Mr. Brendan Howlin, TD, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform meets Regional Policy Commissioner to discuss EU funding

Issued 6 March 2014

Ireland set to benefit from increase in Structural Funds

Ireland will benefit from €1 billion of Structural Funds investment from the European Union over the next seven years, according to Public Expenditure & Reform Minister, Brendan Howlin TD.

The Minister was speaking today (5 March 2014) after he met EU Regional Policy Commissioner Johannes Hahn who is on a visit to Dublin.

The Minister said his officials are leading a cross-Departmental team that is developing detailed proposals for submission to the European Commission.  The funding will be drawn down through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Social Fund (ESF).  It will also cover cross-border programmes such as the Northern Ireland PEACE Programme.

Commenting after the meeting, Minister Howlin said, “This funding will be used for areas such as combatting long-term and youth unemployment and social exclusion; promoting R&D investment and the competitiveness of the business sector; and promoting an environmentally-friendly and resource efficient economy.”

At €352 billion, Structural Funds represent around one third of the EU’s budget for the next seven years.  Minister Howlin noted, however, that while the overall budget for Structural Funds across Europe has reduced by 8% in real terms, Ireland had its seen its allocation increase by 8%, saying, “This represents visible support from Europe for Ireland as we emerge from the financial crisis.  We have faced a difficult challenge in repairing the economy and the public finances.  But I am confident that we can return to sustained growth in living standards and employment.”

He said he was particularly pleased that Ireland would benefit from two special allocations under the next round - €100 million for the BMW region and €150 million towards a new Northern Ireland PEACE Programme.

The Minister and the Commissioner reviewed progress made under the current Operational Programmes that are drawing to a close and discussed the preparatory work that is underway for new Operational Programmes.

Minister Howlin remarked, “I have enjoyed working with Johannes Hahn over the last three years, particularly during our Presidency of the European Union when much of what we are now implementing was agreed at a European level.   Johannes appreciates the importance of the European Structural and Investment Funds for a country like Ireland and has a particular appreciation of the contribution that such funding has made in a Northern Ireland context.”

Pull Quotes

“This funding will be used for areas such as combatting long-term and youth unemployment and social exclusion; promoting R&D investment and the competitiveness of the business sector; and promoting an environmentally-friendly and resource efficient economy.”

“This represents visible support from Europe for Ireland as we emerge from the financial crisis.  We have faced a difficult challenge in repairing the economy and the public finances.  But I am confident that we can return to sustained growth in living standards and employment.”

“I have enjoyed working with Johannes Hahn over the last three years, particularly during our Presidency of the European Union when much of what we are now implementing was agreed at a European level.   Johannes appreciates the importance of the European Structural and Investment Funds for a country like Ireland and has a particular appreciation of the contribution that such funding has made in a Northern Ireland context.”

DATE

5 March 2014

 

ENDS