“This Action Plan has been compiled on a financial year basis..”

Stop me if/when you notice something odd here.. In the Assembly today, 21st April 2009, the Northern Ireland deputy First Minister, Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness, announced the publication, on 31st March 2009, of the NI Executive’s response to the Report of the European Commission Task Force for Northern Ireland which was formally presented to the previous First and deputy First Minister in Belfast on 14 April 2008 – The Task Force report is here [pdf file]. That NI Executive reponse is “Priorities for European Engagement – Action Plan 2008-2009“. From page 14 of that Action Plan [pdf file]

This Action Plan has been compiled on a financial year basis, to mainstream our European priorities with other departmental activities. The intention has been to synchronise quarterly monitoring with normal business and Programme for Government reporting cycles. Biannual progress reports will be considered by the Barroso Task Force Working Group.

The Action Plan will roll forward from one financial year to the next. Annual reports on achievements will be compiled at the end of each business year and forwarded to the Executive for consideration, along with a draft plan containing European priorities for the year ahead. OFMDFM Ministers will travel to Brussels in early summer each year to present the European Commission with a list of achievements and seek support for the Executive’s new action plan for the financial year ahead.

The Action Plan does include assessments of whether key targets have been met, up to 31st December 2008.. And the section on Animal Health, and why those key targets have not been met, will be of particular interest to some..

But where’s the draft plan for the next financial year [2009-2010]?

From the NI Assembly record

[The deputy First Minister] “As I said, the Executive have mandated junior Ministers to chair an interdepartmental working group to oversee implementation and provide ongoing strategic leadership. That group will identify a set of key targets for the 2009-2010 financial year that build on progress to date, and the next meeting of the group is scheduled for 30 April.”

And that Action Plan, along with its “key targets”, will be published..?

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  • There is, of course, the odd billion or two that may have gone walk-about in recent months. And a tad more in the next budget(s) in Brussels, Dublin, Strasbourg, and Westminster [I’m a neutral here: strict alphabetic order].

    Go figure just how much generosity will be extended to NI (no Labour marginals; +/- 1 UUP subscribing to the Tory Whip) no matter who is occupying the pottie of state at Downing Street.

    But, let’s have some real life here. Paul O’Driscoll is a fine pick for the Lions (27 of the 37 from Ireland and Wales! The pack, apart from Vickery and Mears, an England-free zone!

  • Pete Baker

    If we could focus on the actual topic.

  • joeCanuck

    You’re never satisfied, Pete.
    They’ve just speeded up the rate of Assembly business and you’re still complaining. Geez.

  • Young Master Pete Baker @ 09:47 PM is, of course, quite right.

    The (NI, UK, EU) topic is … how much is left over after we’ve (hopefully) stabilised the banking system? Which consideration is why, in a decade or two’s time, G. Brown and A. Darling will score higher in the history books than they do in the daily prints.

    The answer is … not much. Which is why nobody is being too convincing or anxious about social program(me)s and development. The whole apparatus to which this EU exercise is predicated was a way of keeping the Barrosos of this corner of the world busy and self-satisfied. It made a heck of a lot more sense before 15 Sep 2008, when Lehman Brothers went belly up. Today, well … most pop lyricists keep a rubber stamp to hand with the ever-useful line “Those days have gone”.

    Get used to it: there’s no more big dosh coming NI’s way. All those promises of yesteryear were writ in pie crust.

    Even the language of the document Pete cites is so full of civil-servant bureaucratese it tells its own story.

    The rest of us barely hope to keep our jobs, our pensions, most of our life-style. So the rugby stuff may be the only thing to keep us sane and hopeful.

  • Malcolm Redfellow @ 10:25 PM:

    Ooops.

    I missed my punch-line.

    It’s like going for a swim off Southend: they’re just going through the motions.

  • joeCanuck

    It’s like going for a swim off Southend: they’re just going through the motions.

    Newcastle co. Down was the same the last time I swam there. Funny, I’ve never been back.

  • joeCanuck @ 10:39 PM:

    Aw, c’mon now.

    Young Baker, puts up a serious matter for discussion; and all we can do is take the p…

    No! No! Not that as well!

  • The Continuity John O’Connell

    Is this some sort of cyber Monty Python sketch? I don’t get this surreal humour nor these crap jokes

  • joeCanuck

    CJO’C

    Ask your alter ego. He has the answer to everything.

  • Pete Baker

    Joe

    Just focus on the actual topic.

    And not on what the trolls have to say.

  • redhugh78

    Pete,
    are you obsessed with attacking SF?
    It’s all you ever seem to focus on apart from ‘dissidents’ but you like them because they attack SF too.

  • DC

    And whatever happened to this which was to run up to 2010:

    http://www.ofmdfmni.gov.uk/taking_our_place_in_europe.pdf

    In it it states our lot here should:

    •Emphasise our strengths and positive qualities and change the somewhat negative perception of Northern Ireland;

    •Project a dynamic, forward-looking image and, through active participation, forge strategic alliances with other regions, sub-regions and cities; and

    •Equip our people to operate effectively in Europe and demonstrate engagement through the relationships we build with the European nationals and other migrant workers who are living, working and settling in Northern Ireland.

    With SF spurning Europe for political point scoring over Lisbon, the DUP highly eurosceptic/eurocynical and the UUP/Tory the same to the point of obscurity as it tries to link up to splinter Euro-groups , it is, I think safe to say we have failed on 3 counts. Of course we can read all this in the context of ongoing attacks on migrant workers and ourselves here attacking one another. Keep up the good work lads!

    But anyway the above strategy from David Hanson was a fairly ambitious document and that back in the day when they (the direct rulers) did a wee bit!

  • DC

    Oh hold on Pete. That action plan seems to be stemming from the Priorities for Engagement.

    But that looks as though it has originated from the Taking our Place in Europe that Hanson launched except our it has re-launched and it now has the face of a unionist aggressor and ex republican terrorist on it.