Monaghan organisations and communities are to benefit from inclusion in a substantial Nordic funding programme.
The Northern and Periphery Arctic Programme enables Ireland’s border and west region to partner with Nordic communities with a focus on promoting sustainable development. The Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme forms a cooperation between eight programme partner countries; including Finland, Ireland, Sweden and in cooperation with the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Greenland and Norway.
The new NPA Programme for 2021-27 was recently announced, and for the first time, Monaghan is included in the programme’s fundable region.
As a result of this inclusion, the NWRA invited the NPA Committee to host its next meeting in Monaghan, this meeting which will include attendees from Norway, Sweden & Finland, will take place on 28th September.
David Minton, Director of the Northern and Western Regional Assembly said that ‘over the past six years alone, the NPA programme invested over €56 million across our communities. We hope that with Monaghan’s inclusion in the new NPA programme area for 2021-27, this will mean a direct benefit to organisations and communities in Monaghan in the coming yearsMinton, went on to say that ‘the population of the Nordic countries totals 27 million. It is a prosperous region with GDP per capita far exceeding the EU average. The Nordics are important-export markets and economies that foster significant levels of entrepreneurship, innovation, and scientific research. Today, we enjoy strong partnerships with each of the Nordic countries. Like Ireland, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden and Norway are relatively small countries, they have rural communities very similar to Monaghan, with shared challenges, shared industry and there is real opportunity for facilitating both “business-to-business exchanges and community-to-community exchanges in green transition, renewable energy and ag-innovation’.
Minton characterised Ireland and the Nordics “as natural partners whose technological and scientific expertise is capable of creating a genuine research and business partnerships”.
Explaining how the opportunity to include Monaghan arose, Cllr David Maxwell (former Chair of the NWRA) ‘recognised that Ireland had just applied for a seat with the Arctic Council. The NWRA is National Contact Point for the NPA programme, but Monaghan had been excluded previously. We negotiated the inclusion of Monaghan for the period of 2021-2027. It’s a huge opportunity when you consider Ireland has trade worth more than €15 billion annually with the Nordics. In a post-Brexit Europe, the Nordics “are in a sense our new home market”, he said.
Cllr Maxwell added ‘the NPA is a funding tool to connect business, industry and communities. I would encourage those interested to join the new EU Funding Network set up by the NWRA to get updates, news and information on funding calls’.
Cathaoirleach of Monaghan County Council Cllr Sean Conlon commented ‘he is looking forward to welcoming the programme monitoring committee to County Monaghan. Monaghan is always open to new partnerships and collaboration. The NPA opens up a channel to countries like Sweden, Norway, Finland and others that previously might not have existed. It is an opportunity to exchange ideas on technology, better public services, innovation and sustainable development’.
Travis O’Doherty, EU Programme Manager with NWRA added his support for the opportunity to explore new innovative partnerships. “Monaghan County Council has extensive expertise working in both cross-border and transnational EU programmes. Their teams have been to the forefront of these opportunities. The programme operates in a multi-layered policy landscape, and we are looking forward to examining areas relating to circular economy, sustainability and innovation’.
Over the past five years, the NWRA has worked with local and regional stakeholders to maximise the return from available EU funding sources. There has been a year on year increase in successful funding opportunities and Minton encourages anyone interested to ‘register with our new EU Funding Network.