The European Commission has approved, in principle, a set of programmes under Objective 2 of the Structural Funds which will support regeneration in eight Italian industrial regions. The Community funding, totalling ECU 720 million, will contribute to the creation of around 8,000 jobs and ensure that a further 70,000 are safeguarded. The regions concerned are: Piemonte, Valle d'Aosta, Lombardia, Veneto, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Liguria, Marche and Umbria. These areas fall into two groups, based on the character of the traditional industrial base. In some, large firms in manufacturing and heavy industries have dominated. These areas generally have good infrastructure and strong possibilities for diversification. In other areas, local industry has been dominated by SMEs, which face difficulties in operating in international markets and suffer from a lack of quality services. The programmes approved by the Commission, for which Community funding will be matched by financing from the government and the private sector, will see total investment of around ECU 2 billion. The main priorities will be: - Development and strengthening of SMEs; - Innovation and technology transfer; - The environment and sustainable development; - Tourism; - Transport infrastructure; - Local employment initiatives; - Training. Final approval of these programmes is expected for May 1997.