HC Deb 19 December 2001 vol 377 c308W
Adam Price

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had regarding the implications of European Union enlargement on regional structural fund programmes in Wales. [23981]

Alan Johnson

I have been asked to reply.

There have so far been no specific discussions on the implications of EU enlargement for the Structural Funds programmes in Wales. However, as the Minister in the DTI responsible for the Structural Funds, I represented the UK at an informal meeting of EU regional policy Ministers held in Namur on 13 July under the Belgian Presidency of the EU, at which the Structural Funds was the main item on the agenda. More recently, I also touched on the subject with Michel Barnier, European Commissioner responsible for Regional Affairs, during his visit to the UK in early November. On both these occasions I put forward the current UK position that there should be a thorough review of the purpose and added value of the Structural Funds, and of the balance between the role of the EU and that of member states in providing assistance to lagging regions, before we enter into a debate about the implications for different member states, nations and regions of possible future Structural Funds regimes.