Wales qualifies for EU jobs funding for a third time

Valleys scene Wales has qualified for the third time in a row because it remains one of the poorer parts of the EU

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We now know how much money the Welsh government is going to receive between 2014 and 2020 from the European Union to try to create jobs.

Wales has qualified for what is called "structural funding" for the third time in a row because it is one of the poorer parts of the EU.

But is confirmation that another £2bn of EU funding for poorer areas coming to Wales good news or a sad reflection of the weakness of our economy?

It depends how optimistic you are really but it has to be used to generate growth and create jobs. If it does that, Wales will be happy.

'Made a difference'

David Hughes, head of the European Commission office in Wales, says the commission recommends how the money is spent.

This latest amount has to be used exclusively by the Welsh government for long-term sustainable economic growth and jobs.

Start Quote

It gives the Welsh government a stable, seven year long funding programme to invest in long term projects and growth”

End Quote David Hughes European Commission office in Wales

It is the third time in a row that Wales has qualified for these types of funds.

The latest tranche runs from January 2014 until 2020. There will be £1.7bn for west Wales and the valleys and £350m for east Wales.

When Wales first qualified for this type of funding in 2000 and was given £1.6bn, First Secretary Rhodri Morgan called it a "once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform our economy and make a major difference to the lives of people in west Wales and the valleys" .

But we were given another opportunity when for a second time we were one of the poorer parts of the EU - and in 2007 were awarded £1.8bn.

Now Wales has been given this special tranche of money again.

Wales has qualified for the third time in a row because it remains one of the poorer parts of the EU.

The money is given to areas where the value of what is produced is three-quarters or less of the EU average.

Mr Hughes said: "The European money that Wales has had since 2000 has made a difference and if the extra money had not been coming in it would be worse than now."

He added: "We have to focus on the added value that this funding can bring in addition to regional and UK funding and it gives the Welsh government a stable, seven-year long funding programme to invest in long-term projects and growth."

The money arrives in January 2014.

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