The draft regulations for the European Structural Funds mark the beginning of preparations for the next round of programmes, due to be implemented over the period 2014-2020, and paves the way for more detailed discussions on Welsh investment priorities.
Deputy Minister for European Programmes, Alun Davies AM, said:
“I am pleased that the regulations recognise the importance of continuing to support regions like West Wales and the Valleys which continue to face long-term economic and social challenges. Structural Funds have helped to mitigate the worst effects of the recession in Wales and the new programmes will allow us to build on the progress made to date in creating the environment for jobs and growth, helping to transform our communities and improving opportunities for people across Wales.
“Over the coming months I will be working closely with the UK Government and the other devolved governments to shape the UK’s negotiating position and the policy direction for Structural Funds. I am committed to securing the best possible deal for Wales. I will also be discussing our priorities for future programmes with our partners and stakeholders across Wales to ensure we are all working together, through shared goals and priorities, in order to deliver smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.”
With the draft regulations governing the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) expected to follow next week, a European Programmes Partnership Forum has been established to discuss and provide advice to the Welsh Government on how the future European programmes can be maximised for the benefit of Wales.
The Partnership is made up of experts from across the private, public and third sectors and will be chaired by Mark Drakeford AM, who is also the Chair of the European Structural Funds Programme Monitoring Committee.
Alun Davies said:
“Structural Funds play an important role in helping people into work and training, having already helped nearly 29,000 people into work and assisted over 6,000 businesses to grow. While the rural development programmes are vitally important to agriculture, our countryside and the quality of life of people in rural areas. The European Programmes Partnership Forum will consider all these programmes together and will discuss how we can make best use of the available funding.”
Final funding allocations are unlikely to be confirmed until 2013.