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Commission approves RESIDER II Programme for conversion of the Lorraine steelmaking region

On a proposal from Monika Wulf-Mathies, Commissioner responsible for regional policies and cohesion, the Commission has adopted a programme intended to support the departments of Meurthe-et-Moselle and Moselle, and three cantons of the Meuse department (Etain, Spincourt and Ve...
On a proposal from Monika Wulf-Mathies, Commissioner responsible for regional policies and cohesion, the Commission has adopted a programme intended to support the departments of Meurthe-et-Moselle and Moselle, and three cantons of the Meuse department (Etain, Spincourt and Verdun-East), in coping with conversion processes in the steel industry. The programme has been adopted under the Community RESIDER II initiative.

The Community contribution to the programme amounts to ECU 31,109,000, which will provided by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Social Fund (ESF). Community funds account for about 42% of the total expenditure on the programme.

The resources allocated to this programme will be directed to three complementary priorities:

- Supporting the creation and development of businesses by improving advisory and other shared services and by strengthening support for new economic activities and for training facilities (ECU 19,754,000). Within this context, the ERDF is to help in financing MECANICA, a joint services centre set up to assist mechanical engineering and metalworking firms in the Thionville area;

- Improving environmental and urban attractiveness, with particular attention to the treatment of evacuated industrial waste water (ECU 10,888,000);

- The development of skills relevant to the conversion of local economies: This will involve supporting local promotional projects and making better use of experience and skills acquired within the eligible areas with a view to forming a "centre of excellence" for techniques and know-how (ECU 935,000).

Overall, the programme will devote the majority of its funds to reinforcing the quality of advisory services and the business environment based on appropriate selection criteria, giving priority as far as possible to initiatives involving cooperation between municipalities. The Structural Funds will, for instance, be helping to establish two major industrial parks (100 hectares).
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