Informal Ministerial Meeting on Cohesion Policy in Athens

Issued 25 April 2014

Brendan Howlin, TD, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform attends the Informal Ministerial Meeting on Cohesion Policy in Athens

"Ireland stands to benefit from more than €1 billion of Structural Funds investment over the next seven years", according to Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Brendan Howlin, TD

The Minister was speaking after a meeting of EU Cohesion Ministers in Athens earlier today.  

Cohesion funding is the EU’s principle investment tool for delivering the Europe 2020 goals of creating growth and jobs, tackling climate change and energy dependence, and reducing poverty and social exclusion.

At €325 billion, the EU's Structural Funds represent one third of the EU's budget over the next seven years.

In the context of the agreement on the EU’s Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) which was reached during Ireland’s Presidency of the EU Council of Ministers, the Irish Government was successful in securing €1.2billion of Cohesion policy funding for the period 2014-2020.  

This represents an increase of 8% in real terms over the 2007-2013 programming period, against the background of an overall reduction of 8% in the overall EU budget for Cohesion policy and includes special allocations for the BMW Region and the Northern Ireland PEACE Programme.

Of this €1.2 billion, some €951 million is for European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and European Social Fund (ESF) co-funded programmes in Ireland, with the balance being devoted to European Territorial Cooperation (ETC) programmes, including, the Northern Ireland PEACE Programme, the Ireland/Northern Ireland/West of Scotland INTERREG Programme, the Ireland/Wales INTERREG Programme and a number of smaller transnational programmes in which Ireland participates.  Last week the Government approved the submission of Ireland’s draft Partnership Agreement for the next programming period to the Commission.

Speaking today, after the meeting, Minister Howlin confirmed, “This funding will assist us in delivering on our stated goals of combatting long-term and youth unemployment; achieving social inclusion; promoting R&D investment and fostering a competitive business sector and a resource-efficient, environmentally-friendly economy.”