Tuesday, 13 March 2012
Dáil Éireann Debate
173. Deputy Robert Dowds asked the Minister for Education and Skills the funding his Department receives from the European Union on an annual basis; and the services that this funding goes toward. [13527/12]
Minister of State at the Department of Education and Skills (Deputy Ciarán Cannon): The Department receives funding from the European Commission to fund the activities of the Irish national agency for Eurydice, the European Information Network. The International Section of the Department acts as national agency in this regard. In 2012, funding will amount to €53,000. In addition to funds provided directly to the Department, the EU also funds projects in Ireland, in the field of school, higher or adult education, or vocational training, through its Lifelong Learning Programme (LLP). LLP funds are provided directly every year by the European Commission to the Departmental agencies Léargas and the Higher Education Authority, which are the Irish national agencies for the LLP, for disbursement in accordance with EU regulations. The total amount provided in 2011 for this purpose was €10m. Ireland is currently participating in the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) organised by the OECD. There are international and national costs involved. The International cost paid to the OECD is eligible for a refund from the EU. The total International cost in 2011 was €86,706 and a refund of €65,029.50 (75%) was received by the Department. Ireland has received refunds annually since 2008.
The European Social Fund (ESF) is received from the European Commission following the submission of a claim from the Department of Education and Skill’s Certifying Authority under the Human Capital Investment Operational Programme 2007-2013 (HCI OP) in respect of expenditure under the HCI OP. The total ESF funding available to Ireland under the HCI OP is €375,362,370 and the Department’s anticipated share of this is approximately. €349 million. The ESF is invested in the following measures:- Skills Training, Back to Education Initiative, Undergraduate Skills, Labour Market Activation Fund, Adult Literacy, Third Level Access, Youthreach and Travellers and Technical Assistance.
The ESF in Ireland is fully committed for the period 2007 to 2013. However, the amount received varies from year to year depending on the claim submitted by the Certifying Authority. The total amount of ESF expenditure drawn down to the end of 2011 was €199m. In addition, the Department has made a number of successful applications in recent years for co-financing under the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF). EGF funding is sought to co-finance the provision of programmes of active labour market measures which are aimed at assisting workers made redundant as a result of the adverse impacts of globalisation. EGF applications may be made by a Member State on a discretionary basis on foot of specific criteria in the EGF Regulations (Nos. 1927/2006 and 546/2009) being met. A financial contribution under the EGF is received in a single payment following full and due consideration by the European Commission of a Member State’s application and, upon approval, requires an affirmative decision made by the EU budgetary authority. The EGF decision making process can take a considerable amount of time to be completed procedurally given the involvement of the various EU organs. Ireland has received some €60.6m in total EGF funding in 2010 and 2011 in relation to the six EGF applications submitted in the period to the end of 2011.
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