Tuesday, 17 November 2020

Ceisteanna (116, 131)

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

116. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the funding committed to date for the INTERREG and PEACE plus programmes post 2020; the level of funding to be provided by the Irish and UK Governments and the European Commission; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36666/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

131. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the status of the INTERREG and PEACE plus programmes post Brexit with particular reference to cross-Border projects; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36667/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 116 and 131 together.

Cross-border EU funding to Northern Ireland and the border counties of Ireland is currently being delivered through two 2014-20 programmes, PEACE IV and INTERREG VA. The two programmes have a combined value of €553m and support peace and reconciliation and economic and social cohesion across the eligible region.  The programmes are 85% funded by the EU.  The programmes are managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB), which is jointly sponsored by my Department and the Department of Finance in Northern Ireland.

Both programmes are now fully committed to a total of 130 cross-border projects.  The €270 PEACE IV programme is supporting 96 projects across the eligible region in the areas of Shared Education, Children and Young People, Shared Spaces and Services, and Building Positive Relations.  INTERREG VA has a total value of €283m and supports 34 cross border projects under the themes Research and Innovation, Environment, Sustainable Transport and Health. 

The Withdrawal Agreement ratified by the EU and the UK in January 2020 provides for the full completion of PEACE IV and INTERREG VA post-Brexit.

As part of its May 2018 proposals for the Multi-Annual Financial Framework and EU Cohesion Policy for the 2021-27 period, the European Commission proposed a special new cross-border programme, PEACE PLUS, to continue and build on the work of the PEACE and INTERREG programmes. PEACE PLUS will effectively combine the existing PEACE and INTERREG activity strands into one cohesive new programme which will support peace, prosperity and cooperation across Northern Ireland and the border counties of Ireland. Provision for the new programme is included in the Withdrawal Agreement between the EU and the UK, as well as in the Political Declaration.  

Programme development for PEACE PLUS is now well advanced. This process is being led by the SEUPB, in close cooperation with my Department and the Department of Finance in Northern Ireland, and supported by a Programme Development Steering Group consisting of representatives of major stakeholders for the new programme.

The quantum of funding for the PEACE PLUS programme will be determined as part of the EU UK future relationship negotiations.  The EU has already committed to a special allocation of €120m ERDF for PEACE PLUS, which, in addition to the ERDF funding which will be provided through the Ireland's European Territorial Cooperation allocation, will help build a fund for a bold and ambitious programme.