European Parliament Committee visit North
Sinn Féin Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness MP MLA and Sinn Féin Junior Minister Gerry Kelly MLA along with Finance Minister Peter Robinson and Ian Paisley Jnr have met members of an influential European Parliament committee this morning at the Assembly.
Speaking following the meeting Mr McGuinness said:
"This visit is another indication of the interest shown in this region by the European institutions as we work towards a more peaceful and prosperous society. The Regional Development Committee has played a significant role in Northern Ireland receiving substantial funds to build a better future for all."
The Committee on Regional Development is responsible for European regional policy, assessing its impact on economic and social cohesion. Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún is a member of the committee and part of the visiting delegation.
The committee is undertaking a four day visit to the North and North West of Ireland to review the use of European funding. It will look at activities funded under the European Structural Funds for the period up to 2006 and arrangements for the forthcoming programmes which began this year. The committee will meet with representatives from the Special EU Programmes Body, the International Fund for Ireland and the North South Ministerial Council Secretariat as well as cross-border partnership groups during its visit.
The North and Border areas have benefited from significant levels of European funding in the past. The new EU programming period (2007-2013) brings reductions in funding levels to the more established Member States and regions following enlargement of the European Union.