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Commission provides ECU 9 million for Austrian SMEs

Austria is to receive ECU 9 million (OS 119 million) from the EU's Structural Funds to strengthen the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in its less-developed, rural and declining areas.

The aid, which is provided under the Community SME initiative, ...
Austria is to receive ECU 9 million (OS 119 million) from the EU's Structural Funds to strengthen the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in its less-developed, rural and declining areas.

The aid, which is provided under the Community SME initiative, will focus on promoting the use of advanced telematics in SMEs, the introduction of cleaner production techniques and a more rational use of energy and raw materials. Total investment is forecast at some ECU 35 million, with ECU 9 million being provided by the Austrian authorities and ECU 17 million coming from the private sector.

The actions funded will result in:

- Environmental audits in 350 SMEs;
- Provision of expertise to some 600 individual firms and to some 250 groups of companies in the fields of strategic planning, telematics, clean technologies and rational energy use;
- Setting up of a tele-cottage;
- Development of distance learning programmes;
- Training of 800 SME employees in the fields of telematics and environmental technologies.

The programme reflects the emphasis placed by the Commission on actions to strengthen the competitiveness of SMEs, which will, in future, depend crucially on their ability to make full use of advanced telematics and on their capacity to master environmental technologies.
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