During his visit the Deputy Minister will meet Irish Minister Simon Coveney for Agriculture, Food, and the Marine; and Minister Brendan Howlin for Public Expenditure and Reform, whose remit includes European Structural Funds. He will also meet members and the Chair, Cllr Tomas Breathnach, of the Southern & Eastern Regional Assembly (S&ERA).
The EU budget provisions, Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform and Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) will be key issues for discussion. Also on the agenda is EU Territorial Cooperation programmes, including the Ireland/Wales Cross Border Programme, which sees Welsh partners link up with other EU regions to deliver projects that boost economic growth.
Mr Davies said:
"The ties between Wales and Ireland are already strong, and I am keen to build on those links further. This is a pivotal moment for Europe, and there is much to discuss on issues of common interest, including future EU rural and fisheries policies and EU funding programmes which support cooperation between our countries and contribute to jobs and growth."
Wales’ involvement in Territorial Cooperation programmes is benefiting businesses as well as driving innovation and sustainable development across the region. Under the Ireland/Wales Cross Border programme, 41 projects, backed with £40m from the European Regional Development Fund, have already got underway involving partners on both sides of the Irish Sea.
Mr Davies said:
"Our aim is to continue to engage pro-actively in all the Territorial Cooperation programmes, including the Ireland/Wales programme, and in doing so further raise Wales’ international profile. We want to build on the successes of Welsh organisations in their collaborative economic activities and extend links and increase our involvement with regions in other Member States."
During his visit, the Deputy Minister will meet partners involved in delivering a cross-border project – Inventorium – a scheme based at the Centre for Advanced Software Technology, Gwynedd and linked to the National Digital Research centre Ltd, based in Dublin, Ireland. The partners bring together a range of expertise to help businesses drive forward their enterprising ideas, particularly in the digital technology sector.
The Deputy Minister’s visit takes place before European Cooperation Day on 21st September, which celebrates territorial cooperation activities throughout the EU.
Amongst the celebrations taking place in Wales will be a video link up between Ferryside Primary School in Carmarthenshire and Newtown Junior School, Waterford, Ireland . The event will help the school children to learn more about cross-border activities between the two countries as part of the Meet the Neighbours initiative. The initiative has been led by S&ERA on behalf of the Irish Government, the Welsh Government and the European Commission to promote the building of links between the regions.