Northern Ireland: PEACE II programme (2000-2006)
The PEACE II programme is designed to consolidate the peace process in Northern Ireland by channelling finance under Objective 1 of the Structural Funds in the 2000-06 period. Like its forerunner, PEACE I (1995-99), the programme seeks to encourage progress towards a peaceful, stable society and promote reconciliation in the region.
In March 1999, the Berlin European Council decided that the special programme for peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland and the border counties of Ireland should continue until 2004 (renamed PEACE II). In January 2005, this programme was extended until 2006 and more funding allocated to it.
The new Regulation stipulates that PEACE II is a programme under Objective 1 of the Structural Funds to provide support for Northern Ireland and the border regions of Ireland.
Its goal is to encourage progress towards a peaceful, stable society and promote reconciliation in the region.
PEACE II has two general strands:
- economic and social development;
- addressing the legacy of the conflict in Northern Ireland, as part of the region's peace process.
The programme addresses the specific problems caused by the conflict in order to create a peaceful and stable society. It provides support for measures and action designed to achieve this end.
PEACE II contains five economic and social priorities:
- economic renewal (realising the economic opportunities generated by the peace process);
- social integration, inclusion and reconciliation (with priority given to vulnerable groups in the areas worst affected by the conflict, interface areas and areas where community infrastructure is weak);
- locally-based regeneration and development strategies;
- promoting an outward and forward-looking region (by encouraging a dialogue with other EU regions on economic, social and environmental issues);
- cross-border cooperation (economic, social and cultural).
For the 2000-06 period, total expenditure part-financed under PEACE II will be EUR 796 million. The Structural Fund contribution to this will be EUR 597 million, of which EUR 467 million in Northern Ireland (around 80% of the total) and EUR 130 million in the border counties of Ireland. Some 15% of the whole programme budget will be spent on cross-border projects.
The extension of PEACE II until 2006 has brought an extra EUR 144 million worth of funding for 2005-06.
The programme will draw on financing from the four Structural Funds in the 2000-06 period: 60% from the European Regional Development Fund, 32% from the European Social Fund, 7.5% from the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund and 0.5% from the Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance.
In total the EU will provide 75% of total public spending under the programme, with the remaining 25% provided by public and private sources in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Eligibility and management
The beneficiaries of the projects run under PEACE II come from the sectors, fields, groups and communities hardest hit by the conflict. What is more, projects are expected to prioritise a cross-community approach.
The programme is administered by the "Special EU Programmes Body". This body is supervised by a monitoring committee whose members represent the different interest groups in Northern Ireland and the border regions of Ireland.
Most financing is administered by local partnerships and specialist non-governmental bodies in each sector. These structures also involve local councillors, union and employer representatives, the non-profit sector, representatives of the public interest and other groups with an interest in the local administration of the funds.
Northern Ireland has been receiving financial support from the EU since the end of the 1980s, starting with the 1989-93 Community Support Framework for Northern Ireland.
The PEACE I programme (1995-99) was set up in July 1995. Between then and 1999 it part-financed EUR 692 million worth of expenditure under the Structural Funds.
Since 1989, the EU has also become one of the main contributors to the International Fund for Ireland. This Fund is an international organisation set up by an agreement between the governments of the UK and Ireland in 1986.
|Act||Entry into force||Deadline for transposition in the Member States||Official Journal|
|Regulation (EC) No 1260/1999||29.06.1999||-||OJ L 161 of 26.6.1999|
|Amending act(s)||Entry into force||Deadline for transposition in the Member States||Official Journal|
|Regulation (EC) No 1477/2001||01.01.2000||-||OJ L 198 of 21.07.2001|
|Regulation (EC) No 1105/2003||27.06.2003||-||OJ L 158 of 27.06.2003|
|Regulation (EC) No 173/2005||22.02.2005||-||OJ L 29 of 02.02.2005|