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Financing Solutions From EU Structural Funds for S.M.E.’s and Local Authorities. Conference, Bucharest 30 th January 2008 Workshop 2 – Solutions for Supporting Sustainable Development of Cities Stephen Blair Director. Historical Background.

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Financing solutions from eu structural funds for s m e s and local authorities

Financing Solutions From EU Structural Funds for S.M.E.’s and Local Authorities

Conference, Bucharest 30th January 2008

Workshop 2 – Solutions for Supporting Sustainable Development of Cities

Stephen Blair


Historical background
Historical Background and Local Authorities

♦ Close relationship between EU Cohesion policy and Irish regional structures/policy

♦ 1989-1993 Round: First NDP/CSF – no specific regional aspects (review co’ttees)

♦ 1994-99 Round: Regional Authorities (NUTS III) to monitor CSF spending (with EU Operational Committees inc. lead Departments) and “promote coordination of public services”

Introduction to regional assemblies

The Regionalisation arrangements negotiated by Ireland in the context of the Agenda 2000 Agreement resulted in the designation of two regions in Ireland for Structural Funds Purposes:

♦ The Southern and Eastern Region (S&E Region) which qualifies for a six year phasing out regime for Objective 1 Structural Funds up to the end of 2005, and

♦ The Border, Midland and Western Region (BMW) Region which has retained Objective 1 status for Structural Funds for the full period to 2006.

Regional assemblies establishment

♦ To administer these two new super regions and to fulfill the E.U. Commissions requirements for some level of devolved administration, the Government created Regional Assemblies

♦ The two new Regional Assemblies were established and came into effect on the 21st July 1999 under the local Government Act, 1991 (Regional Authorities) (Establishment) Order, 1999.

♦ Assemblies comprise of nominated elected representatives of the Regional/ Local Authorities within their regions

♦ Assemblies first met in Oct. 1999

Regional assembly principal functions
Regional Assembly - Principal Functions and Local Authorities

♦ Promote co-ordination of public services in region

♦ Manage Regional Operational Programmes

♦ Monitor and make proposals in relation to general impact in region of all E.U. Programmes of Assistance

♦ Promote consideration by Public Authorities of the implication for, or the effects of their decisions, and activities on the region

National development plan 2000 2006 the regional dimension
NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN 2000-2006 and Local AuthoritiesThe Regional Dimension

♦ Fostering balanced regional development was one of four core National objectives.

♦ This was operationalised in strategy by a commitment to a better regional distribution of public and private investment.

♦ The objectives of balanced regional development is interpreted as reducing disparities between and within the two regions.

♦ One of the ways this is to be achieved is by development of existing major gateways and focused development as regional gateways of limited number of other larger towns.

♦ The identification of such further gateways was provided for in the National Spatial Strategy published in November 2002.

National development plan 2000 2006 operational structure

♦ Expenditure under the Plan was made under:-

  • 3 National or Inter-Regional Operational Programmes

  • 2 Regional Operational Programmes

  • Peace Programme

    ♦ This was the first time that a National Plan contained Regional Programmes

Ndp implementation
NDP Implementation and Local Authorities


Regional operational programmes

♦ Complexity & Scale of Programmes

♦ Two O.P.’s with combined investment of €9.4 billion accounted for approx 18% of total investment under N.D.P.

♦ €5.33 billion for S&E Regional O.P.

♦ €4.06 billion for BMW Regional O.P.

♦ Ten lead Government Departments and host of implementing Agencies

♦ Four sources of European Funding (ESF, ERDF, EAGGF & FIFG)

♦ Regional Assemblies were managing authorities for Regional O.P.’s and thus O.P. was approved by the Assemblies.

S e regional o p four main priorities
S & E Regional O.P. - Four Main Priorities and Local Authorities

€ Million

1. Local Infrastructure 3,045

2. Local Enterprise Development 625

3. Agriculture and Rural Development 543

4. Social Inclusion and Childcare 1,164


Local infrastructure
Local Infrastructure and Local Authorities

€ million

*Non-National Roads 1,354

*Rural Water 190

*Waste Management 621

*Urban & Village Renewal 111

*E-Commerce & Communications Infrastructure 302

Seaports 125

Regional Airports 4

*Culture, Recreation & Sport 333

Tech. Assistance 4

TOTAL 3,044

EU Funds ERDF €273.77m

* Measures delivered by Local Authorities

Social inclusion childcare
Social Inclusion & Childcare and Local Authorities

€ million

Childcare Facilities 107

Equality 24

Community Development 112

Crime Prevention 72

Youth Services 271

Local Development 374

Staffing & Quality Improvement (Childcare) 203

TOTAL 1,164

EU Funds ERDF €38m

ESF €70.74m

Framing the 2007 2013 southern eastern regional operational programme
Framing the 2007-2013 Southern & Eastern Regional Operational Programme

Factors which have influenced the prioritisation

in the draft Programme;

♦ EU Priorities (Lisbon, Gothenburg, ERDF Regulations)

♦ National Policies and Strategies

♦ Development needs of the Region

♦ Submissions from regional and local bodies

♦ Level of funding available

♦ Other Programmes (NDP 2007-2013, Rural Development Programme)

♦ Need for a geographical and thematic balance

♦ Ex-ante Evaluation and Strategic Environmental Assessment

Outline development strategy
Outline Development Strategy Operational Programme

♦ Having regard to all of the above factors it is proposed that the development strategy should be to concentrate resources on three broad priorities:

  • Innovation / Knowledge Economy. (€332m)

    Priority is explicably linked to the Lisbon Agenda.

