EU to help integrate Ireland

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Indy Politics
EUROPEAN UNION cash is to be used to help integrate Northern Ireland with the Republic officials in Brussels said yesterday, writes Andrew Marshall.

New regional aid plans agreed yesterday include formal provision for cross-border co-operation for the first time and more money will be available if Dublin and London come to a broader political agreement, officials said.

The European Commission agreed a pounds 1bn regional assistance package for Northern Ireland over six years, part of a package worth nearly pounds 2bn for the UK. It also agreed new cash for Merseyside, which will receive pounds 636m over five years, and pounds 242m for Highlands and Islands. Both will, for the first time, receive aid under the Objective 1 scheme, targetted at the EU's poorest regions.

Britain and Ireland included a 13-page provision on co-operation in their EU spending plans for the first time. Last year, a new EU aid fund for the first time covered Ireland as an island.