MEPs voted overwhelmingly today to support calls by Welsh Labour’s DEREK VAUGHAN, to improve the effectiveness of European funding by simplifying the application process, allowing flexibility to tackle priorities at a more local level and giving authorities the opportunity to combine various different funding pots when investing in specific projects.
In an own initiative report to the European Parliament’s Plenary session in Strasbourg, Mr Vaughan outlined ways which would reduce bureaucracy, widen access and help to promote local decision making in the distribution of European Cohesion Funding.
"European funding is vitally important to Wales with £1.7bn worth of investment since 2007.
My report looks to build on European Commission plans for better co-ordination and simplification of EU funds to ensure that they will have an even more significant impact in communities across Wales post-2013.
Wales is well regarded in the EU for its structure for implementing European support in the drive to create jobs and growth but it is imperative that we continue to look to make improvements at the front line that reflect the experience of current and previous funding rounds.
I am pleased that my report has won the backing of the European Parliament. It has been drawn up following a wide ranging consultation of stakeholders across Wales and also various regional and local representatives from Europe.
The intention in Wales is to create a single portal where we have a single application, payment and monitoring process creating a one-stop-shop for applicants and monitoring authorities. Some regions are already integrating funding programmes to make EU funding go further. I believe that by using examples of best practice and by making the whole process more straightforward and more reactive to the needs of those looking to access EU funds, this is the best way to increasing economic prosperity not just in Wales but in regions right across the European Union."