Talks on securing €2.1 billion in European aid to West Wales and the Valleys are reaching their final, crucial stage in Brussels.
Sharp End is in Strasbourg for a special programme from the European Parliament discussing the effects of the EU on Wales.
Tonight's Sharp End looks at controversies over Europe, powers for the Assembly and windfarms.
Plaid Cymru MEP Jill Evans calls for people living in communities which will benefit from European aid to be given more say in how it's spent. Her call follows a vote by MEPs backing EU budget plans which will see more than €2bn of aid granted to Wales between 2014 and 2020.
Labour MEP for Wales, Derek Vaughan, has welcomed a vote in the European Parliament which rubber-stamps the EU budget for 2014-2020 including proposals to give Wales more than €2bn in aid.
MEPs have backed budget plans which will see European aid given to Wales until 2020. Their final vote in the European Parliament in Strasbourg follows years of discussions on the distribution of aid money to some of the poorest regions of the EU.
Wales has qualified for the highest level of aid which is expected to mean €2.1bn over the course of the spending period. It's a higher amount than had been expected after the UK Government agreed to cut some funding from parts of England.
It'll be the third round of aid given to Wales. The Welsh Government has been criticised for some of its previous spending priorities. If it gets permission from the European Commission, it intends to spend more of the next batch on roads and other infrastructure projects.
Derek Vaughan MEP has met the European Regional Policy Commissioner, Johannes Hahn, to press the case for an increased aid budget for West Wales and the Valleys. He was interviewed afterwards by Georg von Harrach. The pictures are from the European Parliament.
ITV Cymru Wales understands that the European Commission is close to approving the Welsh Government's proposals for spending €2.1 billion of aid to West Wales and the Valleys over the next seven years. Rough percentages have been given to the different spending priorities.
- Roads, public transport and other Infrastructure 50%
- Small and medium-sized businesses 15%
- Research and development 15%
- Low carbon projects 12%
- Information technology 8%
Although nothing is officially decided until the plans are formally presented as part of the UK Government's submission, the Welsh Government is close to securing half the money for its major priority of infrastructure development. The other four priorities have been set by the European Commission.
In a separate development, Welsh Labour MEP Derek Vaughan says Regional Policy Commissioner Johannes Hahn is "receptive" to the UK Government's plan to avoid a projected cut in the aid budget for West Wales and the Valleys to nearer €1.6 billion. Parts of England will lose out as a result.
– Derek Vaughan MEP
It just seemed a nonsense that Wales could get a cut of 22%. We have won the arguments with the UK government, now we need to win the arguments with the Commission. The Commissioner is very sympathetic towards Wales. He knows and understands that Wales usually uses the funds well.
Plaid Cymru is blaming the UK government for leaving Wales off an EU map of priority transport corridors entitled to a share of €26 billion. The so-called TEN-T network indicates the ferry from Liverpool to Dublin as the main route between Britain and Ireland. The A55 to Holyhead is not shown.
Plaid MEP Jill Evans has claimed that the map is based on information given to the European Commission by the UK government. She described it as "another act of betrayal by the UK government against Wales". Ms Evans added that she will be taking the matter up with the Commission.
Welsh routes could still be included in a revised map of Europe's core transport network and so also be eligible for EU aid. But the priority corridors which leave Wales out are expected to have first claim on the money.
Two senior Welsh Conservative AMs have said they would vote to leave the European Union if a referendum were held tomorrow. Deputy Leader Paul Davies said Tory MPs pushing for legislation for a vote 'are reflecting the mood of the country.' He said he'd 'vote to leave the EU in its present form.'
But he added that the Prime Minister should be given chance to renegotiate Britain's relationship with Brussels. He rejected the First Minister's claim that leaving would be disastrous for Wales. Shadow Health Minister Darren Millar said he'd 'most likely' vote 'out' if a vote were held tomorrow.
He said money sent to the EU could be used to develop home-made aid programmes rather than Brussels-led projects 'which have made diddly squat difference.' Their leader Andrew RT Davies has previously said he'd campaign for a no vote if negotiations to change the EU's direction were unsuccessful.