Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Previous programme

REG-RECHAR 1

Programme funding

EUR 400 million

Official Journal Reference

C 180 of 1994-07-01
To promote the economic conversion and social renewal of coal-mining areas which have been seriously affected by decline in the sector, thus contributing to the reduction of disparities in development and living standards in the Community.

Abstract

The RECHAR II initiative is established to ensure the continuation during the period 1994-97 of the activities conducted under the first phase of the initiative (1990-93). The RECHAR initiative aims to accelerate the economic conversion of those areas worst hit by the decline in coal-mining, by means of supporting the development of SMEs, financing vocational training for miners made redundant or threatened by unemployment, improving the environmental surroundings of areas affected by coal-mining operations, contributing to the renewal of infrastructures, etc.

During the period 1990-93, the total value of programmes supported under the RECHAR initiative amounted to ECU 970 million at 1992 prices, of which ECU 313 million was provided by the ERDF and ECU 56 million by the ESF. The assistance from the structural funds was augmented by a contribution from the ECSC (redeployment aid under Article 56 ECSC, interest subsidies). The EIB also made loans available.

In terns of the economic impact, most of the RECHAR programmes in the 26 eligible areas involved investment in infrastructure (56% of the total), the promotion of new activities (27% of the total) and training and retraining (17% of the total). The bulk of investment in infrastructure related to the environment in areas which had become run down as a result of the declining mining industry.

During the period 1994-97, the type of schemes supported under RECHAR I are to be continued. However, the operational programmes must place a greater emphasis on measures supporting non-physical investment projects designed to improve the integration of SMEs into their local commercial environment, especially as regards innovation and technology transfer. Greater attention is also given to reinforcing technical assistance and exchanges of experience.

Problems relating to operating coal-mines fall within the remit of the ECSC and, as such, are beyond the scope of RECHAR.

Subdivision

Eligible measures:
- Environmental improvements of areas seriously damaged by coal-mining activity, including coal tip reclamation, the cleaning-up and conversion of disused coal-mining buildings and their surroundings, the modernization of such buildings for SMEs, etc.;

- Renovation and modernization of social and economic infrastructures (community facilities, roads, water and electricity supplies) in mining villages, provided that all these elements contribute to the economic regeneration of these areas;

- Construction of new advance factories units and workshop premises;

- Promotion of alternative economic activities, and in particular the creation or development of SMEs. Measures may include the promotion of cooperation between companies and research centres, universities, centres of technology transfer and training centres, assisting the promotion of innovation in industry and services, by means of the collection of information relating to product or process innovation and its dissemination, etc.;

- Assisting the promotion of tourist activities, especially those based on industrial heritage;

- Assisting the creation of increased activity of economic conversion bodies and regional development teams;

- Assisting vocational training and employment measures for any person, especially the unemployed, persons threatened with unemployment and persons employed in SMEs. Support is given for existing vocational training units as well as the construction of new facilities for vocational training of all kinds in coal-mining areas;

- Interest rebates on ECSC loans for investment in SMEs, and the reclamation of sites for industrial use;

- The promotion of cross-boarder cooperation between former coal-mining areas;

- Redeployment of aids available under Article 56 of the ECSC Treaty;

- Any other measure which contributes to the economic conversion of the area concerned and for which loans from the European Investment Bank can be approved.

Implementation

Operational programmes selected under the RECHAR II initiative are jointly financed by the Community and the Member States. Community assistance is in the form of loans or grants which may be funded by the European Regional and Development Fund (ERDF), the European Social Fund (ESF), the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and the European Investment Bank (EIB). The total contribution by the ERDF and the ESF to eligible RECHAR projects during the period 1994-97 is estimated at ECU 400 million.

The Commission, after consulting the Member States concerned, will publish a revised list of coal-mining areas eligible for support under RECHAR II in the Official Journal of the European Communities. Areas previously eligible for support under RECHAR I (Official Journal No C 177 of 18 July 1990) may continue to receive support during the period 1994-97, providing they are still eligible for Objective 1, 2 or 5(b) status. The Member States may also propose any other areas which conform to the eligibility criteria of Objective status and which meet the criterion of a minimum number of job losses in the coal-mining sector from the reference date of 1990.

In addition, the Member States may propose for eligibility a limited number of areas which do not meet the stated criteria and thresholds, providing the area in question has a high dependence on the coal-mining industry, and is hit by other problems such as high unemployment, environmental degradation, isolation or peripherality.

Member States having eligible areas in the revised list may submit to the Commission proposals for new operational programmes or global grants, or amendments to an existing operational programme supported under RECHAR I or to a decision in application of a Community Support Framework.

The Member States' proposals must include an appreciation of the situation indicating the objectives to be attained and should include a time table, criteria and procedures for implementation, monitoring and assessment. During and at the end of the planning period, the Commission will evaluate, in partnership with the Member States concerned, the results of the programmes submitted. The European Parliament, the Management Committee on the Community initiatives and the monitoring committees will be informed of the results of such evaluations and the action taken in response to them.

The Commission will seek to encourage cooperation between beneficiaries both within and between the Member States, in order to foster the exchange of experience, the dissemination of best practice, joint operations and comparative evaluations.

Remarks

RECHAR 2 was established by a Decision of the European Commission, meeting on 15 June 1994, in accordance with the provisions of the Regulations governing the Structural Funds.
Record Number: 481 / Last updated on: 2014-03-05