Wales could be better off as MEP Derek Vaughan lobbies for more money from EU
LABOUR MEP Derek Vaughan has urged a top European boss to approve the reallocation of EU spending in the UK, to benefit Wales.
Mr Vaughan — former leader of Neath Port Talbot Council — met with European Regional Policy Commissioner, Johannes Hahn to ask that Wales receive £2.1bn in structural funds between 2014-2020.
During his meeting with Mr Hahn, Mr Vaughan emphasised the importance of EU funding to Wales and pointed out that Wales was viewed as one of the best regions for accurate spending of EU money.
"The Commissioner was very receptive to these proposals," he said.
"He knows and understands that Wales consistently uses the funds well. We've worked very hard over the last few months to get these proposals past the UK Government, which had originally insisted on budget cuts in Wales.
"The initial proposals would have seen our budget cut by 22% which would have meant more than £400m less for Wales. "That's just not acceptable when West Wales and the Valleys remain one of the poorest parts of the entire European Union.
"It must also be taken into account that English regions are constantly facing problems and suspensions of some Structural Funds payments, whilst Wales has a strong reputation for effective spending.
"That's why I lobbied so hard for a better proposal. As a result of this lobbying we stand to be £130m better off if the Commission approves."
The meeting with Commissioner Hahn comes as Mr Vaughan acts as shadow rapporteur on a report about European Commission spending. The report, due to be finalised in the spring, will highlight the importance of ensuring every penny of money delivers results.