On 7/8 February 2013, the European Council agreed the Multi Annual Financial Framework (MFF). The EU budget included provision for funding of €150 million towards a new PEACE programme. This budget is subject to European Parliament agreement. The final size of the next PEACE programme, which will include funding from Ireland and the UK, will depend on the outcome of the programme planning process.
The planning process for a possible successor Programme for PEACE III was initiated in April 2012 by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and the Department of Finance and Personnel in Northern Ireland, asking the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) to begin work on the development of a future PEACE programme for the period 2014 -2020. This work is ongoing and includes public consultations, ex ante evaluations, strategic environment assessments and equality impact assessment, all of which will inform the development of a draft Operational Programme for PEACE.
The Operational Programme will then be presented to the Northern Ireland Executive, the Irish Government and the Scottish Government before being submitted for formal approval to the European Commission.
At European level negotiations are continuing with the Council and European Parliament on regulations covering the Cohesion package. Until such time as agreement is reached on the draft regulations and the EU budget, operational programmes cannot be agreed with the European Commission.