A long running campaign to ensure that Wales does not miss out on valuable EU investment in jobs and growth has paid off according to Welsh Labour MEP, DEREK VAUGHAN, as it was confirmed that Wales receive around £2.1 billion (€2.41bn) in Structural Funding between 2014-2020.
West Wales and the Valleys will benefit to the tune of over £1.7 billion (€2.01bn) with East Wales receiving £348million (€407m).
Overall, Wales will get an increase in cash terms of £131m compared the previous funding round.
Speaking from Brussels, he said:
"David Cameron has consistently gone into the European negotiating chamber and ignored the needs of Wales preferring instead to placate his backbenchers with headline cuts that fail to take into account consequences felt on the ground.
The failure of his government to fight for a safety net for UK regions to mitigate against any reduction when other Member States were fighting their own cause is unforgivable. This would have meant, in practice, a cut for Wales of around £400m in Structural funds post-2013."
Working closely with the Labour Welsh Government, Mr Vaughan has lobbied for the reallocation of Structural Funding between UK regions in order to benefit the poorest areas such as West Wales and the Valleys, an argument that has been accepted by the UK Government.
"If we take into account the other EU funding mechanisms that Wales can access for territorial cooperation, Connecting Europe and the European Youth Guarantee fund, I am confident that the amount Wales receives overall will be at least maintained at current levels not just in cash terms but in real terms as well.
It is vital for Wales that we continue to make the most of the EU investment available and continue to fight for the best deal that we can."
- Initial figures following a summit of EU leaders on the 7th/8th February signalled that there would have been a cut of around £400m GBP for Wales compared to the current period (2007-2013).
- In addition, Wales could receive tens of millions from a new European Youth Guarantee fund, to help young people who are out of work or education to find jobs, apprenticeships or further education. The UK could also opt in to a fund to help the most deprived people, by providing money for charities and NGOs who run food banks for example.
- Further funding for territorial cooperation can be estimated at the same level as the current programme (at least £52m) and funding for the Connecting Europe Fund, which is used for infrastructure, energy and ICT projects, will also contribute to Wales' overall share of EU funds this time round.