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MINISTERS URGED TO FIGHT FOR CONTINUATION OF EU CASH FOR SCOTTISH REGIONS

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The Scottish Office is currently the target of intense behind-the-scenes lobbying as different organisations lobby ...
The Scottish Office is currently the target of intense behind-the-scenes lobbying as different organisations lobby government departments to argue the case for European Union structural funds being given to their particular Scottish region, reports The Scotsman (p9).

One-third of the EU's budget goes on the Structural Fund programme, which brings about£220m to Scotland each year.

Most of Scotland qualifies for funding of one sort of another, with 85% of the population living in EU-assisted areas.

An entire bureaucracy has grown up around the Structural Funds. Forty Scottish Office staff act as brokers between the commission and local grant-making partnerships. Every council has a European officer.

But as part of the Agenda 2000 reforms, designed to accommodate new EU members from eastern Europe, the map of eligible areas is being redrawn.

Now the pressure will be on Scottish secretary John Reid to fight his corner against Wales and the English regions over the next few weeks, as ministers put their case to teh commission, with the final results expected in the autumn.

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