European Commission adopts €7 billion Operational Programme for the Italian region of Puglia

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The European Commission has adopted the 2014-2020 "Operational Programme" for the Puglia region, worth €7.12 billion. Of these, €3.56 billion will be drawn from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Social Fund (ESF), and will be matched by equivalent national co-financing. 

Corina Creţu, Commissioner for Regional Policy, said: "I warmly welcome the adoption of this ambitious program. It will unlock a large-scale investment that will create a favourable environment for innovation and entrepreneurship, thereby creating thousands of jobs. It will also boost the attractiveness of the region and improve the quality of life of its citizens." 

A significant amount of funding will be invested into the real economy: €1.1 billion for competitiveness, support to innovation and internationalisation of SMEs; €672 million for research and development, and in particular the cooperation between public and private research centres; €272 million for ultra-fast broadband and the digital agenda. 

Infrastructure and sustainability investments represent the second pillar of the programme: €1.1 billion is earmarked for environmental protection and resource efficiency (waste and water sectors); €462 million for enhanced transport connections; €396 million for the transition to a low-carbon economy. 

A third important aspect is the improvement of social services and education: €1 billion will be invested to promote social inclusion and combat poverty; €754 to foster educational and training to work; €540 million to support labour mobility and access to employment. 

The expected impact of this Operational Programme includes:

  • The creation of 1,500 new enterprises;
  • An increase of public R&D expenditure from 0.5% to 0.7% of GDP, and of private R&D expenditure from 0.19% to 0.25% of GDP;
  • 50% of population covered by ultra-fast broadband (100Mbs)
  • An increase of exports, from 12.6% to 18% of GDP;
  • A reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emission from 38.546 to 33.535 tonnes of CO2 equivalent;
  • A ten-fold increase of the number of visitors to supported cultural and natural sites;
  • The rehabilitation of 1 500 hectares of land;
  • Improved wastewater treatment for 320 000 additional population;
  • 3,500 new places in childcare or education infrastructure.

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