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KENT JOINS EUROPEAN REGION

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According to the Independent (p14), regionalism is flourishing in the southeast corner of England. In particular, K...
According to the Independent (p14), regionalism is flourishing in the southeast corner of England. In particular, Kent is now part of a European Union region which boasts a population of 15 million. The area, which takes in Kent, the French district of Nord-Pas de Calais and all three regions of Belgium, is known as Region Transmanche. Kent's membership means it can share in grants for inter-regional projects in a programme known as Interreg. So far, it has received around£60m in extra funding through its links.

Leaders of the five local authorities involved meet formally twice a year, and more often at informal gatherings. Kent CC leader Alexander Bruce-Lockhart is quoted: 'Kent is very happy to be seen as a European county. Nobody feels that they are part of a Southeast region. There is no regional identity, no popular demand. It's all about geography. For example, I can get a train from my local station at Ashford and be in Lille slightly quicker than I can get to London.'

Meanwhile, Reg Hansell, county councillor for Dover, tells the Independent that he hopes the proposed South East Regional Development Board will be helpful, but says that existing structures have done relatively little for Kent. 'We have gained far more from the European side.'
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