Dáil Éireann - Volume 424 - 03 November, 1992
Written Answers. - EFTA Countries Special Fund.
Mr. Hogan Mr. Hogan
91. Mr. Hogan asked the Minister for Finance if he will give details of the special fund that was established by EFTA countries to assist the development of less well off EC countries; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Minister for Finance (Mr. B. Ahern) Bertie Ahern
Minister for Finance (Mr. B. Ahern): The EEA Treaty which is scheduled to come into force on 1 January 1993, makes specific provision for a financial mechanism to provide assistance to promote  economic and social cohesion in the Island of Ireland, Greece, Portugal and the Objective I regions of Spain. Financial aid will be provided in the form of direct grants and in the form of interest rebates on loans.
The total amount of grants provided will be ECU 500 million to be committed over the period 1993 to 1997. The total amount of loans which will be eligible for interest rebates over the period 1993-1997 would be ECU 1.5 billion. Priority will be given to projects which place particular emphasis on the environment, on transport including infrastructure, education and training. Among projects submitted by private undertakings, special consideration will be given to small and medium sized enterprises. The shareout of financial assistance between the eligible countries has not yet been decided.
The EFTA financial mechanism will be administered by the European Investment Bank. The administrative arrangements for the implementation of this mechanism have not yet been discussed at Community level.
Dáil Éireann 424 Written Answers. EFTA Countries Special Fund.