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2007-13 Cohesion Programmes For Irish Regions Unveiled

by Carla Johnson, Investors Offshore.com, London

17 December 2007


European Regional Policy Commissioner, Danuta Hübner and Dick Roche, Irish Minister of State for European Affairs, last week signed key documents for the implementation of the Cohesion Policy in Ireland over the next seven years.

They signed the National Strategic Reference Framework and the two programmes, which will be supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), at a ceremony in Brussels.

Commission Hübner welcomed the adoptions, explaining that:

"The two regional programmes are clearly geared towards regional innovation. They are characterised by a 'niche' approach and will concentrate on the knowledge economy, research and development, the promotion of small and medium enterprises and the environment. This will ensure added value and visibility for the European Union."

She continued:

"One new feature of the 2007-2013 programming period is that the Regional Assemblies are now entrusted with the task of managing the entire ERDF budget for Ireland. This is a welcome development which I believe will contribute to the development of strong administrative structures at the Regional level and will facilitate implementation of projects on the ground."

Under the auspices of the Cohesion Policy, the Border, Midland and Western Regional program will be backed by EU investment worth EUR228.7 million and will include:

  • Innovation, information and communication technologies (ICT) and the knowledge economy: collaboration and technology transfer between higher education institutes and the business sector. Broadband will, for instance, be provided to an additional 8000 businesses in areas not currently served;
  • Environment and risk prevention: stimulate energy efficiency, renewable energy deployment and the integration of sustainable energy practices into public policies, e.g. through fuel-efficient public transport;
  • Urban development and improvements to secondary transport networks such as projects related to signalling, park-and-ride infrastructure and bridges.

The Southern and Eastern Regional program will be backed by an EU investment worth EUR146.6 million, which will be targeted at the following initiatives:

  • Innovation and the knowledge economy: develop the region's research, development and innovation capacity. Assist new business start-ups and the expansion of micro-enterprises; support experimental innovative actions.
  • Environment and accessibility: invest in water collection and treatment systems (particularly in villages) and in renewable energy deployment and the integration of sustainable energy practices into public policies. Increase broadband take-up throughout the region.
  • Sustainable urban development: the Irish authorities plan to enhance the attractiveness of towns and cities, where 70% of the population of the region lives. They will invest in economic, social, cultural or environmental projects.


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