EU '˜ready to maintain' PEACE programme - Barnier
The European Union's Chief Brexit Negotiator said that the north could still have access to PEACE funding and EU programmes post-Brexit during his visit to Derry today.
Michel Barnier was speaking at the Guildhall in Derry on Tuesday, where he met with business leaders, the Mayor of Derry & Strabane MaolíosaMcHugh and other local representatives. When asked whether he foresaw access to Structural and PEACE programme funds remaining in place beyond Brexit he responded: “We must maintain co-operation between Northern Ireland and maintain the PEACE Programme. “This week the European Commission will propose the new framework for the future financial perspective, 2021-26/27, and I can tell you we are ready to maintain the PEACE programme.”He added: “The UK has decided to leave the EU policies including the agricultural policy, but in leaving the EU we can maintain this co-operation thanks to the INTERREG programme. In my view we have to maintain this PEACE programme for the future.”In terms of a backstop deal over the border, Mr Barnier said it was a matter than had been signed up to by both the EU and Britain and must now be followed up on. “The Prime Minister of the UK, Mrs May, has accepted in December and in March, with us, to recognise that we have to maintain the all-Ireland economy, the Peace Process, the Belfast Agreement in all its dimensions, and we have to follow together now because we agree on a political framework, and now we have to find together the operational and practical solution,” he said, while stating that the “integrity of the Single Market” must also be maintaine