Howlin welcomes agreement on EU funding for Ireland

Issued 18 November 2014

Minister for Public Expenditure & Reform Brendan Howlin, TD, today, 18 November 2014, welcomed the agreement reached by the Government with the European Commission on Ireland’s Partnership Agreement for the European Structural & Investment Funds. The Government and the Commission both formally approved the Partnership Agreement today.

The Minister said this represented a major investment by the European Union in Ireland over the next seven years.

Speaking after Cabinet, the Minister 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.”

In the context of the 2013 agreement on the EU’s Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), which was reached under the Irish Presidency of the Council of Ministers, the Government was successful in securing €1.2 billion of Cohesion policy funding for the period 2014-2020. This represents an increase of 8% in real terms over the 2007-2013 programming period, at a time when the overall EU budget for Cohesion policy was cut by 8%.

The Minister said he was pleased that the Government had been successful in negotiating two special allocations for Ireland:

  • €100 million (2011 prices) for the Border, Midland and Western (BMW) Region, in recognition that it is now classified by the EU as a more developed region; and
  • €150 million (2011 prices) towards a new Northern Ireland PEACE programme.

Commenting on the successful negotiation, the Minister said, “I am particularly pleased that it was possible to agree funding for a new PEACE Programme for the border counties of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The Programme continues to play an important role in reinforcing progress towards a peaceful and stable society and in promoting reconciliation. The European Union has always been a strong supporter of the peace process and the PEACE Programme provides real evidence of that support.”

At the same time, Ireland secured €2.2 billion from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development Fund (EAFRD) and €148 million from the European Maritime & Fisheries Fund (EMFF), also for the period 2014-2020.

The Minister said he now looks forward to speedy approval by the Commission of Ireland’s Operational Programmes which will give effect to the Partnership Agreement.

END

Note to editors

The European Structural & Investment (ESI) Funds comprise the: 

  • European Regional Development Fund (ERDF);
  • European Social Fund (ESF);
  • Cohesion Fund (CF)[1];
  • European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD);
  • European Maritime & Fisheries Fund (EMFF).

In the context of the 2013 agreement on the EU’s Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), the Irish Government was successful in securing €1.2 billion of Cohesion policy funding for the period 2014-2020. This represents an increase of 8% in real terms over the 2007-2013 programming period, at a time when the overall EU budget for Cohesion policy was cut by 8%. In particular, the Government was successful in negotiating two special allocations:

  • €100 million (2011 prices) for the Border, Midland and Western (BMW) Region, in recognition that it is now classified by the EU as a more developed region; and
  • €150 million (2011 prices) towards a new Northern Ireland PEACE programme.

Of this €1.2 billion:

  • €409 million is for European Regional Development Fund co-funded programmes;
  • €542 million is for European Social Fund co-funded programmes;
  • An additional €68m is provided for the Youth Employment Initiative, which will be programmed through the ESF programme;
  • €169 million is for 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.

At the same time, Ireland secured €2.2 billion from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development Fund and €148 million from the European Maritime & Fisheries Fund, also for the period 2014-2020.

Partnership Agreement/Operational Programmes

To draw down funding, specific requirements set out in the ESI Funds Regulations must be met. These include the development of a strategy set out in a Partnership Agreement, the preparation and implementation of Operational Programmes and, ultimately, the certification and auditing of eligible expenditure.

The funding priorities for Ireland’s ESI Funds programmes are set out in its Partnership Agreement which has now been approved by the Commission, and take account of the Europe 2020 Strategy for Smart, Sustainable and Inclusive Growth, as well as the National Reform Programme. These priorities include:

 

  • promoting jobs and growth;
  • combating unemployment and social exclusion;
  • promoting R&D and ICT investment and the competitiveness of the business sector; and
  • promoting an environmentally-friendly and resource-efficient economy.

Ireland will have the following Operational Programmes for the period 2014-2020:

 

  • A National ESF operational programme part-funded by the ESF and managed by the Department of Education & Skills;
  • Two Regional ERDF operational programmes managed by the Southern & Eastern Regional Assembly and the Border, Midland & Western Regional Assembly;
  • Cross-border programmes as follows:

 

  • the PEACE Programme;
  • the Ireland/Northern Ireland/Scotland INTERREG Programme;
  • the Ireland/Wales INTERREG Programme; and
  • a number of smaller operational programmes focused on EU trans-national cooperation part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

 

  • a Rural Development Programme part-funded by the EAFRD and managed by the Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine;
  • a Seafood Development Programme part-funded by the EMFF and managed by the Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine.

 


[1] Ireland has not received funding under the Cohesion Fund since 2006.