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Commission to support cross-Channel cooperation

In the framework of the INTERREG II programme "Rives-Manche (Channel Coast)", the European Commission is to grant Structural Fund assistance of ECU 34.06 million for cross-border cooperation between the departments of Seine-Maritime and the Somme in France and East Sussex in t...
In the framework of the INTERREG II programme "Rives-Manche (Channel Coast)", the European Commission is to grant Structural Fund assistance of ECU 34.06 million for cross-border cooperation between the departments of Seine-Maritime and the Somme in France and East Sussex in the United Kingdom.

The Community funds will be matched by ECU 7.73 million from the private sector and ECU 38.98 million in government financing. This money is to be invested in strengthening regional integration in the cross-Channel area, developing centres of excellence in technology, tourism and the cultural sphere, and implementing joint strategies in the environmental field. Approximately 150 jobs should be created by this cross-border cooperation initiative.

Five priorities have been identified:

- Reinforcing communication and mutual awareness, in particular by creating joint databases and bilingual documentary sources, developing the use of new communications technology, and sharing experience with pilot projects;
- Cooperation in the fields of vocational training, education, research and technology: partnerships will be developed between training bodies to create joint training schemes, and between research institutions and transfers of technology to assist local SMEs;
- Economic development: heads of businesses are to be informed about legal and financial rules, standards and procedures, and support will be given to joint marketing projects and industrial cooperation (subcontracting, quality assurance, promotion of products). Awareness of and access to data transmission services will be encouraged by demonstration projects;
- Safeguarding and developing the environment: improvement of knowledge and of working methods (joint research, dissemination of information to the general public and to businesses, exchanges of environmental management experts). Schemes to upgrade and restore the urban and countryside heritage may be supported where they are part of a joint strategy and involve a high degree of cross-border cooperation;
- Development of cultural and tourist assets by support for the design, organization and marketing of tourism and cultural products in fields such as parks and gardens, farmhouse tourism, and aid for approved accommodation schemes.

Technical assistance is also envisaged to help implement the programme, keep local actors and the general public informed, design projects and assess the programme's results.
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