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Don't give North's EU funds back to Westminster - de Brún

21 February, 2008

Sinn Féin's MEP Bairbre de Brún has used the opportunity of a vote and debate in Strasbourg on cohesion policy to reject calls for the 're-nationalsiation' of regional funds, where the governments of richer member states would put less into the EU budget in return for funding the development of poorer regions within their member state.

Such a proposal would have the effect of giving Westminster rather than the EU the decision over what funds if any would come to the North of Ireland for regional development.

Speaking from the European Parliament in Strasbourg Ms de Brún welcomed the rejection by MEPs of such a 're-nationalisation' move.

"I am glad today to be able to reject "renationalisation" as I am strongly in support of the position that the EU should directly provide funds for the more disadvantaged regions in all member states of the EU.

'The British government argument that the more prosperous member states should be allowed to fund their own regional policy in return for putting less into the overall EU budget would have disastrous consequences for the North of Ireland.

'From our history, we know how damaging direct rule from London was in terms of the "additionality" of EU funds over the years.

'Now that that situation has been rectified we need to strengthen more direct ties between the Executive and the EU institutions.

'The last thing we need is to move back again to the old failed situation where EU funds got as far as Westminster and stopped there" commented de Brún as the EP adopted the report by MEP Ambroise Guellec rejecting 'renationalisation' unambiguously." ENDS

Note to editor

The report by the Breton MEP deals with the way forward for regional development after the present round of funding ends in 2013.

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