The funding should create 3,000 new jobs and support around 1,045 companies, and it is part of a strategy for the EU's outermost regions.
The European Union (EU) has earmarked funding of more than €2 billion for the Azores and Madeira by 2020 as part of a new strategy for the outermost regions, with a particular focus on the blue economy and innovation.
According to information released on Friday in Brussels, €1.45 billion has been budgeted for the Azores islands in the 2014-2020 framework, and the funding is expected to support 1,045 companies, and create 3,000 direct jobs, among other measures.
Madeira will receive €595 million in funds to double public investment as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) in the same period, creating 1,147 new jobs and supporting 450 companies.
Funding will also be provided for cooperation between the Azores, Madeira and the Canary Islands (€127 million), the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (€102 million for the Azores and Madeira) and funds for agriculture (up to €106 million per year for the two regions).
These figures were released during the annual conference of the outermost regions (ORs) – the nine European regions that are thousands of kilometres from the European continent – in the Canary Islands, Spain.
For the Azores, the European Commission noted support for a project to create a venue for fairs and exhibitions on Terceira island, which received €4 million from the European Social Fund (ESF).
In the archipelago, the Valorizar Network project – to validate and certify school skills – also received a grant of €10.6 million from the ESF.
In Madeira, the Community executive gave the examples of the Ocean Observatory, supported with €1.7 million by the European Regional Development Fund, and the installation of a satellite control centre, for which the fund provided €2.7 million.
The European Strategic Investments Fund (EIFF), will provide over €2.2 billion in additional investment in the outermost regions.
The European Investment Advisory Board (Hub platform) has also developed avenues for improving access to finance for businesses in these regions.
The European Commission – with these strategies for the ORs – intends to promote innovation, the circular economy and blue growth in the outermost regions.