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European Commission - Press release

Commissioner Hahn visits Wales to discuss regional policy now and after 2013

Brussels, 19 April 2012 - Johannes Hahn, European Commissioner for Regional Policy, is in Wales for a two-day visit to discuss Wales' position in the ongoing negotiations following the Commission's proposals for the future of cohesion policy after 2013 and the future EU budget. Having met Cheryl Gillan, Secretary of State for Wales in London yesterday, he will meet First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones, and project beneficiaries.

Ahead of his visit, Commissioner Hahn stated: "European Regional Policy offers Wales secure and long-term investment in infrastructure, business and innovation. Welsh regions need this development and investment policy more than ever in the current times of crisis."

On the first day of his trip, Commissioner Hahn will explain the main points of the Commission's proposal for regional policy post-2013 and its impact on Wales. The priority is to align future investment as closely as possible with the concrete targets set out in the Europe 2020 Strategy giving the policy a result-oriented focus, with clear, concrete pre‑defined indicators.

On Friday, Commissioner Hahn will visit the major £107m Neath Port Talbot Peripheral Distributor Road, 'Harbour Way', which received £56.2m from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and was the first ‘major project’ supported by the Transport priority of the Convergence programme in Wales.

He will also visit the Swansea SA1 Waterfront and the Institute of Life Sciences 2 (ILS2) and Centre for Nanohealth (CNH), led by Swansea University. The Commissioner will also hear presentations from young pupils participating in the £6m Technocamps project (receiving £4m from the European Social Fund - ESF) at the University.

Background

From 2007-2013 Wales receives EUR 2.1 billion from the ERDF and ESF covering 15 local authority areas in West Wales and the Valleys) and EUR 136 million from the ERDF and ESF covering seven local authorities in East Wales. To date programmes have assisted over 7500 enterprises whilst 2150 enterprises and 11000 gross jobs have been created. The EUR 180 million JEREMIE fund is important for Welsh programmes aiming to support the expansion of more than 800 businesses and create up to 15,000 jobs using EUR 90 million funding from the European Investment Bank and EUR 72 million from ERDF Programmes.

Project information:

The Neath Port Talbot Peripheral Distributor Road investment will enable the completion of the 4.8km link to the M4 at junction 38 into Port Talbot and the docks, serving as a vital link and opening up opportunities between West Wales, the UK motorway network, the trunk road network and mainland Europe. The final phase will connect with previously completed phases and make available up to 210 hectares of mainly brownfield land for development of SMEs and other industry with access to European markets, creating employment opportunities and regeneration.

The SA1 Waterfront is supported by major ERDF investments in a range of regeneration, business and transport infrastructure project activities, transforming Swansea’s docklands to help establish the city as a European ‘waterfront city’ of international renown.

Within ILS2, the £22m Centre for Nanohealth (CNH) (ERDF £10m) will establish a unique interdisciplinary research centre using nanotechnology to produce healthcare products and services in collaboration with industry. CNH will explore new methods of early disease detection, and pioneer treatment through the use of new technologies which could eventually be used in GP surgeries, community clinics, or even at home - such as a device that could help a patient with a heart condition personalise their medication levels.

The Technocamps project encourages young people to take up STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects through interactive sessions on topics such as robotics, games development and digital forensics.

To find out more:

European Commission in Wales

http://ec.europa.eu/unitedkingdom/about_us/office_in_wales/index_en.htm

Regional Policy in East Wales

http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/atlas2007/uk/ukl2_en.htm?11

Regional Policy in West Wales and the Valleys

http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/atlas2007/uk/ukl1_en.htm

Contacts :

Ton Van Lierop (+32 2 296 65 65)

Annemarie Huber (+32 2 299 33 10)


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