Jane Hutt, Minister for Finance and Government Business
Today the draft Ireland Wales Cooperation Programme 2014-2020 was submitted to the European Commission for formal negotiation.
Wales (through the Welsh European Funding Office) has lead responsibility for developing and managing the new programme, worth €100 million over the period 2014–2020.
The programme has been developed in full collaboration with our partners in Ireland in the Department for Public Expenditure and Reform and the Southern and Eastern Regional Assembly (S&ERA). It has been subjected to both informal and formal consultation with stakeholders across Ireland and Wales, with the results of the public consultation (which ended on 31 July 2014) providing a strong endorsement of the strategy and investment priorities proposed by both Governments.
The programme will be an excellent vehicle through which stakeholders in Wales can strengthen links with Ireland and work together to develop innovative projects to address shared economic, environmental and social challenges in the areas of innovation, climate change adaptation, and the utilisation of natural and cultural resources and heritage.
Detailed discussions with the Commission will take place over the next few months, and we – along with our Irish colleagues – will be working to ensure the programme is agreed by the Commission as early as possible next year.
I will continue to keep Members informed of developments.