Welsh Labour MEP, Derek Vaughan, will next week host the inaugural meeting of a special group of MEPs who are joining together to fight against moves to remove hundreds of millions of pounds of EU funding from its most deprived areas.
The Euro MP has formed a cross-party alliance with colleagues from regions of Europe, such as Wales, that will no longer qualify for help under proposals put forward in a recently leaked European Commission draft policy paper to scrap Structural Funding post-2013.
Mr Vaughan said:
"Structural Funds are in place so that we can deliver the necessary investment to help aid sustainable economic growth and create more jobs.
Hundreds of millions of pounds worth of funding via the Convergence and Competitiveness schemes is continuing to make a dramatic difference to people’s lives right across Wales.
The aim of everyone who has an interest in Wales’ future should be to firstly ensure that Structural Funds remain available after 2013 and secondly that regions who fall out of convergence should be eligible for transitional status to soften the blow.
The pressure on the Commission to clarify their intentions is building and I put these questions directly to Budgets Commissioner-designate, Janusz Lewandowski, only this week in Brussels who actively supported my point of view on this.
It is evident from the response that I have received from my parliamentary colleagues that this is very much a hot issue in the EU. This campaign group will allow us to co-ordinate our efforts more effectively so that we can ensure that areas like Wales do not lose out.”