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EXISTING EU ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT FUND ARRANGEMENTS 'MUST NOT BE LOST'

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Local government must retain a key role post-2006 in the management, monitoring and delivery of the EU's economic d...
Local government must retain a key role post-2006 in the management, monitoring and delivery of the EU's economic development monies, known as the Structural Funds.

A delegation from the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, led by vice-president, Corrie McChord, and made up of representatives from each of the existing four regional programme areas in Scotland, last week met European commissioner for regional policy Danuta Hubner.

It stressed that the benefits of the existing arrangements, which have gained praise from across Europe, and on which the commissioner herself commented favourably, must not be lost.

Mr McChord said: 'We in Cosla have worked hard over the last few months to develop a model for the future that builds on the best of the existing arrangements - providing continued partnership working, transparency of decision making, ensuring that structural funds add value and don't just substitute for other funding, and encouraging innovation.

'We believe that we now have a workable model that does just that, while also ensuring local government is involved at all levels in decisions on the design of the new EU Programmes in Scotland.

'Unfortunately we haven't yet been given the opportunity to discuss this with Scottish ministers but the commissioner was only too willing to listen. She recognised the crucial role that local government has always played in delivering high quality programmes, an element that needs to be retained. As I reported back to Cosla leaders immediately after our meeting, we were delighted with her positive attitude and feedback. We will now seek to work over the next few weeks with the Scottish Executive and other key stakeholders, as well as with the commission, to develop our thinking.'

Notes

Structural Funds are the main European income for local government as well as many organisations from the voluntary sector, often identifiable by the Euro flag on a signpost or plaques on a new building.

The current round of EU structural funds is coming to an end with a new round of programmes to last 2006-13, with a new total funding volume for Scotland of around£500m.

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