Tuesday, 3 November 2009
Department of Finance
Question 386: To ask the Minister for Finance when approval will be given to commence spending Special EU Programmes Body Programme funding under INTERREG IVA by cross-Border local authority groups (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38980/09]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 259 and 386 together.
The Cross Border INTERREG IVA Programme (Northern Ireland/Ireland/Scotland) aims to support strategic cross-border co-operation and economic development. The Programme (2007-2013) is managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB). The Cross Border Local Authority Groups were established as a network of councillors from the Ireland/Northern Ireland border and offer the opportunity for a co-ordinated and strategic cross border response to local issues. The Groups, based on their experience of managing EU funding on a cross border basis in the previous round of funding, have been identified as a key implementation partner for the INTERREG IVA programme.
The Monitoring Committee which oversees the implementation of the programme met on 28th October 2009. It was reported at the meeting that 94 applications had been received by the INTERREG IVA Programme by September 2009 and 34 of these had been recommended for approval at a total value of €152.6m. It should be noted that proposed projects are subject to approved selection and assessment criteria under an agreed process and therefore individual projects must complete the process before spending can commence. The Monitoring Committee was informed that for some projects this is expected to be completed very shortly.
The SEUPB also advised at the meeting that the key 2009 N+2 EU expenditure target will be achieved. My Department, as co-sponsor of the SEUPB with the Department of Finance and Personnel in Northern Ireland, continues to monitor the performance of the programme and is working with its counterparts to ensure full implementation of the programme and full drawdown of the EU funds available.