EU Budget cuts of €200million to North supported by Unionist Parties- Martina Anderson MEP
Martina Anderson, Sinn Féin MEP has said that if the agreement reached by the EU Heads of Government on the EU Multi-Annual Financial Framework (MFF) on 8 February is accepted by the European Parliament when it votes on the Budget on Wednesday it will mean another cut in funds to the North of €200million.
Martina Anderson MEP speaking before the vote takes place on Wednesday said:
“If the EU Heads of Government proposals are accepted by the European Parliament in the vote on Wednesday 13th March it will cut €30billion from the EU Territorial fund which incorporates the Competitiveness and Employment programme. This programme which covers research and development and assists start-up business and provides necessary training will be severely affected.
“The British government in line with its Westminster policies was one of the main instigators of the move towards budget cuts. And of course the DUP, in Westminster, embraced and supported the calls for a cut to the EU Budget and although they no longer have any MP’s the UUP having fought the last Assembly election on the Tory manifesto is still wedded to these policies.
“Although disappointed, considering the support shown by the two Unionist Parties for the Westminster Tories austerity policies, I am not surprised that their MEP’s support these cuts to the EU Budget.
“On initial reading it appears that a wide range of programmes including agriculture, cohesion and structural funds as well as Peace funding will be affected.
“Following the MFF Council proposals which have to be voted on March 13th I understand that the North's share of the Budget allocation will be €276m (£244m at today’s exchange rate), a reduction of €206m or 43% from the 2007/2013 allocation.
“This is another cut for the North supported by the Unionist Parties in or associated with Westminster.
“It must be remembered that the Commission’s proposal was for a budget freeze in cash terms. But under pressure from the British and other right wing governments and supported by the two Unionist parties the agreed proposals will actually result in a cut of over €200million in the North’s allocation. The effect on our farmers alone will mean a 13% real terms cut for the 2014–2020 CAP Budget. Given their dependence on direct payments, this will have a significant impact on our local agricultural sector.”