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Additional EU funding for BMW region secured

Story by Laura Ryder

Tuesday, 12th February, 2013 9:30am

Additional EU funding for BMW region secured

The Border, Midland and Westerm (BMW) region is to get an additional allocation of €100m from European coffers for the period 2014-2020, after calls for special provision funding were successful.

The 13 county region, which includes Offaly, had faced losing a total of approximately €199m - or almost 44 per cent of its EU budget - for the period, after being classified as a more developed region with GDP over 90 per cent of the EU average. However arguments put forward that the reference period used - 2007 to 2009 - did not paint the current picture in the region proved successful.

Though an exact funding figure for the region is not yet known, and there will be some funding reduction, BMW Regional Assembly director Gerry Finn welcomed the special case additional allocation of €100m last weekend.

"We have been aware that the EU budgetary parameters, which uses older GDP economic datasets from 2007-2009 to determine the funding categorisation of EU regions, was likely to lead to a reduction in the BMW region's allocation from Brussels," he said last Saturday.

"In order to seek any additional funding, an economic and political case had to be developed to convince the EU to treat the BMW region as a 'special case' region. In advance of both the November and February EU budget negotiations we have been engaged in a sustained campaign to highlight the need to bring the BMW region's special case to the negotiating table.

"We have engaged with the Taoiseach, relevant Ministers, MEPs, BMW Regional Assembly members and government officials to build our case. We are therefore delighted with the final outcome of yesterday's [Friday's] financial package."

Speaking to the Offaly Independent today (Tuesday), Adrian O'Donoghue of the BMW Assembly said that while the organisation would have liked even more money for the region, they were aware that many other regions are in a similar position and therefore are pleased with last Friday's result. Mr O'Donoghue said an exact budget figure for the 2014-2020 period for the BMW region has yet to be revealed. However he said a needs analysis is to be carried out over the coming months to determine what areas money will be spent on. That analysis will include a public consultation element, he added. It's expected a new operational programme for the 2014-2020 period will be submitted to the European Commission for approval later this year.

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