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From Toulouse to Albi: Ten things the EU has done for south west France

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From Toulouse to Albi: Ten things the EU has done for south west France
14:06 CEST+02:00
To paraphrase Monty Python, what has the EU ever done for us? Well, quite a lot actually. Here are just a few examples in south west France.

Presumably with an eye on the forthcoming European elections, the EU had published a guide to exactly what it does and where its funding goes - and there are some surprising entries from south west France.

The My Region section of the EU's new What Europe Does for Me site, created by the  European Parliamentary Research Service, allows people to search their home region to see how it has benefited from EU funds or investment.

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We took a look at the south west of France to see how it benefits from EU funds.

Transport - Toulouse's railway network recently underwent a major restoration. Of the €14 million needed to fund the project almost half - €6 million - came from the EU. In the Greater Angoulême region, transport is benefiting from EU grants for a new fleet of hybrid buses.


French beekeepers have been helped by the EU. Photo: AFP

Beekeepers - A south west France honey project has been the beneficiary of EU subsidies totalling €9,350. Set up in the 1960s, the  Miellerie des Sept Molles has a network of 700 beehives across the south of France. It produces and packages around 10 tonnes of honey a year, selling it direct to consumers.

Shopping - The picturesque Languedoc town of Albi saw a new shopping centre built in 2017, half funded by the EU. The centre in the Cantepau district received €900,000 for the EU (50 percent of the total cost) so that new retailers could be offered discounted rates on rent. 

Education - The EU is a major funder of education with many colleges and universities in the ares receiving funding for studies or projects. In the town of Castres the EU has provided €1.28 million (40 percent of he total cost) for a new campus for the town's high school. The new campus for the Collège de Bord Basse opened in 2018 and includes a library, collaborative work spaces, and areas dedicated to student life and relaxation for the roughly 900 students.

The town of Albi now has a new shopping centre. Photo: AFP

Safety - The Gard département is prone to heat waves in the summer, and between 2000 and 2018, almost 4,000 hectares of forest went up in smoke. The EU has put more than €1 million towards the Pyrosudoe project. The purpose of the project is to reduce the threat of fires for populations and infrastructure by improving fire prevention and managing forests and habitats at risk by establishing a knowledge-sharing network made up of French, Spanish and Portuguese partners.

Industry - The EU provided an advance of €5 million to MKAD which allowed the company to open a plant in  Varilhes in the Ariège region making titanium parts for the aerospace industry. The factory now employs 60 people.


A woman visits Bordeaux's Cité du Vin museum, partly funded by the EU. Photo: AFP

Tourism - Bordeaux's Cité du Vin, a vast cultural centre which traces the history of wine down the ages and in many different cultures and civilisations, in 2016. The EU contributed €12 million to this project, which combines the cultural and the commercial and created 250 jobs. More than 400,000 visitors, both tourists and locals, visited the Cité du Vin in its first year of operation.

Perpignan's Rigaud Museum has undergone a major refurbishment; to which the EU contributed €2 million, one third of the budget. The museum now hopes to increase its annual visitor numbers from 9,000 to 60,000.

Social projects - There was no specific support of any kind for people with mental disabilities in Lot-et-Garonne until a branch of the association ‘ARI Insertion’ was set up in 2006 in the department. The EU and France’s Association Gestionnaire des Fonds pour l’Insertion des Personnes Handicapées each provided 50 percent of the funds needed. More than 100 people have now found jobs thanks to ARI Insertion, some of them in long-term posts.

These are just some examples of the many EU funded projects in the region. To find out about investment in your area, click here and then select your département.

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Richard Grant - 17 Apr 2019 16:24
Ten things that the EU has done for south west France...with our own money. What about a list of 10 things the French government has done for the south east...again with our own money. "Organisation is capable of spending other people's money" Brilliant!
MarkN - 17 Apr 2019 17:55
Last time I visited, Albi was the capital of the Tarn. That aside, does the EU really need to subsidise shopping???
alan stuart - 18 Apr 2019 11:21
Nothing comes from the EU , just boomerang money from the taxpayers coming back to them via the EU and after the EU bureaucrats have taken their cut.
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