Carwyn Jones has been reacting to the letter he's received from the Prime Minister, saying that the cut in European aid to Wales will be limited to 5% because funds intended for England will be reallocated.
We remain disappointed that the overall EU budget agreement fails to deliver the scale of investment needed to stimulate growth and jobs, particularly for vulnerable regions such as West Wales and the Valleys.
That said, we are pleased that the Prime Minister has listened to our arguments and has sought to deliver a fairer settlement than that originally proposed. We hope that the UK Government will now move quickly to agree these arrangements with the European Commission so that our new programmes can start on time.
Welsh Labour MEP Derek Vaughan says the aid cut for Wales is still 'disappointing' but fairer than first thought. He hopes that it will be possible to draw down additional funds as well and perhaps even get to a position where Wales benefits more than ever.
Whilst it is disappointing to see Wales’ allocation being reduced in this way, especially in the difficult economic climate that we are facing, the announcement gives a much fairer distribution to areas such as West Wales and the Valleys than initially thought.
I have been lobbying hard alongside the Welsh Labour Government to avoid an even bigger cut in support for Wales and led the campaign to persuade the UK Government and the European Commission of the need to protect the most vulnerable parts of Wales in this settlement.
Our efforts have been largely successful and it is clear that that the coalition government has been forced to acknowledge the strength and validity of our arguments.
The figure is not far off what Wales has received in the current funding round and when put together with other EU funding pots will mean that we could be in a position to benefit more than ever from assistance available at a European level.
At a time when the UK Government is embarking on a mistaken course of austerity, EU Structural Funding will provide Wales with the chance to continue investing in infrastructure and driving forward the generation of jobs and growth, building an economy that is modern and fit for purpose.
The confirmation that Wales is set to lose £75m of European funding is devastating news for our nation.
While it is a welcome fact that the cut is less than initially feared, we must remember that no cut would have taken place had the Government not been aided and abetted by Labour MPs from Wales.
As a net beneficiary of EU membership, parts of Wales receive structural funds for all-important fields such as agriculture and education - funding which is vital for some of our poorest communities. Some of these are not only the worst off areas in Wales but throughout the whole of Europe.
Areas such as West Wales and the Valleys are new set to miss out on vital EU cash that could have helped strengthen and develop our economy.
Plaid Cymru maintains that Wales' future lies within Europe where support and cooperation between nations can bring mutual social and economic benefits.
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has released the details of how EU aid will be redistributed. Wales will end up with nearly twice as much money as Scotland and Northern Ireland combined.
Wales gets a total allocation of around €2.145 billion. This is €375million more than Wales would receive under the EU formula for allocation of funds to the UK.
Scotland gets around €795 million, €228 million more than under the EU formula.
Northern Ireland gets around €457 million, €181 million more than under the EU formula.
England gets €6.174 billion, €784 million less than under the EU formula.
The UK government has decided to re-allocate EU Structural Funds to minimise the impact of sudden and significant cutbacks in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. EU Structural Funds are important for supporting economic activity. The EU formula would have seen several areas in most need of funds lose out, so we have taken the decision to correct that. It is important that these areas use this funding to help deliver strong, sustainable growth and assist in rebalancing the economy.
Last month, the Prime Minister negotiated a real-terms cut in the EU budget for the first time in history. At a time when people in every walk of life are tightening their belts to cope, it would be wrong for EU spending to be immune and continue to rise.
However, EU structural funds are important for supporting economic growth and I am pleased that this Government’s decision on how to allocate the UK’s share of EU structural funds protects Wales from the full extent of the reductions they would have faced through the EU formula alone.
What is important now is that the Welsh Government uses this money wisely to help deliver strong and sustainable growth for Wales.
The Prime Minister says the cut in European regional aid to Wales will be limited to 5%, which suggests that west Wales and the valleys will get about £75 million less over the next seven years than in the last seven years. The Welsh Government had feared a £400 million cut.
David Cameron agreed a deal in Brussels that cut the EU budget. But for the first time, there will be some European aid for all areas, with member states able to move the money around. The Prime Minister has now told the First Minister that he will use this to limit the impact on Wales.
Wales stands to receive an allocation of around 2.145 billion euros for the period 2014-2020, a significant uplift of the 375 million euros compared to the amount it would receive under the EU formula.
This decision will provide Wales the funds it needs to help deliver strong, sustainable growth and I hope it will carry your support.