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Home /Cohesion Fund/ Cohesion Fund article

Cohesion Fund

The Cohesion Fund was established in 1993 through a provision of the Maastricht Treaty on European Union, and was designed to assist the least prosperous Member States in their preparation for Economic and Monetary Union. It is separate from the Structural Funds, and has its own set of principles governingeligibility of expenditure

In order to qualify for Cohesion Fund assistance, a country must have as Gross National Product of less than 90% of the European Union average. The CohesionFund differs from the Structural Funds in that it is based on Member States ratherthan regions. Member States are eligible for Cohesion Funding, while eligibilityfor the Structural Funds is usually specific to certain regions. Four MemberStates qualified as eligible for Cohesion Fund support Ireland, Greece Spainand Portugal.

The first funding period of the Cohesion Fund ran from 1993-1999 and the currentperiod runs from 2000-2006. A mid-term review for eligibility was undertakenin 2003 and on that basis Ireland ceased to be eligible for Cohesion Funds fromthe end of 2003.

The Cohesion Fund finances projects in two main areas - transport and the environment. The aim of the Fund is to achieve a balance between these two areas of assistance.In Ireland Cohesion Fund projects in the area of transport have covered road,port, airport and rail projects, while environmental projects include water supply,waste water treatment, and solid waste projects.

Total assistance from the Fund for the four Member States for the 1993-1999 periodwas €16,700 million of which Ireland received 9% (€1,500 million);Spain 55% and Greece and Portugal each received 18%. A budget of €18 billionwas allocated to the Cohesion Fund for the period 2000-2006. A range or fourchetteis fixed for each Member State, and allocated on an indicative basis to eachof the eligible Member States as follows:

1. Greece 16% -18%
2. Ireland 2% - 6%
3. Portugal 16% -18%
4. Spain 61% - 63.5%

During the period 1993-2003, the Community supported more than 120 importantinfrastructural projects in Ireland, which absorbed some €2 billion in contributionsfrom the Cohesion Fund.

Institutional Arrangements
The Department of Finance has overall responsibility for the administration of the Fund. The implementation of projects approved for Cohesion Funds is the responsibilityof the appropriate Government Department, in conjunction with the implementingbodies under their auspices, namely:

Government Departments and Implementing Bodies:
Intermediate Body Implementing Bodies Area of Expenditure
Environment, Heritage & Local Government

Local Authorities - Dúchas

Waste water treatment, water supply and solid waste Habitat Development
Department of Transport & National Roads Authorities Local Authorities National Roads
Department of Transport CIE Rail
Department of Transport Aer Rianta Airport development
Department Communications, Marine and Natural Resources Port Authorities Port Development

Intermediate bodies play a role in all stages of selecting and implementationof projects, and for preparation of applications to the Commission, project reportsand the final report, payment claims, and monitoring information.

Cohesion Fund Report 2004

List of projects funded by the Cohesion Fund in Ireland

Breakdown of Cohesion Fund investment by sector in Ireland

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