Proposals contained in a confidential European Commission budget document would be “seriously damaging for Wales” according to Welsh Labour MEP, Derek Vaughan.
A draft copy of the Commission’s EU Budget Review Paper, entitled “A Reform Agenda for a Global Europe (Reforming the Budget, Changing Europe)” has been seen by Mr Vaughan, who believes that the plans, if they were adopted, would have a massive effect on the future of European funding for Wales and would see areas of the country missing out on hundreds of millions of pounds worth of investment.
Key points raised in the paper include:
- Downgrading the importance of Competitiveness Funding – currently benefitting large parts of East Wales
- Renationalising Convergence Funding meaning that policy would be based at a national level and not a regional one – affecting West Wales and the Valleys
- Taking away Transitional Status from Wales – preventing Wales accessing continuing support should it not qualify for Structural Funding after 2013
DEREK VAUGHAN MEP said:
"The proposals put forward in the paper are seriously damaging for Wales and would have huge implications should they ever come to fruition. Major capital and infrastructure projects, in particular, would be affected.
European funding to tackle deprivation, develop the Welsh skills base and expand our economic potential, is making a difference to communities right across Wales. These changes would see us being worse off at a time when financial uncertainty and rising unemployment means that the challenges we face are getting even tougher.
I have already made representations on this issue directly to the Commission and via a recent speech in the European Parliament. I am also taking steps to form a campaigning group of MEPs representing those regions that will be similarly affected by the plans, so that we can press home the arguments against this change in policy.
This would be bad news for Wales, with support ending abruptly in 2013 and many schemes effectively falling off a cliff at that point."