Finance Minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir has said that short term assurances provided by the Chancellor around EU funding do not go far enough.
The Minister said:
“Prior to the referendum, the European Union had agreed to contribute over €1.2 billion to Structural and Investment Fund programmes in the north scheduled to run between 2014 and 2020. This includes contributions to the cross border PEACE IV and INTERREG VA Programmes. The decision today not to underwrite that sum in relation to EU funds from now to 2020 is a setback to the economy and a failure by the British government to match European support for the peace process.
“Despite the promise of the British Prime Minister to act in the interests of all, there has been no attempt to consult with myself, the Executive or the Irish Government, about the best way forward in relation to European funds.
“While the decision to honour letters of offer issued up to November will help some applicants for EU funds, it will leave a question mark over scores of other vital projects and means potentially up to £300m of future funding is in peril.
“I have discussed this issue with the Chancellor and with my counterparts in Scotland and Wales, calling on the British Government to give a commitment that devolved administrations would not lose a penny of EU related funding streams. I have also written to the European Commissioner for Regional Policy with Ireland’s Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, and reiterated the joint support of the Executive and the Irish Government for our cross border PEACE and INTERREG programmes.”
The Minister continued:
“Rather than providing the certainty needed following the EU referendum this short-sighted decision could deepen the economic blow. It is clear the Executive needs to be front and centre in decisions around Europe and in all negotiations on these crucially important issues."
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