The UK Government is currently seeking views on the draft National Strategic Framework which will establish the broad priorities for future Structural Funds Programmes in the UK 2007 –2013.
This response has been collated following discussions with officer-level representatives of the Western Economic Strategy Team (WEST). While it does address general issues within the document, it focuses on areas of particular interest to the western sub-regional area.
The EU Structural Funds are the second largest item of EU expenditure and are used to promote regional development and employment across the EU.
While the 2007-2013 Structural Funds will cover three objectives – Convergence, Competitiveness and Employment and Territorial Co-Operation, Northern Ireland is eligible for funding under the Competitiveness and Employment and Territorial Co-Operation objectives. The draft National Strategic Reference Framework document only considers the Competitiveness and Employment objective.
75% of the Competitiveness and Employment Funding must be focussed on activities to support the Lisbon Agenda.