“Northwest & Border Region access to Regional Aid must be protected” – Chris MacManus MEP
Sinn Féin MEP Chris MacManus has said the Northwest and the border regions must retain their eligibility for Regional Aid in the coming years. New guidelines published by the EU mean that Ireland will have to cut the number of regions and populations eligible for the scheme which allows the State to invest in businesses without breaching EU State Aid rules.
Mac Manus said:
“I am disappointed that the EU has cut the total areas in which Ireland can use Regional Aid. From 2014 -2021, 51.28% of the population was eligible. Now under the EU’s plan for 2022- 2027 this will fall to 35.9%. Clearly, the government in drawing up its Regional Aid Map will have to prioritise and I am calling for the Northwest and the border regions to be prioritised as the regions most in need.
The Midlands Northwest MEP said “I had argued that the EU should take into account Brexit and its impact on future GDP and unemployment when assigning eligible regions and that the Northwest’s relatively deteriorating status from “developed” to “in transition” meant Ireland needed a larger share or at least to maintain its overall share for eligibility. Unfortunately, this hasn’t happened and the Irish government must now notify a new map to Brussels showing its eligible regions. It is essential that the Northwest is allowed to continue to benefit from regional aid.”
MacManus concluded, “I will be calling on Minister Varadkar to ensure that the Northwest and the border region is protected as much as possible under Ireland’s Regional Aid maps and I hope all the constituency’s MEPs, representatives and business leaders can work together to convince the Minister that this aid is still required.” ENDS