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Ponta Delgada ,  November 20, 2013

Regional Government defines support for Small and Medium Companies as main priority under the new Community Support Framework

The Vice-President of the Government confirmed today in Angra do Heroísmo that the Region will be allocated a financial envelop of 1,546 million Euros under the Community Framework for the period 2014-2020.

Sérgio Ávila pointed out that the funds are eight million Euros higher than those granted under the current framework. The government official added that the negotiation of these funds was more complex due to "the ongoing financial adjustment programme in Portugal" and "the difficult economic and social situation in Europe." It is important to mention that the negotiations also took place in a context marked by the "announced reduction of Community funds for EU cohesion policy."

"For this reason, - and also because the Region has significantly converged towards the average levels of the European Union - some people in the Azores have predicted that one of the consequences would be the sharp decrease of Community funds," stated the government official.

According to Sérgio Ávila, the Regional Government has always defended that "it was unacceptable that the Azores would be penalised when they are the national region that has made the best use of EU funds; it was unacceptable that a possible reduction of funds would jeopardise the path followed by the Azores towards the convergence to the average levels of EU Gross Domestic Product."

Following the definition of the financial envelope in the amount of 1,546 million Euros, the Government of the Azores will be able to submit its operational programmes "on the date formally stipulated" without any delay in order to streamline the allocation of these financial resources to the Region," said the Vice-President.

With these resources, the Regional Government "intends to reinforce its policies for the promotion of economic activities and social equality." The allocation of funds for these areas was decided after a consultation process with social partners and political parties.

During the press conference held today, Sérgio Ávila emphasised the allocation 330 million Euros to reinforce the competitiveness of regional Small and Medium Companies.

"This is the main priority for the allocation of resources under the next Community Support Framework. The investments in this area are intended to strengthen the support to the creation and profitability of companies, promote our export capacity and reduce imports, and encourage the innovative spirit that should underlie the development of new projects," stressed the government official.

"In the specific case of the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD), a fundamental financial tool that supports one the main pillars of regional economy, the financial envelope is set at 295 million Euros, which represents an increase of 21 million Euros compared to current framework," announced the Vice-President.

In turn, European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF), an important tool in maritime policies and fisheries, will have a budget of 33 million Euros; this amount is similar to that allocated in the framework in force.

"The Government of the Azores has also decided to allocate 180 million Euros to the promotion of social inclusion and the fight against poverty under the financial provisions of ERDF and the European Social Fund. The aim is to invest in the fight against discrimination, improve the access to services, such as health care, develop social economies and support active inclusion, particularly through the promotion of employability," said Sérgio Ávila.

Additionally, a global amount of 100 million Euros will be allocated to the promotion of employment and the support to labour mobility, focusing on the integration of youngsters into the labour market, as well as to the development of entrepreneurial capacity, the enhancement of employability and the support to companies and workers in coping with change.

Other significant funds will be granted to the sectors of sustainable transport and regional mobility (109 million Euros), the use of renewable energies and energy efficiency (48.7 million Euros), environmental preservation (38.7 million Euros), adaptation to climate change and risk management and prevention (31.8 million Euros).

"Finally, the financial envelop for the area of Education and Training, a strategic sector for the future of the Region, is set at 239.4 million Euros. These funds will be invested in teaching, improvement of skills, training and qualification workers, especially of those who are currently unemployed," revealed Sérgio Ávila.

This sector will also be reinforced with the allocation of 48.7 million Euros with the aim of reinforcing research and technological development. Additionally, 12 million Euros will be awarded to improve the access to information and communication technologies.

Sérgio Ávila conveyed his belief that the strategic guidelines and investment priorities defined by the Regional Government for the Community Support Network 2014-2020 "correspond to the needs of the Azores as a region that wishes to continue following the path of development. It has enabled the Region to converge 11 percentage points towards the average European GDP in little more than a decade."


Official government press-releases presented in all foreign languages interfaces of the Azorean Government Portal (Portal do Governo dos Açores) are a sub-set of the government's official press-releases daily output and are chosen for translation and publication on the foreign language interfaces based on audience segmentation criteria. The entire collection of the Azorean government press-releases is available in portuguese, here, from the GACS Press Office site.

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