Within the various Community fora it has been made clear to our colleagues that EMU must be considered in its totality, not just in terms of the undoubted benefits which are likely to accrue, but also in terms of the possible costs. We have argued that it is vitally important, for the stability of the union, that net benefits should be distributed in a manner which is consistent with the Community's objective of greater economic and social cohesion. This objective is, of course, enshrined in Article 130 of the Single European Act. We have also taken the view that our approach for now should be to firmly articulate our concerns within the framework of Community discussion and dialogue and in that way we can present our arguments in favour of measures to promote cohesion in the context of the overall development of all Community policies.
We would be pleased if EMU were to be as beneficial for all regions as some would contend. However, we will be working to ensure that appropriate measures are put in place to provide support should this favourable scenario fail to manifest itself. The Deputy should be aware that, at the informal ECOFIN meeting held at Ashford Castle in the last days of March, the Commission published a document on economic and monetary union and on the economic rationale and design of the system. We were unhappy with that section of the paper which dealt with the costs and benefits of the EMU and expressed our unhappiness in very forceful terms. We urged the Commission to pay greater attention to the regional distribution of the costs and benefits of EMU in the detailed study which they will carry out later this year.
Nobody could predict at any stage what will be the full impact of the Structural Funds. We are moving from a position of £361 million in 1988, to £462 million in 1989, to £557 million in 1990, representing an increase in nominal terms of 54 per cent. The Commission will be carrying out a study of what impact those Structural Funds will have, which study will be available by the end of 1990, when it will become clearer how much the gap is being narrowed by the Structural Funds which was the primary objective when introduced.