Thursday, 20 June 2019
Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions
I propose to take Questions Nos. 8 and 26 together.
As the Deputy is aware, Ireland and the UK are partners in two EU-funded cross-border co-operation Programmes, PEACE and INTERREG, which have a combined value of more €550 million over the period from 2014 to 2020. These programmes support social and economic cohesion and peace and reconciliation in the Border region of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
The two programmes are important drivers of regional development in a cross-border context. Through EU-funded co-operation a range of organisations, North and South, have engaged in and benefited from a variety of cross-border and cross-community projects.
Support for the two programmes from the European Regional Development Fund is a key element of the European Union's continuing commitment to the process of peace-building and reconciliation in the region over the last quarter of a century.
The Government has been clear and consistent about its commitment to the successful implementation of the current PEACE and INTERREG programmes and to a successor programme post 2020. My officials and I have worked to ensure that this important source of funding for the Border region continues after Brexit.
In this regard, in December 2017 both the EU and UK undertook to honour their commitments to the current PEACE and INTERREG programmes and to favourably examine the possibilities for future programmes.
In May 2018, as part of its post-2020 multi-annual financial framework, MFF, and cohesion policy proposals, the European Commission proposed a special new PEACE PLUS programme that will build on and continue the work of both PEACE and INTERREG. I welcome this proposal. It will be moved forward as part of the draft cohesion policy regulations and the MFF negotiations.