Brussels, 10 Mar 2003
A programme of innovative actions in the West Midlands, which is receiving 2.85 million euro from European regional development fund (ERDF), was officially launched by Regional Policy Commissioner Michel Barnier on 7 March.
The main aim of the programme is to help forge partnerships between regional enterprise communities and public institutions, facilitating the transfer of knowledge and ideas so that regions can adapt quickly to changes in the global economy.
'These programmes represent my idea of Europe: a place where we can work together to create a better future of our children; a place where we preserve our diversity and develop our regional identity,' said Mr Barnier.
In addition to the European funding, the programme will attract a further 2.85 million euro from the public sector and 0.3 million euro from the private sector.
The West Midlands programme will look at setting up a number of innovative actions, including the creation of mechanisms and tools to help the region develop new jobs in the knowledge economy.
The new funding will also be used to develop information and communication technologies for the benefit of sectors and communities, including business and the rural and isolated parts of the region.
Finally, an innovation school will bring together businesses, universities and research centres, voluntary and community sectors, as well as local authorities and other support agencies to evaluate and offer advice on projects.
'The West Midlands region, one of the great success stories of the industrial age, is now seeking to redefine its role in the modern global economy. This programme will help to strengthen its capacity for innovation and to secure its future as an important player in the European economy,' concluded Mr Barnier. //CPA