A small WLGA delegation has arrived in Brussels to discuss the major EU issues that are set to impact on councils in Wales in the future.
The delegation will meet with key European decision makers from the European Commission and Parliament to discuss the latest EU developments with implications for Welsh councils, and will pay particular attention to the future EU funding programmes that play such an important role in regenerating communities and supporting the wider Welsh economy.
The delegation will also meet with colleagues from the LGA (Local Government Association) and COSLA (Convention of Scottish Local Authorities) European Offices, to identify what opportunities exist to collaborate and positively influence EU decision making on behalf of councils throughout the UK.
Cllr Ronnie Hughes (Conwy), WLGA Deputy European Affairs Spokesperson and leader of the delegation said:
“This visit comes at a crucial time, with 2014 marking the start of a new EU funding period. There is still much to be negotiated in terms of how EU funding programmes, which are absolutely vital to the regeneration of Welsh communities, are actually delivered in Wales over the coming period. This visit will be an opportunity for invaluable discussions on how other parts of the UK, and indeed the EU, are preparing to deliver EU funding to maximise the benefits for their citizens, communities and businesses.
“It is also incredibly important that we are kept up to date with and involved in discussions on EU policy reforms that often have significant and direct implications for councils in Wales. We will be paying close attention to the current reforms of EU waste, climate and energy policies, as all will potentially have a big impact in how local services are delivered back home in Wales.”
The delegation will end the visit by attending the Welsh Government's annual St. David's Day event on Thursday 6 March, an event which showcases Welsh produce and culture to European partners, as well as being an important opportunity to network with key decision makers from Wales and Brussels.