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EU Funding

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 9 June 2020

Tuesday, 9 June 2020

Ceisteanna (739)

Gary Gannon

Ceist:

739. Deputy Gary Gannon asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the amount of the structural funding from the EU that will be ring-fenced for culture and arts here. [10358/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

The EU Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative (CRII) is comprised of two regulations, Regulation2020/460 (CRII), and Regulation 2020/558 (CRII Plus) which entered into force on 1 April and 23rd April 2020 respectively. The CRII regulations allow Members States to use unspent pre-allocated cohesion support, amounting to €8 billion, to respond to COVID-19 by supporting healthcare systems and the working capital of SMEs to remain in business to cushion the impact of the shock, matched by a further €29 billion in co-financing from the EU budget.

In practice, CRII allows Member States to use funding under the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) strand of cohesion support, which ordinarily finances investment into the regions, to assist in the COVID-19 emergency response. There are two regional ERDF Operational Programmes in Ireland, implemented by two Managing Authorities. It is a matter for the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, in consultation with the Managing Authorities, to reorient funding to areas of most need currently, in line with the provisions of CRII.

The Creative Europe Programme is the main financial instrument at EU level to support the cultural and creative sector. At two recent meetings of the EU Council of Culture Ministers to discuss the impact of the COVID-19 crisis and the actions to be taken to mitigate its effects, I, along with a number of my counterparts, called for an increase in funding to the next Creative Europe Programme as well as additional and immediate direct support to the sector as part of the EU Recovery Plan to help it through this crisis and to rebound in its aftermath.

While discussions on the next EU budget are ongoing, several measures have been introduced with immediate effect in the Creative Europe Programme to protect the cultural and audiovisual sector while shut down, including; a new call for projects for the cross-border mainly digital distribution of performing arts works; €5m in vouchers for hardest-hit cinemas; maximum flexibility for existing projects to reach completion; accelerated selection procedure for many schemes so that artists can start work under pre-funding arrangements; facility to invoke force majeure to recover sunk costs for stalled productions and works; and, maximum flexibility on the repayment of loans.

Finally, the European Commission also recently published the EU Recovery Plan. The Plan includes a new initiative, REACT-EU, with a budget of €55 billion. It is proposed that the funds will support workers and SMEs and will be available across sectors, including culture. While the Plan is now subject to negotiation and approval by the Council and European Parliament, I am confident that measures in the Plan, together with those under the Creative Europe Programme, and the whole suite of measures that have been introduced by the Government are helping to protect the cultural, creative and audiovisual sectors during shutdown and as we emerge from public health restrictions.

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