European Regional Development Fund and Northern Ireland: the additionality issue

AuthorFinbar McGurran,David Leslie,David McDowell
Publication Date01 December 1989
Date01 December 1989
European Regional Development Fund and
Northern Ireland: the additionality issue
David Leslie
Department of Hospitality Management, Leeds Polytechnic
Finbar McGurran
Graduate of University of Ulster at Magee
David McDowell
Head of Department of Hotel and Catering Management, University of Ulster
The role of the ERDF in furthering the objective of wealth redistribution between
member states of the EEC is examined with reference to tourism in Northern
Ireland. A synopsis of the development of the ERDF, and the related
Programmes, is presented, with particular emphasis given to the question of
’additionality’ .
Socio-economic factors influencing the categorisation of Northern Ireland as a
’less favoured area’ are examined. The economic advantages of tourism, and
associated developments supported by the ERDF, are discussed, leading to the
recognition of the importance of local authorities. Questions are raised
regarding the commitment of the latter which raises implications for further
The role of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) has already been
discussed by a number of researchers who have, in the main, tended to
concentrate either on the development and objectives of the fund [Aitken, 1986a]
or on the overall support provided by the fund to a particular area, often and more
specifically a local authority [Aitken, 1986b]. By comparison the role of the fund
in encouraging wealth redistribution, and thereby ameliorating regional
disparities, particularly with reference to tourism and the socio-economic
problems of a specific region, has not been addressed to any great extent. This
paper examines these aspects of the ERDF within the context of Northern Ireland.

Such a study raises a number of issues which are:
whether the support provided through the fund is additional to other
measures as intended, or diluted through inclusion in overall development
policies and investment provided by central government.
the effectiveness of the policies and the developments initiated in
achieving the stated objectives.
the role, commitment and approach of local authorities with regard to
obtaining funding and the subsequent development.
Of these issues the one which concerns us most is that of whether the funds are in
essence additional.
The raison d’etre of the EEC, based on the European Coal and Steel
Community [ECSC] Treaty of 1951, is, primarily, to encourage peace and
improve the quality of life throughout the member countries, and further peaceful
development throughout the world. The EEC places a major emphasis on unity
and one approach in pursuance of this objective, as laid down in the Treaty. of
Rome, 1957, is to encourage harmonious development among the member states,
reduce regional differences, and particularly encourage economic growth in the
less favoured areas. One approach, introduced by the EEC, to further these aims
has been the adoption of a policy of redistributing finance from the richer regions
to those areas of lower wealth.
The desired redistribution of finance is not envisaged as simply a case of
making gratuitous payments to ’less favoured areas’ but rather as financial
support for developments that will, ideally, encourage further economic growth.
In the late 1960s European Parliament recognised that the assistance being
provided for regional development from those funds already well established was
not satisfactory and that a need existed for the establishment of a special fund to
finance regional development. At the Paris Summit in 1972 the heads of
governments gave priority to the aim of correcting, at Community level, structural
and regional imbalances which might affect the realisation of the ’Economic and
Monetary Union’. Subsequently the Thomson Report [1973] was produced. This
set out the aim for a common regional policy involving the co-ordination of
national programmes under the guidance of a Community Regional Fund.
This fund was to bring about self-sustaining growth which would further the
objective of forming the Economic and Monetary Union. Ultimately the European
Regional Development Fund [ERDF] and the Regional Policy Committee were
established, in 1975. The ERDF was to be administered by the Commission,
aided by the Regional Policy Committee, to consider applications in respect of
infrastructure over and above 10 MUA. (An MUA is a ’million units of account’.
It was introduced as a method to measure currency at the European level and
created in the light of the Economic and Monetary Union concept.) A second
area for the ERDF’s consideration is the co-ordination of national and EEC
regional development policies; and to examine the regional development
programmes prepared by the national governments.
The regulations lay down certain criteria for regional development
programmes which are that they must contain consideration of the following

aspects :-
1 economic and social analysis
2 development objective
3 measures to carry out those objectives
4 financial resources
5 the means of implementation
The foregoing regulations were amended in 1979 to afford greater flexibility
and enhance their...

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