Green MEP to seek assurances from European Commission on Cornwall funds

1 July 2014

Molly Scott Cato, the South West’s first Green MEP, officially takes up her seat in the European Parliament today. As she begins in her role she is submitting a question to the European Commission seeking assurances that decisions about how to allocate convergence funding for Cornwall will continue to be made in the interests of Cornwall and the Cornish people.

The question to the Commission follows news that the Coalition government plans to take away Cornwall’s decision making powers on how to spend its £450 million allocation and hand them over to Whitehall. Cornwall Council together with Cornish politicians, businesses and other stakeholders are united in opposition and are currently lobbying Government to allow Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly to retain the power to decide how European funding should be spent over the next six years [1]. Greens say they fully support the right of Cornwall and the Cornish people to retain decision making powers over its Operational Programme (OP) which sets out the strategy, governance and delivery mechanisms for the 2014-2020 European Programme.

Molly Scott Cato MEP said

I am deeply unhappy that the management of convergence funding will shift from regional authorities in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly towards central government bodies.

Such a move goes completely against the spirit of new European legislation which stresses the principles of multi-level governance and partnership and makes a mockery of Eric Pickles' rhetoric on Localism.

I share concerns that high-skill, well-paid jobs will be pushed out of Cornwall and into the London economy if decision making is moved outside the region - the exact opposite of the rebalancing the government said it wanted to achieve. Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have a long history of using these funds efficiently and effectively.

I will be seeking reassurances from the Commission that they will do all they can to stand up for Cornwall and the Cornish people.

The European Green Group has listed 'Making subsidiarity happen' as one of its targets for the current parliament; the idea that decision making is decentralised to as local a level as possible. Green Party leader, Natalie Bennett, met with Mebyon Kernow leader, Dick Cole, during the European election campaign to reaffirm the Party's commitment towards a Cornish Assembly, which Greens agree is the natural body to make such significant policy decisions. [2]

Andrew Bell
South West Green Party Press Officer
07903 932220

[1] See Twitter: #standupforCornwall


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