News

East Border Region delegation lobby in Brussels

5 October 2009

A delegation from East Border Region recently travelled to Brussels to attend the annual Brussels Open Days and to co –host an evening reception at the Office of the Northern Ireland Executive. The reception was hosted in conjunction with the four other Cross Border Local Authority Groups (ICBAN, The North West Region Cross Border Group, COMET and The North East Partnership) and the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB). The East Border Region and the four other Cross Borders Groups are part-financed by the European Union’s European Regional Development Fund through the INTERREG IVA Cross-border Programme.

Special guests at the reception included Mr Colin Wolfe, Head of INTERREG, various MEPs from throughout the eligible area, Senior Representatives from Governments North and South and Mr Pat Colgan, Chief Executive of SEUPB.

This was a highly influential and timely reception for East Border Region and the other Cross Border Groups given the current delays experienced in drawing down the INTERREG IVA funds which have been allocated to the Cross Border Groups in early 2008. During his speech at the reception Alderman Nigel Hamilton from the COMET group urged those involved in the process to do all in their power to expedite the approval process. “I don’t need to remind any of you of the serious economic situation which not only Ireland/Northern Ireland but the rest of the world is currently experiencing. It is imperative that the Local Authority led groups are in receipt of INTERREG IVA funding as soon as possible. With this in mind I would therefore ask that everyone involved in the approval process works extra hard to ensure that the people of the eligible area and in particular those in Northern Ireland and the border region of Ireland are in receipt of INTERREG IVA monies sooner rather than later”.

During the trip the delegation also held a successful meeting with a number of MEPs. Ms Nessa Childers, Ms Bairbre de Brun, Mr Liam Alyward, and Mr Pat the Cope Gallagher attended the meeting which afforded the Cross Border Groups the opportunity to appraise MEPs of the current situation. Chairman of East Border Region Cllr John Hanna welcomed more meetings of this nature “we in the East Border Region are delighted to be offered the opportunity to meet with our MEPs. I feel meetings of this nature are vitally important in order to improve connectivity between Local Authorities and the European Commission and to ensure our voice is heard in Europe”.

Before departing Brussels delegates enjoyed a tour of the European Parliament hosted by Ms Bairbre de Brun MEP.

Pictured left to right: Mr Pat Colgan, SEUPB, Cllr Sean Gallagher North West Region Cross Border Group, Ald Nigel Hamilton, COMET, Cllr John Hanna East Border Region, Cllr Jim Cavanagh, ICBAN and Cllr PJ McAvoy, North East Partnership

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