REACT-EU: more than €2 billion in additional cohesion funds for Greece, Germany, Belgium, Slovakia and France to invest in SMEs, skills, IT and more

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The Commission has approved the modification of eight European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and European Social Fund (ESF) operational programmes (OPs) in Greece, Germany, Belgium, Slovakia and France under REACT-EU, increasing them by a total of more than €2 billion.

These OP amendments will help the Member States and regions concerned to deal with the economic and social impact of the pandemic and boost a fair green and digital recovery.

In Greece, the changes to OP ‘Competitiveness, Entrepreneurship and Innovation’ will provide €1.6 billion to support 272,000 Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) by subsidising interests of existing loans and supporting the Guarantee Fund for Very Small Enterprises.

For Germany, in Hamburg, €20.3 million of additional funds will focus on SMEs/start-ups, research and innovation activities (Life Science, FabLabs), digitization in the tourism sector and on increasing energy efficiency. The measures also help to achieve the objectives of the ‘regional innovation strategy’ and the ‘Hamburger Klimaplan’, the local strategy to fight climate change.

In Baden-Württemberg, €86 million will mainly support research and innovation and help the region with its technology transfer in green and digital infrastructures.

Bavaria will receive €37 million to be invested in skills and training in the green and digital economy. It will also improve access to quality early childhood education and promote green jobs, environmental awareness and innovation.

The Schleswig-Holstein Land OP will be topped up with €11.6 million to train, coach and counsel people in order to find new jobs, support vocational training to adapt employees’ skills to the demands of the increasingly digital and green economy and to support pilot projects on digitalisation.

In Belgium, €30 million will be added to the OP ‘Wallonie-Bruxelles’ to help people affected by the coronavirus crisis find new jobs and prevent school dropout.

In Slovakia, the ‘Integrated Regional’ OP will be reinforced by €203.4 million for green public transportation, cycling tracks and measures to increase the energy efficiency of apartment buildings. It will also provide IT equipment and software for teachers and pupils, focusing on disadvantaged children, support public cultural institutions affected by the pandemic and develop regional centres for the implementation of EU funds.

Finally, in France, the OP ‘Picardie’ will receive €71 million to improve access to health services, support to network of SMEs, and to the green and digital transition in the education, public administration and health services.

REACT-EU is part of NextGenerationEU and provides €50.6 billion additional funding (in current prices) over the course of 2021 and 2022 to Cohesion policy programmes. Measures focus on supporting labour market resilience, jobs, SMEs and low-income families, as well as setting future-proof foundations for the green and digital transitions and a sustainable socio-economic recovery.

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