Welsh Labour Euro MP Derek Vaughan will host colleagues from the European Parliament on 24th and 25th September to show them how Wales is leading the way in using EU structural funds.
Speaking prior to the visit Derek said:
"I'm delighted that my colleagues are coming to Wales. They will see first hand how we spend EU funds and will recognise the value of the European investment here.
My colleagues are Cohesion Policy specialists and their fresh outlook will be invaluable given the current discussions about Wales' future share of funding.
Wales leads the way in investing European funding. We have an excellent structure that is the envy of many regions in Europe. MEPs will be impressed when they see how we target support towards jobs and growth and developing our local areas."
Head of the delegation, German MEP Constanze Krehl, is a lead representative for the European Parliament in negotiations on the next round of Structural Funds. MEPs recently backed Constanze's proposals including the call for greater involvement of regions and local authorities in designing future programmes and more flexibility for regions to set their own priorities.
During this economically difficult period, with a lack of emphasis from the Coalition government on growth and job creation, these proposals put forward by the European Parliament are vital to securing a successful future for cohesion policy funding in Wales.
Deputy Minister for European Programmes, Alun Davies AM, said:
"EU funding in the future presents another significant opportunity for Wales. We have already assisted nearly 342,000 participants - many gaining qualifications and entering the workplace. In addition, nearly 13,000 jobs and 2,500 enterprises have been created.
Looking ahead, I am committed to securing the best possible outcome for our region and I recently went to Strasbourg for talks with MEPS, and other key players in the European Parliament, to ensure Wales' voice is heard in the development of new European Programmes. I am now pleased to welcome the European delegation to Wales and showcase how we have invested EU funding to help improve the prospects of businesses and people in Wales."
Amongst the projects the MEPs will visit are Coleg Morgannwg's new state-of-the-art sixth form College - Nantgarw 3 - a £40m facility backed with £6.8m from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). They will also visit the SA1 development to see first hand the transformation of Swansea’s docklands to help establish the city as a European ‘waterfront city’ of international renown - backed with both Objective 1 and Convergence funding. Also on the agenda, is a visit to the Gas Turbine Research Centre where research and development activities are underway as part of the £34m Low Carbon Research Institute Energy Programme. The Programme, delivered by Cardiff University in collaboration with Welsh Universities, aims to help meet the Welsh Government’s targets for reducing CO2 emissions by exploiting the knowledge in the higher education sector to help industry develop new products, technologies and services. Supported by £15m ERDF , the project is closely aligned to the priorities of the Europe 2020 strategy, supporting research and innovation to deliver smart, sustainable growth across EU economies.