  • Priorities will focus on three themes as follows:

    ♦ Increasing the regional research capacity across the Region and ensuring greater transfer and commercialisation of the research

    ♦ Improving the entrepreneurial base of the Regions small indigenous enterprises

    ♦ Enhancing the research capacity of the regional higher educational institutions

Financing solutions from eu structural funds for s m e s and local authorities

Operational Programme2 Environment and Accessibility (€215m)

  • Priority largely focused on the Gothenburg Agenda

  • Seeks to protect and enhance the environmental conditions in the Region to assist both competitiveness and the long term sustainability of economic development in the region.

  • Priority focused on three key areas:

    ♦ Protecting ground water conditions and raw water sources

    ♦ Initiatives to promote alternative energy production and energy efficiency

    ♦ Promoting increasing regional accessibility to broadband for SME’s

Financing solutions from eu structural funds for s m e s and local authorities

3 Operational ProgrammeSustainable Urban Development Priority 177m)

  • Building on the work of the NSS, and recognising that the Urban centres are drivers of the regional economy, this priority is targeted at the major urban centres in the region in support of both the Lisbon competitiveness objectives and the need to promote greater intra-regional balance in the interest of greater internal cohesion

  • Priority is the focus of two themes:

    • City Regeneration

    • Town Renewal

Urban priority background
Urban Priority Background Operational Programme

♦ Critical role of cities and towns in driving economic and social development

♦ Development of regional cities and towns critical to ensuring greater intra-regional balance

♦ NSS identification of limited number of Gateways and Hubs to promote sustainable economic development

Priority objectives
Priority Objectives Operational Programme

♦ Seek to enhance the attractiveness of Gateways and Hubs as places to live, work and invest in

♦ Complement Priorities 1 and 2 and other investment strategies supporting the implementation of the NSS

♦ Assist Gateways / Hubs to maximise their growth potential to gain critical mass

Thematic focus
Thematic Focus Operational Programme

♦ Sustainable development involves more than just investment in physical infrastructure

♦ Requires co-ordinated planning of physical environment, economic base, knowledge and research capacity and cultural and leisure infrastructure

♦ Requires co-operation across local authority areas and across key stakeholders in public and private sector

♦ Intervention to be based on integrated sustainable development strategies for the designated Gateways & Hubs

♦ Priority to be focused on three themes

  • Gateway Challenge Fund

  • Hubs Challenge Fund

  • Inter Gateway Co-Operation Fund

Theme 1 gateway challenge fund
Theme 1, Gateway Challenge Fund Operational Programme

♦ Assistance available for the 9 designated NSS Gateways to improve economically, environmentally, socially & culturally

♦ Requirement for integrated development strategy and to show how proposed contribute to enhancing growth potential of Gateways actions

♦ Prepared on a partnership basis – co-ordinated by LA’s in Gateway and should incorporate the inputs of local/regional development agencies, 3rd Level institutions, economic actors & community/voluntary groups

Theme 2 hub challenge fund
Theme 2, Hub Challenge Fund Operational Programme

♦ Under this theme assistance will be give to the designated NSS Hubs in the two Regions to improve economically, environmentally, socially and culturally

♦ Each of the Hubs will be required to prepare an integrated development strategy to demonstrate proposed actions to enhancing the attractiveness of urban centres – physical economic and social fabric of the centre

Theme 3 inter gateway co operation fund
Theme 3, Inter-Gateway Co-Operation Fund Operational Programme

♦ Aims to establish greater levels of connectivity and synergies between gateways and to promote a more balanced polycentric development – basic premise – by co-operation in relevant areas, the development potential of the Regional Gateways can be enhanced

♦ Proposals for joint actions should be developed on a partnership basis (to be co-ordinated jointly by the Gateways) and should incorporate inputs from public, private and social actors in the gateways and in the connecting corridors

Indicative operations
Indicative Operations Operational Programme

♦ The indicative operations to be supported under this priority will be the creation of a challenge fund in order for the relevant local authorities to bring forward innovative, participative integrated proposals. These could include:

♦ Urban infrastructure

♦ Public amenities, parks and playgrounds

♦ Physical regeneration and renewal

♦ Social Infrastructure

Indicative operations cont d
Indicative Operations (cont’d) Operational Programme

♦Public ‘iconic’ sculptures/artwork

♦Sustainable transport

♦Arts and Culture Facilities

♦Development of natural, cultural and built heritage

♦Promotions/branding of the urban centre

♦Address social exclusion

♦Capacity building and leadership

Gateway innovation fund
Gateway Innovation Fund Operational Programme

In addition to the Regional O.P aGateway Innovation Fund (GIF) is being provided for in the NDP 2007-2013 with the aims of enhancing and accelerating the growth of the 9 gateway cities and towns identified under the NSS. An initial exchequer allocation of €300m is being provided through the Fund which will operate initially on a pilot basis for the period 2008-2010. Under the management of the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government, a detailed scheme for the new Fund, has been finalised, and can be viewed on the Department’s website

Contact details
Contact Details Operational Programme

Southern & Eastern Regional Assembly

Assembly House

O’Connell Street



Tel: 00353 51 860700

Fax: 00353 51 879877