During his first Ministerial visit to Brussels, the new Deputy Minister with responsibility for the European Structural Funds programmes in Wales told the Commissioner for Regional Policy that EU funds are vital to building a strong, vibrant economy for the region.
The Deputy Minister also met with Commission officials and Welsh MEPs to make the case for Welsh farming and for continued support for the rural economy through the Common Agricultural Policy
Speaking ahead of the meetings Mr Davies said:
“Structural Funds and the CAP are both vitally important to Wales, supporting communities across urban and rural communities alike. This is why I am in Brussels, to ensure that the Welsh voice is heard on these matters right from the outset.
“We strongly support the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, and devolution means we can integrate common European goals into our own tailor-made Welsh policies. Backed with resources from Brussels, we can address the specific needs and opportunities of the region and deliver the funds where they will have the greatest impact.”
The Deputy Minister also attended the 2011 RegioStars Awards in which Wales scooped a top award for the GEMS (Growth in Environmental Marine Sciences) project. Led by Bridge Marine Science Group, the project was honoured for its contribution to supporting the regional economy and boosting business growth in the sector.
Over 80 per cent of the EU Structural Funds support available under the current programming period has been invested, creating a total investment of over £3.1bn in Wales. So far, the funds have assisted over 198,000 participants, of which nearly 61,000 have been supported to gain qualifications and nearly 24,000 helped into work; while nearly 7,000 (gross) jobs and nearly 1,700 enterprises have been created.