Happy St David’s Day: What has the EU done for Wales?
PUBLISHED: 12:23 01 March 2019 | UPDATED: 13:51 01 March 2019
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To celebrate St David’s Day, here’s a list of 10 things the EU has done for Wales. Dydd Gŵyl Dewi hapus!
1 A home for under-20s rugby
The EU provided £1.5m of funds to help develop Parc Eirias in Colwyn Bay as the home of Wales’ under-20s rugby side.
CYMRU AM BYTH!
2 Welsh language promotion
£2.8m of EU money was provided to help renovate Nant Gwrtheyrn, the Llŷn peninsula’s Welsh language and heritage centre.
3 Rebuilding communities
Since 2007 the EU has provided funding for several regeneration projects across Wales:
•£79m for the Heads of the Valleys dualling road.
•£80m towards town centre improvements and regeneration schemes across Wales, including Merthyr Tydfil, Pontypridd, Aberystwyth, Llanelli and Newport.
•£3m for the redevelopment of Ponty Lido
•£54 m for Harbour Way - completing a link route between junction 38 of the M4 to Port Talbot and the docks, opening up the area for further tourism and development.
•£21m for the upgrading of train stations across Wales, including Aberystwyth, Carmarthen, Llandudno, Pontypridd and Port Talbot
•The Wales Coast Path project received nearly £4 million over four years from the European Regional Development Fund.
4 Job creation
According to the Welsh Government, since 2007 EU projects have achieved the following:
•Supported 229,110 people to gain qualifications
•Helped 72,700 people in work
•Created 36,970 (gross) jobs
•Created 11,925 enterprises
•Provided £33m for the Job Growth Wales programme, which has created jobs for over 15,000 16-24 year olds across Wales
•£85m for 33,000 apprenticeships and 12,000 traineeships across Wales at employers including Airbus, Admiral and GE Aviation
•Funding of £1.4m was approved for 40 graduates to take part in a two-year development programme in East Wales involving technical work experience and study, leading to a Masters in Financial Services Management qualification
5 University Funding
•£40m for Swansea University’s Bay Campus (2007-2013)
•£31.1m for a high-end research centre at Swansea University (2014-2020)
•£16.2m for Cardiff University Brain Research and Imaging Centre (2014-2020)
6 Unfettered access to the Single Market
67% of Welsh goods exports went to EU member countries outside the UK in 2015, according to figures released by HM Revenue and Customs.
7 Welsh-Irish Partnership
The EU has invested up to £60m in supporting cooperation between Ireland and Wales. It is hoped jobs will be created by “linking Welsh and Irish research organisation with business”. The programme is also intended to boost tourism and help coastal communities cope with climate change.
8 Agricultural Funding
The Common Agricultural Policy provides £200m a year to more than 16,000 farms in Wales to protect the countryside. One pillar of this funding is the Welsh Government Rural Communities rural development programme, a £957m programme running from 2014-2020 that supports businesses and farms in rural parts of Wales.
9 Marine Energy
£12m of EU funds have been invested in technologies across West and North Wales to harness the energy potential of the sea. Some £6.4 million has been spent in Pembrokeshire where Wales’ first tidal energy generator has been installed in Ramsey Sound.
10 Protected bottlenose dolphins in Cardigan Bay
The EU’s LIFE programme provided the UK £1,994,854 to help protect marine Special Areas of Conservation, including protecting the bottlenose dolphins that inhabit Cardigan Bay.
Labour MP for Cardiff Central Jo Stevens, a supporter of the anti-Brexit campaign group Best for Britain, said: “Wales is proud of its European heritage.
“Being a member of the European Union has enabled the regeneration of communities in Wales, created jobs, funded education projects, and promoted the Welsh language. We are better as part of Europe, not isolated from it.
“Wales is today waking up to change, with more than half of Welsh voters now thinking that Brexit will have a negative impact on the economy. The people of Wales deserve to be given their voice back on Brexit. That’s why we need a final say with the option to stay and lead in Europe.”