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Commission approves Dutch SME programme

The European Commission has given the green light for an ECU 26.86 million development programme for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in The Netherlands. The programme, which was put forward by Commissioner Monika Wulf-Mathies, is part of the Community Initiative for ...
The European Commission has given the green light for an ECU 26.86 million development programme for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in The Netherlands. The programme, which was put forward by Commissioner Monika Wulf-Mathies, is part of the Community Initiative for SMEs 1994-1999.

The programme will apply to the regions of Flevoland, Groningen-Drenthe, Twente, Arnhem-Nijmegen, Zuidoost Brabant and Zuid-Limburg (Objective 1 and 2 regions). The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Social Fund (ESF) will contribute ECU 10.34 million in total. The contribution of the Structural Funds will be matched by funds from national and regional authorities as well as by private funding.

The objective of the Dutch programme is to improve the competitiveness of SMEs in the eligible areas in order to strengthen regional production structures. The programme covers five priority areas and specifies certain measures eligible for funding:

- Production systems and technological innovation:
. Improvement of the accessibility of test and demonstration centres;
. Support and consultancy in regard to changing production systems;

- Cooperation between SMEs and research centres:
. Publicity and pre-actions of research centres for SMEs;
. Exchange projects between SMEs and research centres;

- Networking SMEs:
. Demonstration-projects networking;
. Development of communication tools for networking;

- Instruments for professional qualification and technological innovation:
. Development of tools for introducing new technologies in SMEs;
. Training aimed at implementing new technologies in SMEs;

- Technical Assistance and transnational exchange.

Local and regional authorities, intermediaries, representatives of industries and companies and others can apply for funding for projects within the framework of the SME-programme and according to the Regulations of the ERDF and ESF.

The programme has been agreed in the framework of the partnership between the Commission, The Netherlands and the regions. A national Monitoring Committee will be responsible for the execution of the Dutch SME-programme. Project applications will therefore be decided at national level.
DE

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