Operational Programme 'Extremadura'

Programme under the Convergence Objective, co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)


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On 28 November 2007, the European Commission approved a Regional Operational Programme for Extremadura in Spain for the 2007-13 period. The Operational Programme falls within the framework laid out for the Convergence Objective and has a total budget of around €2.3 billion. Community assistance through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) amounts to about €1.6 billion, which represents approximately 4.5% of the total EU investment earmarked for Spain under the Cohesion Policy for 2007-13.

1. Aim and purpose of the programme

One of the Programme’s aims is for the region to increase its economic growth rate such that the levels of GDP per capita and employment fall in line with the more developed regions in the EU, thereby stimulating the process of economic convergence. It also looks to extend the benefits derived from socio-economic progress to all territories and citizens throughout the region, in order to achieve high levels of cohesion within Extremadura.

The Programme will help increase economic competitiveness by investing more in research and development (R&D), encouraging private sector involvement and increasing the effectiveness of the regional system of science and technology. It will also boost the use and development of information and communication technology (ICT), which is a fundamental axis of the knowledge economy.

The activities will continue on from previous efforts to improve transport infrastructure, interoperability and territorial accessibility. The Programme will also contribute to preserving ecosystem and environmental diversity and optimising the management of natural resources, notably water resources and waste treatment, under the framework of a sustainable development model.

Efforts will be made to ensure greater social integration, reduce the vulnerability of groups at risk of exclusion and address local and rural development.

2. Expected impact of investments

GNP is expected to increase to 84.5% of the average of the 27 EU Member States and productivity by one-third by 2013. In addition, the Operational Programme should contribute to the creation of about 15 700 thousands jobs, a 0.3% reduction in the unemployment rate and the mobilisation of more than €1.7 billion of private investments. The combined impacts of the Programme could result in a regional Gross Regional Product (GRP) increase of 0.4%.

3. Priorities

The Operational Programme is structured along the following priorities:

Priority 1: Development of the Knowledge Economy (R&D&I: Information Society and ICTs) [approximately 5.4% of total funding]

The primary objectives under this priority are to:

  • contribute to increasing economic competitiveness through greater investment in R&D (encouraging involvement from the private sector in this);
  • increase the effectiveness of the regional system of science and technology;
  • increase the level of ICT use and develop ICT as a fundamental axis of the knowledge economy.

The strategic approach lies in the following:

  • combining financial assistance for investment in developing human resources;
  • boosting the training, mobility and ongoing learning of researchers in the area of research and innovation;
  • increasing investments in R&D;
  • promoting more private sector involvement in the technological innovation processes;
  • developing innovation among traditional sectors in the region in which Extremadura has comparative advantages;
  • developing new infrastructures, especially technology parks, thereby offering advanced services to companies;
  • ensuring intensive use of ICT in public services, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and among the population.

Priority 2: Entrepreneurial Development and Innovation [approximately 18.1% of total funding]

The primary objective here is to safeguard existing competitive enterprises and to create favourable conditions for their expansion as well as for business start-ups and relocations.

The strategic approach lies in the following:

  • combining financial assistance for investment and promoting economic growth and competitiveness in Extremadura by stimulating a change from the traditional agricultural sector towards industrial activities of greater added value;
  • encouraging business excellence;
  • incorporating intangible elements as factors of competitiveness (e.g. quality and management systems, corporate image and design);
  • modernising companies in traditional sectors;
  • stimulating cooperation among companies;
  • creating business networks.

Priority 3: Environment, Natural Surroundings, Water Resources and Risk Prevention [approximately 26.7% of total funding]

The strategic objectives here are to protect and preserve biodiversity, improve water infrastructures and waste management, prevent risks and control pollution.

The Programme also seeks to achieve the following:

  • preserve the natural heritage, create natural spaces and consolidate the protected areas in Extremadura, notably areas included in the NATURA 2000 network;
  • develop models for managing forest resources and the reforestation of degraded areas;
  • ensure sustainable use of natural resources;
  • supply enough quality water for the needs of the population and business activities (water supply and wastewater treatment);
  • prevent waste generation, promote its re-use and stimulate recycling.

Priority 4: Transport and Energy [approximately 30.5% of total funding]

The specific objectives under this priority are to:

  • improve transport infrastructure for better traffic flows through the road network and integrate Extremadura into the national communication network;
  • promote and improve the communication network with neighbouring territories;
  • promote accessibility within the region;
  • encourage energy efficiency and the use of renewable sources, namely solar, thermal, photovoltaic, biomass and wind.

Priority 5: Local and Urban Sustainable Development [approximately 11.7% of total funding]

The main objectives of the priority are to implement new integrated urban projects for cities in Extremadura and to preserve its historical, artistic, natural and cultural heritage.

The Programme also seeks to:

  • diversify tourism (eco-tourism, hunting, education, etc.) and improve the quality of tourism facilities and services;
  • promote the cities as modern locations for economic development;
  • encourage the preservation of historical, artistic, natural and cultural heritage in the cities in Extremadura;
  • stimulate socio-economic research directed at improving the preservation and management of heritage.

Priority 6: Social Infrastructures [approximately 7.5% of total funding]

The strategic objectives are to guarantee access to education and health systems and to extend the welfare infrastructure and services to all members of society.

The Programme seeks to improve education centre networks, renew and improve existing equipment, improve health facilities and equipment, and consolidate the social service networks in Extremadura, making them accessible for all members of society.

Priority 7: Technical Assistance [approximately 0.1% of total funding]

Funding has been allocated for technical assistance in implementing the Programme. This covers preparation, administration, supervision, assessment, information and communication, studies, evaluations and monitoring.

Financial and Technical information

Operational Programme 'Extremadura'

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
Development of the Knowledge Economy (Information Society and ICTs) 97 758 537 24 439 645 122 198 182
Entrepreneurial Development and Innovation 286 583 659 122 821 564 409 405 223
Environment, Natural Surroundings, Water Resources and Risk Prevention 423 856 251 181 652 677 605 508 928
Transport and Energy 450 211 311 240 561 588 690 772 899
Local and Urban Sustainable Development 185 156 279 79 352 692 264 508 971
Social Infrastructures 135 346 434 33 836 610 169 183 044
Technical Assistance 1 275 438 318 860 1 594 298
Total 1 580 187 909 682 983 636 2 263 171 545