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Regional Aid guidelines moving in right direction - Allister

01 November 2005



ďAs detailed in previous statements the EU Commission is currently reviewing its Guidelines on Regional Aid, with proposed changes effective from 1/1/2007.


Under the original proposal Northern Ireland was set to lose out badly, with prohibition on currently available levels of regional aid for inward investment, whereas the Border Region of the Republic of Ireland would have continued with preferential aid rates.  I, therefore, have been involved in extensive lobbying with the Commission on the subject and earlier this year submitted a detailed paper on the matter.


On 18 July 2005 the Commission revised its draft proposals, the effect of which was to include Northern Ireland as an economic growth area.  This is good news which would permit current aid intensities in the Province at or about the same rate as our competitor in the South.  I now greatly welcome the fact that the UK Government, which has had major difficulties with other aspects of the Commissionís proposals, has recently (by communication 4/10/05) responded to the Commission to endorse the concession made for Northern Ireland.


I also welcome the fact that HMG is resisting a willingness by Brussels to have differing intensities of aid available in different parts of Northern Ireland.  I think it is very important for the economic cohesion and balanced development of the Province that a uniform rate of grant aid applies for economic development.


Thus, so far so good in the campaign to preserve the right to offer realistic economic assistance for inward investment, so vital to the work of Invest NIĒ

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