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Written Answers - EU Funding

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 760 No. 3

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 259.  Deputy Dessie Ellis Information on Dessie Ellis Zoom on Dessie Ellis  asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin  the rationale for excluding citizens in the Border, Midland and Western region from being identified under the Connecting Europe facility; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16970/12]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brendan Howlin): Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin In October 2011, the European Commission announced a proposal to introduce the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) — a plan to fund €50 billion worth of investment to improve Europe’s transport, energy and digital networks. The proposal’s key objectives are to improve competitiveness and make Europe’s economy greener by promoting cleaner transport modes, high speed broadband connections and facilitating the use of renewable energy in line with the Europe 2020 Strategy.

Discussions in relation to the structure of the CEF are ongoing and form part of the overall discussions on the Multi-Annual Financial Framework 2014-2020 and cohesion policy. The Facility is open to all Member States; the Border, Midland and Western region is not excluded, but I would point out that the proposal is not a structural funds regulation and as such, does not apportion funding on the basis of regions. Given that the Facility is aimed at large strategic, cross border, transnational projects and given Ireland’s position on the periphery of Europe, there may be limited scope for Ireland to access funding. My Department is examining the details of the proposal in conjunction with relevant departments (Department of Finance, Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources and Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport) and is exploring with them how we can maximise drawdown of funds for investing in digital, energy and transport infrastructure.

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