Farry says a more comprehensive approach needed on European funding

Alliance Brexit spokesperson Stephen Farry MLA has said there needs to be a more comprehensive approach to European funding after Brexit, after it was indicated it would remain for cross-border schemes.

Dr Farry was speaking after European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said he could see “no more important use” of the European budget than maintaining the peace process in Ireland. The current funding is due to run out in 2020, with the UK Government maintaining it until then.

“Northern Ireland is very heavily dependent upon European funding. While continued access to Peace and Interreg monies would clearly be welcome, the funding debate needs to include both structural funds and access to competitive funds,” said Dr Farry.

“The European Social Fund for example, allows for a wider range of interventions regarding employability issues, especially for the most marginalised, with programmes mainly being delivered through the community and voluntary sector, while Horizon 2020 provides research opportunities for universities and businesses.

“Therefore the challenge is much larger than continued access to funding. The UK Government could continue to make contributions to the EU budget in order to maintain Northern Ireland’s eligibility, and allow us to continue to the comprehensive, broad-based approach we currently enjoy.”

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