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COUNTY PUTS AMBITIOUS EUROPEAN STRATEGY AT THE HEART OF ITS PLANS

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Suffolk benefited from a total of£32m in European funding over the last three years, thanks to the efforts of the ...
Suffolk benefited from a total of£32m in European funding over the last three years, thanks to the efforts of the county council.

The council has now revealed plans to look to Europe for funding over the next year to support its 11 priorities - all of which could benefit from financial support from the continent.

In 2004/5, Suffolk will:

-Identify three European 'partner regions' for cooperation and development on potential projects

-work with the European Information Centre in Norwich to help small and medium sized businesses who want to develop European markets

-continue to bid for European funding for the county

This follows on from the success of earlier this year, when the county council was able to play a major part in securing£1.1m of European funding for the POWER (Pushing Offshore Wind Energy Regions) project. The money will help forge links between regions in the North Sea area with the potential to benefit economically from the emerging offshore wind power industry.

The council will also work hard to secure 'match-funding', which is critical if Suffolk is to get European funding.

Its availability is reducing, however, which could make securing European funding more difficult. The county council's own ability to 'lever-in' match funding, through the county's Corporate Regeneration Fund, Single Capital Pot and Single Gateway could therefore become even more important.

Kevan Lim, executive committee member for economic and social regeneration, said: 'Our work in securing European funds is vital to the county. The past year proves how successful we have been and now we are putting strategies in place to continue to deliver in the future.

'The county's economy benefits through the support we give to business, and our own services and priorities can benefit and improve thanks to extra funding.

'We know that the European Commission is working on its plans for funding from 2007 to 2013. We are therefore working hard to lobby and support regional lobbying activities, and develop alliances and partnerships which will stand us in good stead in influencing the commission's funding policies.'

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