Jargon Buster


The principle whereby Structural Funds should complement the contributions of the Member State rather than replacing or substituting normal public expenditure.


Border Midland and Western (Region)(A NUTS II Region covering 13 counties established in 1999).


Cost Benefit Analysis


County Enterprise Boards

Cohesion Fund

A financing mechanism established by the Maastricht Treaty to Finance transport and environmental infrastructure projects in the EU. Due to our relative prosperity, Ireland no longer qualifies for financial assistance under this fund.


Refers to a situation where a proportion of the financing of a scheme/project/programme is obtained from an EU source of funding.

Convergence Objective

The convergence objective aims to stimulate growth and employment in the least developed regions of the European Union. The eligibility for the convergence object is determined by NUTS 2 regions whose per capita gross domestic product (GDP) is less than 75% of the European Union average. Neither of Ireland's two NUTS 2 regions satisfies this criterion; therefore we qualify for Structural Funds under the Regional Competitiveness and Employment Objective.


Directorate-General (of the European Commission). Until 1999, DG's were referred to by their number (for example, DGXVI was the Directorate General for Regional Policy). This practice was abolished in 1999, and DGs are now generally referred by an abbreviation of their name (for example, DG Regio).


The objective of the ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) is to help reinforce economic and social cohesion by redressing regional imbalances. This is achieved by supporting the development and structural adjustment of regional economies, including the conversion of declining industrial regions.


The European Social Fund (ESF) is the European Union's financial instrument for investing in people. The ESF channels money into helping Member States meet the goals they have agreed together for educating and training people throughout Europe.


European Union

Ex-ante Evaluation

Evaluation designed to provide an independent assessment of overall strategies and proposals for European funds.

Ex-post Evaluation

Evaluation designed to examine the utilisation of resources and the efficiency, effectiveness and impact of expenditure.


Economic & Social Research Institute


Gross Domestic Product


Gross National Product

Managing Authority

Refers to Government Departments and Regional Assemblies responsible for administering an individual Operational Programme.

Mid-Term Evaluation

Evaluation designed to examine the initial results of EU funding, the extent to which targets are being attained, and to make proposals on any changes that may be required.

Monitoring Committee

Responsible for monitoring and supervision of expenditure under the NSRF. Each OP has a specific Monitoring Committee, and there is a Monitoring Committee for the NSRF as a whole. Monitoring Committees represent a broad range of interests from Government Departments, Regional Assemblies and Authorities, Public Beneficiary Bodies , to social partners, environmental and equality interests and others.


The National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) agreed with the EU Commission sets out the policy context within which the funding available to Ireland under the Regional Competitiveness and Employment Objective over the 2007-2013 period through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Social Fund (ESF) may be applied.


National Roads Authority – body established in 1993 with overall responsibility for the planning and supervision of the construction, improvement and maintenance of the National Road network.


Nomenclature Units for Territorial Statistics – a system of classification of regions across the EU used by the European Commission. For the purposes of Structural Funds, the most important are the so-called NUTS II and NUTS III regions.

Operational Programme

The NSRF is implemented through three Operational Programmes, one national programme for the European Social Fund called the Human Capital Investment Programme managed by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment and two Regionally based programmed co-financed by the ERDF one for the Border, Midlands and Western Region and one for the Southern and Eastern Region which are managed by the BMW and S&E Regional Assemblies.

Programming Period

Structural Fund expenditure is based on multi-annual development programmes covering specific periods. The current programming period lasts from 2007 – 2013. Previous programming periods have covered the years 1989-1993, 1994-1999 and 2000-2006.

Regional Assembly

The BMW and S&E Regional Assemblies were established in 1999 by the Irish Government to give effect to the division of the country into two regions for Structural Funds purposes. They are the designated NUTS II Regional for Structural Funds purposes and act as the Managing Authorities for the Regional Operational Programmes. As well as their Structural Funds role, they have a general function in relation to the co-ordination of the provision of Public Services in the region.

Regional Authority

There are 8 Regional Authorities in Ireland. They are recognised at EU level as NUTS III Regions. Members of the Regional Authorities sit on Monitoring Committees. The Regional Authorities also have a general function to coordinate delivery of public services in their region.

Regional Competitiveness and Employment Objective

The Regional Competitiveness and Employment Objective is aimed at strenghtening competitiveness and attractiveness, as well as employment, through a two-fold approach. First, the development programmes will help regions to anticipate and promote economic change through innovation and the promotion of the knowledge economy, entrepreneurship, the protection of the environment, and the improvement of their accessibility. Second, more and better jobs will be supported by adapting the workforce and by investing in human resources.


Southern &- Eastern Region – a NUTS II Region covering 13 counties established in 1999.


Small and Medium Enterprises

Structural Funds

The collective name given to ERDF, ESF and Cohesion Funds.

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