The Prime Minister has told MPs that there will be only a small reduction in the amount of European aid coming to Britain and suggested that whether west Wales and the valleys loses out depends on further discussions between the European Parliament and Commission. But the EU Commissioner in charge of the aid programme has highlighted how some of the money will in future be spent in more prosperous areas.
David Cameron was speaking after he successfully insisted that the overall EU Budget is cut. The Plaid Cymru MP for Arfon, Hywel Williams, asked him about the expected cut in aid to west Wales and the valleys, estimated by the Welsh Government at £400 million over seven years.
Meanwhile, Commissioner Johannes Hahn has given his first reaction to the budget deal. He has made clear that although he will now have less to spend than he had hoped, it will not all go to the poorest areas.
– European Regional Policy Commissioner Johannes Hahn
The Commission's original proposal would have been a better deal for Europe. There is no doubt that as it stands it will be harder to finance all the EU priorities that we laid out in our proposals. By accepting our new category of 'transition regions' and the principle of providing funds for more developed regions as well, the agreement recognises that investments for growth and creating jobs are needed in all the regions of the EU. However, despite a demand for 'better spending', some provisions in this deal risk delaying much needed investments for growth on the ground.
The Commissioner says he's counting on the European Parliament to support his reforms but it could reject the budget completely. The leaders of the four largest parliamentary groups have already said that they find the deal reached on Friday unacceptable.