Assembly Members speak up for Wales in Brussels

Published 31/03/2011   |   Last Updated 14/07/2014

Assembly Members speak up for Wales in Brussels

31 March 2011

Assembly Members Christine Chapman and Rhodri Glyn Thomas have been in Brussels for their final Committee of the Regions (CoR) Plenary session before the Assembly election.

The Committee of the Regions brings together representatives of regional government from all EU member states to have a say over the content of EU legislation and today the AMs will put the spotlight on Welsh issues.

Christine Chapman AM will call on the European Commission and national governments to give much greater priority and visibility to tackling child poverty.

She will make the case for future EU Structural Funds programmes to include a specific priority focused on tackling poverty and social exclusion arguing that, with one in six Europeans in poverty, urgent action is required.

The Cynon Valley AM will also participate in a public hearing on the EU’s overarching economic strategy - Europe 2020

“The final Plenary session in Brussels will give us the opportunity to bring issues of huge significance to Wales to an international audience,” said Christine Chapman.

“It’s so important that Wales has a strong voice on this international stage and the Committee of the Regions is the platform from which we are able to do this.

“I’ll be focusing on child poverty, a real area of concern for Wales that I want future Structural Funds programmes to work to eradicate. I look forward to discussing it with my fellow committee members.”

Rhodri Glyn Thomas AM will speak in a debate on the future of the multi-annual EU Budget post-2013, having already influenced the CoR’s position on issues of particular importance to Wales including the future of Common Agricultural Policy and EU Cohesion Policy.

Picking up on the recent inquiry by the Assembly’s European and External Affairs Committee into Welsh participation in EU Research, Innovation and Lifelong Learning Programmes, he has also been successful in getting the CoR to press for greater synergies between EU Research Programmes and Structural Funds, in particular emphasising the importance of building capacity in poorer parts of Europe, like West Wales and the Valleys.

Rhodri Glyn Thomas said: “This debate is an ideal opportunity to highlight a number of issues which are essential for the future of Wales.

“Firstly, there is the issue of the future of the Cohesion Policy and primarily the need to campaign for future Structural Funding for Wales in one form or another. We also need to argue the case for the retention of the CAP budget and direct payments to farmers.

“These payments are essential in terms of safeguarding the future of rural communities and the people who live within them.

“I am grateful to my group, the European Alliance, for allowing me to take part in this important debate and having the opportunity to make the case for Wales.

“I was also glad of the opportunity to sit on the Ad-Hoc Budget Committee on behalf of the European Alliance and am pleased that all five of the amendments I put forward were accepted by the authors of the committee’s report and were subsequently incorporated into the final report.”