Saving Pompeii with EU Regional Funds: Commissioner Hahn signs Action Plan with Italy to preserve 'jewel of European cultural heritage'
Today, EU Commissioner for Regional Policy, Johannes Hahn, is travelling to Pompeii - the world famous archaeological site, to sign an "Action Plan" with the Italian authorities to accelerate work on the EU's major project to preserve the site. The Action Plan sets down specific measures and targets to complete the project, which is being supported by €78 million worth of investment through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
Speaking ahead of the visit, Commissioner for Regional Policy, Johannes Hahn said: "The importance of Pompeii and the EU supported major project to preserve it cannot be overstated. There is a real urgency to accelerate and intensify our efforts. This site is of crucial importance for Campania and its local economy - for Italy and the world. Quite simply it is one of the crowning jewels of Europe's cultural heritage. That's why I am determined to do what I can to make the EU supported major project here a success. The Action Plan we are signing today with the Italian authorities sets down clear targets and deadlines for the way ahead and a series of measures to ensure that those deadlines are respected. It should act as a spur to action and a motivator. I urge all those to seize the challenge and take up their responsibility."
The Pompeii major project was approved in March 2012 by the European Commission.
Currently, three projects at the site have been completed; this includes the Casa del Criptoportico and the Casa delle Pareti Rosse.
Twelve projects are on-going (including Casa di Sirico, Casa del Marinaio, Casa dei Dioscuri, and Casa di Octavianus Quartio).
Nine projects will open soon, including the restoration of the Casa della Fontana Piccola and the Casa della Venere in Conchiglia.
The Commission and the Italian authorities will monitor the Action Plan four times between now and the end of the project (in December 2014, and April, August and December 2015). Targets will be reviewed and progress monitored according to the targets set down.
A presentation of the Action Plan, its official signing, followed by a press conference is expected at Pompeii's Auditorium around 12:30 on 17 July. Present will be Commissioner Hahn, State Secretary to the Italian Prime Minister, Graziano Delrio, Italian Minister for Culture Dario Franceschini, and President of Campania Region, Stefano Caldoro.
Around €105 million in total (EU and national contributions combined) have been allocated for the Pompeii major project. The EU part under the European Regional Development Fund "Preservation, Maintenance and Improvement of the archaeological site of Pompeii", is worth €78 million and is part of the "Cultural, Natural and Touristic Attractions" Programme for the 2007-13 budget period.
The project is using some of the most sophisticated and up-to-date technology to conserve the ruins of the world renowned UNESCO site which has been badly damaged in recent years.
The project aims to:
consolidate the structures of the archaeological site, starting with the areas ranked "high risk" according to the 'Archaeological Risk Map';
build a water canalisation and drainage system in the non-excavated state property area leaning over the ancient buildings;
Carry out work to consolidate, restore, preserve and improve the training of staff, working on site for the 'Special Superintendence for the Archaeological Heritage of Naples and Pompeii' (SANP).
Significant measures have also been taken to protect the project – particularly in the area of public procurement - against the influence of organised crime. Working closely with the European Commission, the Italian authorities have installed a special "prefetto" from the Italian Ministry of the Interior to oversee security and legal aspects of the project from beginning to end.