On 14 January 2016, the new EU Programme for Peace and Reconciliation (PEACE IV) worth almost 270 million euro has been launched. PEACE IV is a unique Cohesion Policy programme aiming to reinforce a peaceful and stable society by fostering reconciliation in Northern Ireland and the Border Region of Ireland.
What is the PEACE programme?
PEACE IV is a unique Cohesion Policy programme aiming to reinforce a peaceful and stable society by fostering reconciliation in Northern Ireland and the Border Region of Ireland. The PEACE programme has been implemented as a cross-border programme (in the context of European territorial cooperation). The area eligible for inclusion in the fourth PEACE programme consists of Northern Ireland and the Border Region of Ireland (the Border Region comprises counties Louth, Monaghan, Cavan, Leitrim, Sligo and Donegal).
It has two main aims: cohesion between communities involved in the conflict in Northern Ireland and the border counties of Ireland; and economic and social stability.
The programme addresses the specific problems caused by the conflict with the aim of creating a peaceful and stable society.
Overall management and delivery of the programme is handled by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) and financing is administered by local partnerships and non-governmental organisations.
The peace process in Northern Ireland has been receiving financial support from the EU since 1989, through both EU regional policy and EU contributions to the International Fund for Ireland (IFI). The launch of the first PEACE Programme in 1995, following the recommendations from a special Commission Task Force, was the direct result of the European Union’s will to respond positively to new opportunities in the Northern Ireland peace process during the paramilitary ceasefire announcements. Since then the EU has provided additional financial assistance through PEACE II and PEACE III. On 30 November 2015, the European Commission adopted PEACE IV.
The financial allocation to be attributed to the PEACE programme under the MFF for the years 2014-2020 is EUR 150 million, of which EUR 106 500 000 will go to the United Kingdom and EUR 43 500 000 to Ireland.
Taking into account the new financial allocation, the cumulative EU contribution to peace and reconciliation in the programme area will amount to 1.56 billion euro. Together with the national co-financing from both Member States (UK and Ireland) more than 2.2 billion euro will have been invested by the end of the 2014-2020 programming period.
* Shared education:
30 million euro will be provided for shared education projects that will increase contacts between pupils and teachers from all backgrounds. The programme will encourage schools to engage in shared education actions and provide training for teachers.
* Helping children and young people:
57 million euro will be invested in the future of the next generation who, as research shows, is still negatively affected by the legacy of the conflict. The programme will invest in peer mentoring actions and local community youth initiatives to increase the interaction between children and young people from all backgrounds and promote respect for diversity.
* Creating shared spaces and services:
84.5 million euro have been earmarked for the creation of new shared services and spaces. The programme will support, for example, interventions for victims and survivors of the conflict, to address trauma, assess physical and mental health needs and assist families to engage in historical processes.
* Building positive relations at a local level:
44 million euro will be used to support local projects that will build mutual trust and understanding, involving sports, arts and culture as ways of facilitating interaction and mobility between residents from divided neighbourhoods.
The remainder of the funding will be used for technical assistance measures to ensure efficient implementation, monitoring and control of the programme.