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de Brún welcomes inclusion of €200 million PEACE funding in summit agreement

20 December, 2005

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has today welcomed the inclusion of €200 million in the EU budget agreement by European heads of state. Ms de Brún said that its inclusion was a recognition by European leaders that peace building and reconciliation is a longer term process and one that is worthy of ongoing support.

Ms de Brún has embarked on a series of initiatives since election to the European Parliament eighteen months ago and has met with the British and Irish Governments, as well as the European Commissioner for Regional Development Danuta Huebner. She has also worked on a continuous basis with groups, organisations and networks involved in the important task of peace building here.

Speaking today Ms de Brún said:

"I am extremely pleased that PEACE funding for the period 2007 to 2013 has finally been agreed by EU heads of state for inclusion in the budget. For a number of years now, people have been working extremely hard to secure continued funding for PEACE and IFI after 2006. This agreement for an additional €200 million in funding for the next six years will go a long way to securing the future of the vital peace building projects undertaken by community organisations.

"I have also worked hard to ensure that MEPs from across Europe are aware that projects supported by EU peace funding are not only worthy but effective. This work included a visit this year by a cross community delegation of projects funded under PEACE to meet with MEPs and with the European Commission.

"Whilst collective agreement has been now been reached by EU heads of state on the budget, there was a concern that the bargaining involved could jeopardise future funding. Thankfully, the securing of agreement on these funds will provide community projects and initiatives with hope in terms of the next six years.

"It is now imperative that this funding is directed towards areas of real need, particularly in promoting peace and reconciliation and tackling disadvantage and discrimination. We must ensure the best use of monies and I am actively working with community groups on the ground to discuss their needs in relation to allocation of a PEACE III programme." ENDS

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