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Government approves Ireland’s Draft Partnership Agreement for Cohesion Funds 2021-27

Government approves Ireland’s Draft Partnership Agreement for Cohesion Funds 2021-27

Partnership Agreement sets out Ireland’s €2.4bn Cohesion Policy investment strategy

The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Michael McGrath, has today 14th July 2022, secured Government approval for Ireland’s draft Partnership Agreement for the period 2021-27, which sets out Ireland’s investment strategy for more than €1.1 billion in cohesion funding, supporting Irish regions in promoting economic, social and territorial cohesion in line with key EU priorities.

The Partnership Agreement covers 3 cohesion policy funds: the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund Plus, the Just Transition Fund, as well as the European Maritime Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund. Its approval is a requirement to access the cohesion policy funding for these programmes. Ireland will receive a total of €1.1 billion (in current prices)  for the 2021-27 period, comprising:

  • €396 million for the European Regional Development Fund;
  • €508 million for the European Social Fund+;
  • €84.5 million under the EU Just Transition Fund; and
  • €142 million for the European Maritime Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund.

With national match funding, the full value of the programmes supported by these allocations amount to almost €2.4 billion.

The Minister for Public Expenditure & Reform has overall responsibility for EU Cohesion Policy in Ireland and primary responsibility for the ERDF. The Southern Regional Assembly is the Managing Authority for the ERDF Southern, Eastern & Midland Regional Programme 2021-27 which will be submitted to the Commission for approval pending formal submission of the Partnership Agreement.

With Government approval, the draft Partnership Agreement will now be formally submitted to the European Commission for its review and final negotiations. Commission approval and adoption of the Partnership Agreement is anticipated in the autumn.

Minister McGrath said:

“The approval of the Partnership Agreement by Government is a key milestone in securing programmes of almost €2.4 billion for Ireland. I look forward to finalising negotiations with the European Commission on the Partnership Agreement over the coming months. The programmes under the Partnership Agreement will contribute to the country's competitive, innovative and sustainable growth locally, regionally and nationally. Ireland has a very strong record in using its Cohesion Funding effectively. Cohesion Policy is an important economic tool, to improve administrative capacity, to address disparities between regions, to stimulate research and innovation, to improve connectivity, and to enrich the lives of our European citizens, by addressing social inequalities. These programmes will make a real difference to people's lives. The Cohesion Policy Funds will be used in all areas of the country to support a range of initiatives to ensure that Ireland is well placed to take advantage of the opportunities arising from a green and digital Europe”.

EU Cohesion Funding

Cohesion policy is the EU's strategy to promote and support the ‘overall harmonious development’ of its Member States and regions by strengthening economic, social and territorial cohesion through measures aimed at reducing disparities in the level of development between regions.

The Common Provisions Regulation (Regulation 2021/1060 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 June 2021 laying down common provisions) govern 8 EU Funds:

  1. European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)
  2. European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) 
  3. European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMAFF) 
  4. Just Transition Fund (JTF) 
  5. Cohesion Fund 
  6. Asylum and Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) 
  7. Internal Security Fund 
  8. Border Management and Visa Instrument (BMVI) (Ireland is not part of Schengen, the BMVI instrument does not apply)
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