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Government approval for Draft ERDF Southern, Eastern & Midland Regional Programme 2021-27

Government approval for Draft ERDF Southern, Eastern & Midland Regional Programme 2021-27

ERDF Programmes set out Ireland’s €853m investment strategy for the three Irish regions up to 2027.

The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Michael McGrath, has today, 27th July, secured Government approval for Ireland’s two draft European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) programmes for the period 2021-27.

Ireland’s ERDF allocation for 2021-27 amounts to circa. €396m, and with national co-financing the total ERDF programmes will amount to over €853m over the period.

The two ERDF programmes set out Ireland’s investment strategy to promote and support the ‘overall harmonious development’ of Member States and regions by strengthening economic, social and territorial cohesion through measures to reduce disparities in development between regions.

The programmes will channel EU co-funding from the ERDF into the Irish regions up to 2027 through the Southern, Eastern and Midland Regional (SEM) Programme, which is managed by the Southern Regional Assembly, and the Northern & Western Regional Programme, managed by the Northern & Western Regional Assembly.

The next step for the two ERDF programmes will be to formally submit to the European Commission.

Southern, Eastern and Regional Programme 2021-27

The SEM Regional Programme 2021-27 will see €665.6 million in overall support during the period, €398.2 million from the ERDF and €265.4 million of national funding to support activities in the areas of research and innovation, energy efficiency, and sustainable urban regeneration.

The SEM Regional Programme will focus on three Priority Objectives, set out by EU Regulation:

  • A Smarter Europe: innovative and smart economic transformation
  • A greener, low-carbon Europe – by promoting clean and fair energy transition
  • Europe closer to citizens – sustainable and integrated development of urban, rural and coastal areas through local initiatives

In October 2020, the Irish Government appointed the Regional Assemblies to act as Managing Authorities for the ERDF Programmes for the 2021-27 programming period. From an administrative and planning point of view, Ireland is divided in to three regions, the Southern, the Northern and Western, and Eastern and Midland. 

The European Commission classifies EU regions as either being a “Less Developed Region” (up to 74% of EU 27 Average),  a “Transition Region” (75%-100% of EU27 Average), or a “More Developed Region”, (over 100% of EU average) based on their GDP per head of population relative to the EU27 average.

Both the Southern, and Eastern and Midland Regions are classed as “More Developed Regions” and the Northern & Western Region is classed as a “Transition Region”. Reflecting the two different EU classifications of the development status of different regions in Ireland, there are two ERDF programmes.

Managing Authority and Member State Roles

A Managing Authority is responsible for managing Programme development, implementation and closure. They provide information on the programme, assist in the selection of eligible projects and monitor implementation.

The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform has responsibility as ‘Member State’ for developing a Partnership Agreement which received Government approval on 14th July 2022. Read here for further information on the Partnership Agreement.

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