HC Deb 23 March 2004 vol 419 c729W
Ann Winterton

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether the Government have discussed the proposal for EU Regional Policy with the European Commission; and if she will make a statement. [160739]

Jacqui Smith

I attended an Informal Ministerial meeting in Portlaoise on 27 February, where the future of EU Regional Policy was discussed. I set out the UK's proposals for reform of the Structural and Cohesion Funds post-2006. A range of views were put forward by the Commission and by other member states.

Negotiations on the reform of EU Regional Policy are still at an early stage. The decision on the 2007–13 Structural and Cohesion Funds must be made by unanimity. Currently, there is no consensus among member states on the best way forward.