EU Programme for Peace and Reconciliation in Northern Ireland and the Border Region of Ireland (2000-2004) - PEACE II


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Peace II

The second Programme for Peace and Reconciliation in Northern Ireland and the Border Region of Ireland (2000-2004) demonstrates concrete European Union solidarity and support for the peace process established by the Belfast Agreement. It is designed to address the economic and social legacy of 30 years of conflict in the region and to take advantage of new opportunities arising from the restoration of peace. This programme - unique in Europe - follows the work pioneered in the Special Support Programme Community Initiative (1995-1999).

The programme benefits a wide range of sectors, areas, groups and communities which have been particularly affected by the conflict and encourages cross-community projects. The greatest share of the funding is managed by locally-based partnership structures and by non-government organisations. These structures allow all parts of the community to come together and work at grassroots level, both North and South of the border. This approach has proved successful over the years in paving the way to reconciliation among local stakeholders and extending the reach of EU funding to parts of the communities which would not otherwise have benefited.

This joint UK / Ireland programme forms part of the Community Support Frameworks of both Northern Ireland and Ireland. The total budget available for funding projects is estimated over EUR 740 million, of which the European Structural Funds will provide EUR 531 million (75 % of public funding). Around 80 % of the total programme's allocation will go to projects in Northern Ireland and 20 % to the Border Region of Ireland ; 15 % of the overall programme will be attributed to cross-border projects.

1. Action Priorities

The programme revolves around five priority areas and technical assistance measures.

Priority 1 : Economic renewal
This priority aims to realise the economic opportunities brought about by peace, while at the same time to meet the challenge of replacing employment which will be lost in traditional sectors and to assist individuals employed in those sectors in making the transition to other sustainable employment.

Priority 2 : Social integration, inclusion and reconciliation
The measures under this priority target opportunities and needs in both urban and rural areas across the region, paying particular attention to vulnerable groups, areas most affected by the conflict, areas where community infrastructure is weak and interface areas.

Priority 3 : Locally-based regeneration and development strategies
These measures consolidate the distinctive approaches to local needs developed under PEACE I. They do so through locally-based regeneration strategies led by Local Strategy Partnerships and County Council-led Task Forces which are sensitive to local needs and which support new working relationships which cut across traditional sectarian and social divides, thereby contributing to a process of trust building and prejudice reduction.

Priority 4 : Promoting an outward and forward looking region
This priority is designed to encourage more constructive dialogue with other EU regions on economic, social and environmental matters and by promoting abroad the positive image of a more peaceful society.

Priority 5 : Cross-border co-operation
Measures under this priority promote economic, social and cultural cross-border co-operation and provide a strategic framework for supporting cross-border initiatives and projects across a variety of sectors and organisations - public, voluntary and private that contribute to peace building, reconciliation and greater mutual understanding.

Technical Assistance : Measures are equally provided to assist with the management of, information on, implementation of, control and evaluation of all aspects of the programme.

2. Description of the eligible areas

Northern Ireland covers an area of 13 576 km2 and has a population of around 1 690 000 inhabitants.The political instability and violent conflict of the last thirty years has been reflected economically in low levels of inward investment and tourism. Businesses tend to be cautious and there are low levels of labour mobility. The level of violence fell following the 1994 cease-fires by the main paramilitary groups and the reality of peace is beginning to be seen. The devolution of power to the Northern Ireland Executive and Assembly could restore business confidence in the region and contribute to greater economic development. In recent years the Northern Ireland economy has grown more rapidly than the UK or EU average, although problems of low productivity and high long-term unemployment persist.

Important sectors in the economy include agriculture, food processing and textiles, generally low productivity sectors, while fewer than 10% of the workforce is engaged in the higher value-added sectors like financial and business services. There is also a high dependence on public sector employment, accounting for around one third of total employment. Education levels remain low compared to the UK average, although many potential new entrants are well educated.

Map of the Eligible area for the PEACE Programme (PDF)

3. Management and contact details

The Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) - a North/South administrative set up by the Belfast Agreement - acts as the Managing Authority for the PEACE II programme.

The Programme Monitoring Committee comprises the principal regional partners, drawn equally from Northern Ireland and the Border Region of Ireland. It includes representation from Northern Ireland and Ireland administrations, business, trade unions, the community and voluntary sector, the agriculture sector, local authorities, and those representing environmental and equal opportunities interests.

Operational Programme (full text, PDF) :

Press release : EN, FR, DE

Financial and Technical information

EU Programme for Peace and Reconciliation in Northern Ireland and the Border Region of Ireland (2000-2004) - PEACE II

Intervention Type

Operational Program

CCI no


Number of decision


Final approval date


Breakdown of finances by priority axis

Priority Axis EU Investment National Public Contribution Total Public Contribution
1 Economic renewal 0 0 247 008 390
2 Social integration, inclusion and reconciliation 0 0 185 384 637
3 Locally-based Regeneration & Development Strategies 0 0 120 195 503
4 Outward and Forward Looking Region 0 0 35 459 000
5 Cross-border co-operation 0 0 132 623 379
999 Technical Assistance 0 0 75 389 456
Total 0 0 796 060 365

Financial Breakdown by Funds

Total: 597 000 000 359 622 434 190 138 365 43 782 029 3 457 172
100,00% 60,24% 31,85% 7,33% 0,58%