Thursday, 24 September 2020

Questions (108)

Claire Kerrane

Question:

108. Deputy Claire Kerrane asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will meet with and engage with the Northern and Western Regional Assembly on plans to change the way in which the European Regional Development Fund is managed in view of the downgrading of the region by the European Commission and in further view of the unique challenges the region faces as a region in transition and the urgent need to take advantage of the status while EU co-funding will be at 60%; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26152/20]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

A decision will be made shortly regarding the role of Managing Authorities for the 2021 - 2027 European Regional Development Funds (ERDF) Operational Programmes. In the meantime, the three Regional Assemblies, including the Northern Western Regional Assembly, are playing a very active role in the process of programming for the next round of ERDF, in conjunction and cooperation with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. The Northern Western Regional Assembly, along with the other two Regional Assemblies, are also represented on the Partnership Process Steering Group, which guides and advises on the programming of all of the European Structural Investment Fund (ESIF) programmes, through the development process of the Partnership Agreement for the period 2021 – 2027.

The Steering Group oversaw the development of a Needs Analysis by Indecon Economic Consultants, which specifically looked at regional development needs. This report has a chapter focused on the needs in the Northern Western region. This chapter was included in the report in recognition of the change in the region's status under the European Commission's methodology to a region in transition, and the unique challenges faced in the region.

The Northern and Western Regional Assembly and the other two Regional Assemblies are also part of a working group which launched a consultation process to inform the selection of priorities for the use of EU cohesion funding for the next period. As part of this consultation a webinar was held on 28 July, breakout sessions were organised on a regional basis, and this included a focus on the main priorities of the individual Regional Spatial and Economic Strategies. The working group is currently preparing a report, the primary purpose of which is to present the findings and analysis from the public consultation submissions, including the qualitative messages from the national workshop event conducted 28 July. This report, along with the Needs Analysis, adopted by the PPSG in July, will inform the ERDF programming for 2021 – 2027.