The European Commission has adopted a 'Partnership Agreement' with Ireland setting down the strategy for the optimal use of European Structural and Investment Funds throughout the country.

All 28 Member States have now adopted their Partnership Agreements with the Commission.

The agreement paves the way for investing €3.357 billion in total European Structural and Investment funding over 2014-2020 including European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.

The EU investments will help tackle unemployment and boost competitiveness and economic growth through support to innovation, training and education in cities, towns and rural areas. They will also promote entrepreneurship, fight social exclusion and help to develop an environmentally friendly and a resource-efficient economy.

The European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) are:

  • The European Regional Development Fund;
  • The European Social Fund;
  • The European Maritime and Fisheries Fund; and,
  • The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.

Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan said he warmly welcome today's adoption of Ireland's Partnership Agreement which will contribute to significantly improved coordination between the Rural, Structural and Social Funds.

"This will result in increased efficiency and better value-for-money from EU funds. Today's Partnership Agreement reflects the critically important role that the Irish agricultural sector plays in driving economic growth and job creation, particularly in rural communities, while at the same time protecting the country's valuable natural resources.

"The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development is the most important of the EU funds for Ireland and makes a significant contribution to unlocking the country's full potential. I am sure that Ireland will, as it has consistently done in the past, propose ambitious and well-targeted rural development measures that will encourage sustainable food production, increased agricultural productivity, enhanced environment and biodiversity and, crucially, more job creation in rural communities throughout the country."