It's not often I go with the begging bowl outstretched in Europe, but when thousands of jobs have been created under the auspices of an EU programme in Wales which is set to be cut in 3 years then I will do my utmost to protect my country.
Regional Development funds, structural funds, convergence, cohesion...It's all been in the press lately as it is becoming clear that East Wales could lose £280m worth of funding after 2013. Martin Shipton ran an article on it in today's Western Mail after meeting with us in Brussels yesterday. Regional Development funding accounts for a significant proportion of the very little the UK actually recoups from soaring membership fees. £280m that is therefore rightfully ours, in Wales, in the first place, given that the UK actually pays some £6bn to Brussels and will likely pay more year on year.
I have addressed the Budget Commissioner over the issue when he came to speak with my Committee on Regional Development. President Barroso recently visited Wales and was escorted around the Assembly on a Structural Funds Presentation. All the Welsh MEPs are working together to make sure that Wales doesn't lose out on the cash, and to guarantee transitory arrangements to protect us socially and economically if Brussels do decide to pull the rug from under our feet.
Below is video of me speaking in Parliament earlier today on the issue.
Keep your eyes on the press too, for they've got wind of the story, and for once, the EU is being reported.