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Local communities poised to benefit as EU invests more than €240 million for regional cooperation

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Local communities in Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland poised to benefit as EU invests more than €240 million for regional cooperation.

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The European Commission has adopted the new interregional cooperation programme (“Interreg”) between Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

European Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Crețu, who signed the decision, said: “We expect nearly 3.2 million people in these regions to benefit from the projects springing from today’s decision. Local communities will be well served by the focus on cross border initiatives to improve health and social services, environmental initiatives like improved water quality, innovation as well as greener, improved transport.”

In addition to EU investments of more than €240 million from EU Regional funds, national contributions of nearly €43 million euro will mean the total value of the programme is almost €283 million. It is expected the health projects within the programme alone will serve around 15.000 patients and 5.000 vulnerable families, while more than 1400 SMEs will be better linked to cross-border research and innovation activities

Commissioner Crețu added: “This programme is reaching out to some of the most vulnerable in our communities and also helping people live more independently. At the same time we are equipping these regions to pool their strengths and know-how across borders to improve the local economy and the everyday life of people. I am delighted to adopt this programme today particularly as this year we celebrate the 25th anniversary of Interreg. These cross-border Interreg programmes are one of the most tangible ways the EU is working to help its citizens”

Priorities and some expected results :

Research and innovation (EU-funding: €60.9 million): Among the expected results: more than 500 researchers across the region will jointly deliver business and industry relevant research and innovation within two target sectors: Health and Life Sciences and Renewable Energy. In addition, more than 1400 SMEs will increase their capacity to engage in cross-border research and innovation activity aimed at the development of new products, processes and tradable services.
Environment (EU-funding: €72 million). Among the expected results: 4500 hectares of habitats will improve their conservation status. In addition, shared transitional waters and cross-border river basins will improve their water quality for example through the provision of improved wastewater treatment to 10.000 inhabitants. Moreover, the area will develop capacity for the coordinated monitoring and management of the shared marine protected areas.
Sustainable transport (EU-funding: €40 million). Among the expected results: the share of daily cross-border journeys using public transport services will increase from 8,8 to 25% and the number of electric vehicle registrations will experience a ten-fold increase across the region.
Health (EU-funding: €53 million). This should result in an increased number of care interventions delivered on a cross-border basis concerning both patients and medical staff, for example benefitting to 15.000 patients and 5.000 vulnerable families. Moreover, 4.500 patients should benefit from e-health interventions to support independent living in caring communities

Background

The programme “Interreg V-A United Kingdom-Ireland (Ireland-Northern Ireland-Scotland)” area covers Northern Ireland, the Scottish regions of Dumfries & Galloway, East Ayrshire and North Ayrshire mainland, South Ayrshire, Lochaber, Skye & Lochalsh, Arran & Cumbrae and Argyll & Bute and Eilean Siar (Western Isles) and the Border region of Ireland.

Interreg V-A is the fourth in a consecutive series of Cross-border Cooperation Programmes between Ireland and Northern Ireland, including for the second time the maritime border between Ireland and Scotland. It is managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) which is located in Belfast and is one of the six cross-border bodies set up under the 1999 “Agreement between the Government of Ireland and the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland establishing implementing bodies”