“As Ireland celebrates 45 years of EU membership, the Summer 2018 issue of the EU’s Regional and Urban Policy Magazine “Panorama” contains an interview with the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe and an article setting out details of a selection of projects showing how European Regional Development Funding has helped Ireland become more innovative and competitive.

In the interview the Minister tells how Ireland has benefited from its EU membership, pointing out that when we joined the EU in1973, our GDP was just 67 % of the EU average whereas it is now almost 180 % and we have moved from being a net beneficiary to a net contributor to the EU budget.

While Cohesion Policy has long been known for paving Ireland’s motorways etc. he indicated that the focus has moved away from support for physical, infrastructural investments to supporting research, innovation and the development of SMEs, reflecting greater global competitiveness and the rapid rate of change.

The Minister also drew attention to the very significant political role the EU has played in the Peace Process in Northern Ireland. Since 1995, successive PEACE Programmes have supported projects which help to reconcile communities and build a shared future

In conclusion the Minister says that recognising the value of our EU membership, Ireland is open to paying more into the EU budget – as long as this brings additional European value and is looking forward to working closely with colleagues in other Member States and in the European Commission and Parliament to improve policies and ensure adequate resource allocations in the coming years.”

The full text of the interview and accompanying article can be accessed at http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/sources/docgener/panorama/pdf/mag65/mag65_en.pdf