Written answers

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Department of Public Expenditure and Reform

EU Programmes

Photo of Mary Lou McDonaldMary Lou McDonald (Dublin Central, Sinn Fein)
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70. To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his Department's responsibility for preparations for Ireland's EU Structural Funds programmes for the period 2014 to 2020. [47259/13]

Photo of Mary Lou McDonaldMary Lou McDonald (Dublin Central, Sinn Fein)
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71. To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if the second consultation process on Preparation of Member State Partnership Agreement for Structural and Investment Funds 2014 – 2020 has been completed; and if he will provide a summary of the same. [47260/13]

Photo of Mary Lou McDonaldMary Lou McDonald (Dublin Central, Sinn Fein)
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72. To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the date by which he expects the draft Common Provisions Regulation of the Structural and Investment Funds 2014 – 2020 to be adopted by the European Council and European Parliament. [47261/13]

Photo of Mary Lou McDonaldMary Lou McDonald (Dublin Central, Sinn Fein)
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73. To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if his Department has prepared and submitted a partnership agreement outlining funding priorities for the 2014-2020 EU Structural Funds Programme; and if Community Led Local Development model is contained within the partnership agreement. [47262/13]

Photo of Mary Lou McDonaldMary Lou McDonald (Dublin Central, Sinn Fein)
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74. To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will provide details of Community Led Local Development model and the proposed 10% funding top-up for those operational programmes where an entire priority axis is delivered through CLLD. [47263/13]

Photo of Mary Lou McDonaldMary Lou McDonald (Dublin Central, Sinn Fein)
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75. To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will provide in tabular form the moneys available to Ireland yearly under the EU Structural Funds and Common Programmes and the Common Strategic Framework Funds for the period 2014-2020. [47264/13]

Photo of Brendan HowlinBrendan Howlin (Minister, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform; Wexford, Labour)
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I propose to take Questions Nos. 70 to 75, inclusive, together.

The Cohesion Policy Legislative Package for the 2014-2020 period comprises six regulations; a common provisions regulation, fund specific regulations for the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), European Social Fund (ESF), and Cohesion Fund, and regulations for European Territorial Cooperation (ETC) and European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation (EGTC).

The adoption of the package is subject to agreement through the co-decision procedure between the Council and the European Parliament. Significant progress was made during Ireland’s Presidency of the European Union in advancing the dossier with agreement on four of the six regulations. The progress made under the Irish Presidency is facilitating the conclusion of discussions by the Lithuanian Presidency. It is expected that there is likely to be a vote on the package by the European Parliament later this month, with publication in the Official Journal of the European Union sometime after that.

The new proposals are designed to reinforce the strategic dimension of the policy and to ensure that EU investment is targeted on Europe's long-term goals for growth and jobs. Each Member State must prepare a Partnership Agreement which will constitute a formal agreement with Commission regarding the use of funds.

My Department has overall responsibility for EU Cohesion Policy and primary responsibility for the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). My colleague, the Minister for Education and Skills, has primary responsibility for the European Social Fund (ESF). The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine has responsibility for the European Agriculture Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF).

Preparations for the new programming round in Ireland have been underway over the past year including consultation processes, needs analyses and ex-ante evaluations. The outcome of these processes will inform the preparation of the Partnership Agreement and Operational Programmes through which the Irish allocations will be drawn down.

It should be noted that Member States have four months from the entry into force of the regulation to submit their Partnership Agreement to the Commission.

The regulations provide for consultation at all stages in the preparation of the Partnership Agreement and the Operations Programmes. Initial consultations have taken place on the Partnership Agreement with a second consultation process now underway.

Community Led Local Development (CLLD) is a method for involving partners at local level in programme delivery. It is a requirement for the EAFRD under LEADER but may be supported by the other funds also. The option of using a CCLD delivery mechanism for the ERDF and ESF will be considered following a thorough analysis of the thematic objectives and investment priorities chosen.

As the legal bases have not been finalised, the Commission can only give indicative indications of our allocations over the 2014-2020 period. We understand that the Irish allocations for Cohesion Policy (ERDF and ESF) and the Rural Development Programme (EAFRD) will be in the order of €1bn and €2bn respectively.

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