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O Muilleoir eager to speed up EU funding approval times

By John Mulgrew

The Finance Minister has increased his department's powers aimed at speeding up approval times for key EU funding in the wake of the Brexit vote.

Mairtin O Muilleoir has increased the "delegated authority levels" for schemes including Interreg, which could see it giving the green light to funding between £2m and £5m.

Some of the projects already funded by the Interreg Iva scheme include £10.7m for the Enterprise train service, and £19m towards upgrading the Londonderry line.

"My department is increasing delegated authority arrangements for departments from £2m to £5m," he said. "My department has conducted a review of the current process across departments and is content that the level of approvals already in place across the programme both at Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) level and individual department level provides sufficient control for projects with expenditure of less than £5m.

"I'm committed to helping speed up the process and this action, the first major change since 2008, will shorten the approvals process by an average of three weeks. Fourteen projects in the first tranche will benefit immediately from this decision and it comes in advance of an important Steering Group meeting on July 27."

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