Higgins stresses the need to protect ‘pivotal north west funds’

MEP for Ireland north west Jim Higgins has called for the north west region to be saved from a 43.5 per cent cut in its EU funding.

The MEP has made the call to the Irish Government to lobby for additional funding for the Border, Midland and Western Region as part of the ongoing EU Budget (MFF ) negotiations due to be decided this week.

“The BMW region faces losing almost half its EU structural funding if the current MFF proposals are not changed,” explained the Fine Gael MEP.

“This reduction is the result of a 2011 reclassification of the region as a more developed region based on data from 2007 to 2009. The region is essentially being punished for the growth it enjoyed years ago. The use of data from 2007 to decide on funding levels until 2020 is simply illogical. This data provides no reflection of the devastating effects the economic crisis has had on the region,” said Mr Higgins.

Portugal, Spain, Cyprus, Malta and Greece have all made applications for special funding provisions for many of their regions as part of the MFF. MEP Higgins is adamant that the BMW region is also a “most deserving candidate for additional funding. The north west cannot be forgotten about in this week's Council Summit on the EU's 2014 - 2020 budget,” he stressed.

“I have written to Minister Howlin, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, urging him to make a strong case for additional funding for the BMW region. Structural funds have been the most significant source of funding for economic development and job creation in the north west region and we need them now more than ever.”

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