Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said that it is imperative that the Rural Development Programme (RDP) 2014/20 is administered efficiently given the impact of the reduction of 22% in the EU budget negotiated by the British government and supported by the two unionist parties.
Martina Anderson said:
“While the French successfully negotiated an additional €1billion and the Irish government an additional €100million the British government decided not to pursue extra funding and instead accepted a 22% reduction.
“The implications of that decision are that there will be a reduced Pillar 2 allocation that will put pressure on the forthcoming RDP which will have to be designed around the new lower figure.
“This will make it incredibly challenging to roll out a balanced rural development programme.
“The DUP court case blocking the Minister, Michelle O’Neill from targeting the available EU Funds where they would benefit the greater number of rural dwellers will negatively impact on many across the rural community.
“It is essential that a balanced programme which recognises all rural dwellers is put in place.
“This will require a sufficient budget and the active engagement of local people in Local Action Groups (LAGS) enabling rural communities to take ownership of the development of their areas.”