Thursday, 18 April 2013

Ceisteanna (46)

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

46. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will outline the current status of the BMW region under the MFF following the heads of State agreement in February; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12676/13]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

On 8 February 2013 the European Council reached agreement on the EU’s budget for 2014-2020. The budget has to be agreed with the European Parliament and discussions are now taking place with the Parliament under the aegis of the Irish Presidency.

In line with reductions to the overall EU budget, Cohesion funding across Europe is expected to be reduced from €347 billion to around €325 billion. Despite this, Ireland’s overall Structural Funds allocation is expected to increase from the €901 million we receive under the current round to €979 million in the 2014 -2020 round. This represents a considerable achievement, and is due to the consistent efforts of the Government to maximize support from Europe for our Structural Funds programmes and take particular account of our serious unemployment problems.

In the case of the Border, Midland and Western Region however, the allocation it receives was reduced. This is because the region no longer qualified as a transition region since its GDP per capita exceeded 90% of the EU average in 2007 - 2009 - the period used to determine the status of regions across the EU for the purposes of the Multi-annual Financial Framework 2014 - 2020. This meant that the status of the BMW Region has changed from that of a "transition region" to that of a "more developed region" relative to other regions throughout the EU 27 Member States.

However, in recognition of the special position of the region, the Government, in the recent MFF negotiations in February, was successful in securing for the region an additional €100 million and additional special allocations under PEACE IV and the Youth Employment Initiative. The focus on youth unemployment is something the Irish Government had been pressing for.