EBR lobby in Brussels for Future EU Funding

20 April 2012

A delegation from East Border Region travelled to Brussels last week to participate in an Executive meeting of the Association of European Border Regions (AEBR). The purpose of the trip was to present the position of the five Local Authority Led Cross Border Groups who cover the entire Ireland/Northern Ireland border area on the roll out of the next INTERREG funding programme - INTERREG VA. The EBR delegation comprised of Chairman Cllr Jackie Crowe, Vice Chairman Cllr Gerald Mallon, EBR Board Member Cllr John Farrelly and EBR Chief Executive Ms Pamela Arthurs. The East Border Region currently implement 12 Projects totalling €15.2 million funded through the INTERREG IVA Cross Border Programme.

The meeting was attended by Mr Walter Deffa, Director of DG Regio in the European Commission and Senior Officials from the EU Parliament and Commission. Mr Deffaa has overall responsibility for the structure of the new INTERREG VA Programme which will cover the funding period from 2014-2020 and presently has an estimated budget of at least the same as the current INTERREG IVA Programme (€256 million).

During the meeting Ms Pamela Arthurs presented the views of the five Cross Border Local Authority Led Cross Border Groups highlighting the success of the INTERREG IIIA Programme (2000-2008) which the Cross Border Groups played a significant role in and involved the formation of INTERREG Partnerships involving local people making decisions on spend in their border areas.

Ms Arthurs also highlighted the difficulties and delays in approving projects that has been experienced through the current centralised format of the INTERREG IVA Programme and highlighted the approach the five groups would like to see form the basis of the new INTERREG VA Programme. The proposal put forward by the five groups is based on each group developing a Strategic Plan which clearly addresses the cross border needs of the region and complements EU and National Strategies. The plan would be delivered through a bottom up approach and local delivery would key to its success.

Mr Deffaa who has known the AEBR Association since 1988 welcomed the views of the Cross Border Groups and in particular welcomed views on better decentralisation of the INTERREG programmes and simplification in management and controlling. He asked the AEBR to continue to submit recommendations and statements to him and his DG Regio in this regard.

EBR Chairman Cllr Jackie Crowe welcomed the opportunity to meet with the Mr Deffaa and his Officials "I am delighted to be given this opportunity to present the views of the Cross Border Groups as I strongly believe we are a unique asset to the INTERREG Programme. We are truly committed to cross border co-operation and economic development and are best placed to represent the needs of our Region".

The Local Authority Led Cross Border Groups will continue to input into the consultation process relating to the structure of the INTERREG VA Programme both at EU and National level in order to ensure a workable format which addresses the needs of our Region is achieved.

  • Monaghan
  • LCC
  • MCC
  • Newry, Mourne and Down District Council
  • Ards and North Down Borough Council
  • Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council