Skip the NI Direct Bar
Skip navigation
Dedicated search page with advanced options

Barroso Task Force

In this page you will find information on the Barroso Task Force.

The Barroso Task Force

President José Manuel Barroso announced a European Commission Task Force for Northern Ireland when he met the First Minister designate Ian Paisley and deputy First Minister designate Martin McGuinness in Parliament Buildings on 1 May 2007.
Led by the Commissioner for Regional Policy, Danuta Hübner, this was the first time there has been a specific task force for a single region in the European Union.
In the months which followed, the Task Force - a group of representatives from the European Commission working with officials from our own administration took forward a stock take exercise, exploring how to support the Executive's efforts to modernise the regional economy, creating more jobs and growth.
Junior Ministers Ian Paisley Jnr MLA and Gerry Kelly MLA led a delegation to Brussels in November 2007 to discuss the work of the Task Force which then visited Belfast on 11 December 2007, meeting with government departments, social partners and stakeholders on a fact-finding mission.
The First Minister Ian Paisley and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness travelled to Brussels on 9 January 2008 . During their two-day visit, they had discussions with President Barroso and Commissioner Hubner on the work of the Task Force. Danuta Hubner launched the Commissions communications in Belfast on 14 April 2008. These documents can be accessed using the links below.
First Minister Rt Hon Dr Ian Paisley said “This report clearly shows the way forward for Northern Ireland in Europe.  The Task Force has identified a number of areas in which it can assist us in making the most of the opportunities that Europe can offer. Competitiveness and innovation is a key priority for this Executive.  It is essential therefore that we take advantage of the countless business opportunities that the European single market represents. Today’s report will show us exactly how to do this."
Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said “Today’s announcement goes beyond support and aid. It is about a new partnership with Europe.  The report represents the next stage of that partnership and highlights the commitment to continue to work at a high level both politically and operationally.’’
“We want to continue this journey with our European partners.  The Task Force report provides us with a comprehensive roadmap to further co-operation, peace and prosperity,” he added.
The Report assessed Northern Ireland's participation in the available EU initiatives most relevant to its needs.
In response to the Task Force Report, the First Minister and deputy First Minister formally presented the Executive's Action Plan outlining its European priorities to President Barroso in Brussels on 31 March 2009.
An End of Year Report 2008/09 (PDF 1.41MB) on progress against key targets and activities was released by Ministers on 21 September 2009.
Junior Minister Gerry Kelly MLA, led a delegation of senior officials to Brussels to discuss ongoing Barroso Task Force work and present the Executive’s End of Year Report on European Engagement . View the Press Release for the visit.
Ronnie Hall and John McMillen.
Ronnie Hall (DG Regional Policy) with John McMillen (OFMDFM) at the Barroso Taskforce meeting at the Hilton Hotel on 11 December 2007.
European Commission Taskforce members.
European Comission Taskforce members at the Hilton Hotel, Belfast.
Delegates at the Barroso Taskforce launch.
Delegates at the Barroso Taskforce meeting in discussion.
John McMillen leading a discussion.
John McMillen leading a discussion at the Barroso Taskforce meeting.

Press Releases

First Minister Peter Robinson MLA and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness MP, MLA travelled to Brussels on 8 December 2010 to meet with President Barroso.
President Barroso stated that he expected his Task Force, set up in 2007, to return in early 2011 to examine further potential funding opportunities.  
Mr Robinson said: “President Barroso’s announcement this morning is hugely significant for Northern Ireland.  The Task Force was a unique initiative originally setup in 2007 to ensure that Northern Ireland took full advantage of the opportunities that membership of the European Union offers.  Since then, the Task Force has enabled us to secure funding valued at €23.2million under the Framework 7 Programme, significantly surpassing our previous achievements.  Over 2,000 projects, with a total value of €13million, have been approved under the Rural Development Programme and over 42,000 people have participated in skills programmes through the social fund so far.  Even from these few examples, it is clear that the work of the Task Force is making a significant difference."
Mr McGuinness said: “We need to build on our achievements to date.  Given our objectives of growing the economy, tackling disadvantage and delivering efficient public services the Task Force is an opportunity for our public, private and social sectors to up our game with Europe and fully realise the potential of European engagement."
Junior Ministers Jonathan Bell MLA and Martina Anderson MLA travelled to Brussels in March 2012 with senior officials from NI Civil Service Departments for an intensive programme of engagement with the Commission to discuss how we can make the most of European opportunities.