During a statement in Plenary he said that while the development of the next round of Structural Funds and Rural Development programmes (RDP) in Wales was already well underway involving partners from all sectors, a formal public consultation, ‘Wales and the EU: Partnership for Jobs and Growth, will begin on January 14 with the publication of the Structural Funds consultation documents for West Wales and the Valleys and East Wales. This will be followed by the publication of the RDP consultation document later that month.
Deputy Minister said:
“There remains considerable uncertainty over the amount of future funding we are likely to receive in Wales. Across Europe – and within the UK – there remain differences of opinion, particularly the size of the EU budget and the fairness of the arrangements for distributing this between Member States.
“I have been pressing the case for Wales to reinforce the message that priority needs to be given to the less developed regions of the EU, including regions in richer member states, like West Wales and the Valleys.
“I am determined to negotiate a fair deal for our region, so our specific needs are recognised by the UK in its EU budget negotiations for 2014-2020. “
The exact funding allocations are likely to be confirmed in the coming months. In the meantime, the Welsh Government will be holding a series of consultation events across Wales so that as wide an audience as possible are give the chance to contribute their views on the investment of future resources to help meet Europe 2020 and Welsh Government strategies for growth and jobs.
Mr Davies said:
“It is more important than ever for Welsh partners, from across all sectors, to work together to ensure that any future EU funding in Wales shapes the conditions for smart, sustainable and inclusive economic growth. In other words, making sure that it reaches the people who need it most and in areas where we can maximise its impact.”
He also said that one of the emerging themes from Dr Graham Guilford’s current review of implementation arrangements for European Programmes 2014-2020 was the need for a stronger focus on key economic drivers.
Following research and stakeholder discussions, Dr Guilford is due to report back on his findings during March which will also help inform the development of the future programmes.
Mr Davies said:
“EU funds are critical in helping us to make a successful recovery from the recession and continuing our transformation into a confident, ambitious and entrepreneurial Wales, with an agricultural industry that is strong, sustainable and capable of supporting vibrant rural communities across the country.”
The deadline for responses to the public consultation is 23 April 2013.