global grant" benefiting the CIDEM, a regional government body specialised in innovation policy.

Furthermore, given the importance of SMEs in the Catalan economy, measures to encourage entrepreneurship and new financing instruments, such as JEREMIE, will be introduced for their benefit.

Priority 2: Environment and risk prevention [around 8% of total investment]

The fundamental aim of this priority is to improve the environmental potential of Catalonia in order to further sustainable economic development while protecting the natural environment by using natural resources cleanly and rationally and by establishing environmental risk alert and prevention mechanisms.

The prevention of forest fires and the protection of biodiversity in the region, particularly in the Pyrenean region, will be given special attention.

Priority 3: Energy resources and access to transport services [around 19% of total investment]

In view of the region's high energy dependency, the aim of this priority is to support

the promotion of energy savings and renewable energies.

Furthermore, in order to meet the growing demand for transport services in a population essentially concentrated in the Barcelona region, this priority supports the construction of an intermodal railway station at Barcelona airport and the widening of motorways, reserving one lane for public transport.

Priority 4: Local and urban sustainable development [around 19.3% of total investment]

Population growth in Catalonia, particularly over the last ten years, has generated new needs and led to the development of new regional support instruments.

The Spanish national and regional authorities have decided to base their approach on the URBAN Community initiative, introducing aid for integrated projects for local and urban development. Priority is given to projects underpinned by prior consideration of the region's future and all related aspects: economic, social, environmental, cultural, etc.

Two calls for proposals will also be launched with a view to financing projects in the field of tourism and culture, which are key sectors in a region where, for example, tourism provides 200 000 jobs.

Priority 5: Technical assistance and the strengthening of institutional capacity [around 0.7% of total investment]

Technical assistance is provided for the management, monitoring, evaluation, control, coordination, information and communication activities under the programme and for the operations carried out.

Financial and Technical information

Operational Programme 'Catalonia'

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-based economy, innovation and business development 360 628 594 360 628 594 721 257 188
Environment and risk prevention 56 741 123 56 741 123 113 482 246
Energy resources and access to transport services 113 700 993 153 784 382 267 485 375
Sustainable local and urban development 141 955 648 141 955 648 283 911 296
Technical assistance 6 047 870 6 047 870 12 095 740
Total 679 074 228 719 157 617 1 398 231 845