The geographical area of the BMW Region covers 47% of the landmass of the Republic of Ireland, comprises 27% of the county’s population and encompasses the following 13 counties:
Border Region: Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, Louth, Monaghan and Sligo;
Midland Region: Laois, Longford, Offaly and Westmeath;
Western Region: Galway, Mayo and Roscommon.
Ireland was treated as one single region when receiving funding from the European Union up until 1999.
Ireland had been classified an Objective 1 country and designated as one of the regions in the EU most in need of additional support to aid its development. To qualify for Objective 1 status the GDP per capita of a region must be less than 75% of the EU average over a number of reference years. By 2000, Ireland’s GDP had risen above this threshold, however there remained significant differences in the extent of economic development between several regions within the State.
In order to address these regional disparities, the country was divided into two regions for EU Structural Funds purposes; the Border, Midland and Western (BMW) Region and the Southern and Eastern (S&E) Region.
This designation facilitated the full retention of Objective 1 status in the BMW Region for the period 2000-2006, while the S&E Region became an Objective 1 ‘phasing out’ region.
For the 2007-2013 Programming Period the BMW Region is categorised as a "phasing in" region under the Regional Competitiveness and Employment Strand (Objective 2) and the BMW Region receives European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) funding of €229m and a further €229m from the European Social Fund (ESF).