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de Brún encourages closer relationship between Executive and EU

8 June, 2007

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún speaking after meeting with EU Regional Development Commissioner, Danuta Huebner, in Belfast today has encouraged a more active relationship between the Executive and the EU.

Ms de Brún also praised the commitment of Commissioner Huebner in coming to see the situation here at first hand.

Speaking after the meeting Ms de Brún said:

"Personal interaction is all important in building on the support given by Europe to date. I would encourage the Executive to further develop a close working relationship. I welcome the visit next week to Brussels by Reg Empey and the visit by Michelle Gildernew for crucial talks on Rural Development funding.

"The importance of such visits was part of the discussions with the Commissioner this afternoon.

"The EU has played an important contribution in underpinning the peace process and through the various funding streams such as the Peace Programmes, Structural Funds, the Social Fund and funding for Rural Development.

"The recent commitments given by the EU President to explore how we can maximize EU support in the future through the Task Force are welcome and today's visit by Regional Development Commissioner Danuta Huebner will help us ensure that all potential funding streams are fully examined.

"There is a crucial role for our local MEPs in ensuring that we achieve progress across this issue and also in developing cross border approaches to the delivery of public services and investments in infrastructure.

"The key to success will be in working closely with the Executive and I am looking to build on today's meeting with Commissioner Danuta Huebner by seeking early meetings with Finance Minister, Peter Robinson and both the First and Deputy First Ministers." ENDS

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