EC Commissioner visits to see how Cornwall is building a brighter
The European Commissioner for Regional Policy, Danuta Hübner,
is visiting Cornwall on 22 May to see for herself how Cornwall
has already used EC Structural Funding, and to hear how Cornwall
and the Isles of Scilly intends to use the next round of post-Objective
Commissioner Hübner, from Poland, is keen to visit
the Eden Project and the Combined Universities in Cornwall
(CUC) campus at Tremough, so Cornwall County Council has arranged
an afternoon and evening programme which will give her time
to see both sites, provide time for a round table discussion
with economic development agencies, and attend a dinner reception
at St Austell's Carlyon Bay Hotel.
Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly's current Objective
One programme, which earmarked £350 million of EC funding
for projects, is drawing to a close at the end of this year.
But Cornwall has already heard that it will have access to
further investment through the Convergence Programme to continue
progress towards economic regeneration.
The purpose of the Convergence programme will be to invest
in skills and job creation, developing a more knowledge-based
economy, increasing business productivity and innovation,
and improving infrastructure. However, even though the EU
has already agreed funding for Cornwall and Scilly we are
still awaiting details of the programme and its management
arrangements. It is hoped Commissioner Hübner's
visit can begin to shed some light on this.
Andrew Mitchell, Cornwall County Council's Economy
Portfolio Holder, will be among the hosts for the visit. He
says: "Across the EU it is widely recognised that
Cornwall has made good use of its Objective One status, and
begun a process which is delivering measurable and sustainable
economic growth. I am sure Commissioner Hübner will find
ample evidence that we remain a credible target for EU assistance,
and a showcase for how to get a regeneration blueprint up
and working. Once we have the detail of Convergence funding
arrangements we can begin work on an exciting forward programme."
Commissioner Hübner will be talking to local economy
experts, politicians and development agencies about how Convergence
funding will be used to underpin economic growth. She has
taken a particular interest in the opportunities offered by
digital and broadband technologies across Europe, and has
noted Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly's successful
actnow broadband roll-out.
Danuta Hübner has been a Commissioner in two successive
administrations during the largest expansion of the European
Union in its 48 year history. The Treaty of Rome bound six
founder member states together as a 'Common Market'
in 1958, but in 2004 growth accelerated from 15 to 25 member
states when the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Estonia, Hungary,
Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia joined.
The expansion is still continuing with Bulgaria, Romania and
Croatia joining shortly and membership negotiations now underway
Statistically measured as one of Europe's poorest
regions (having prosperity at 75% or less of the EU average)
Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have been in receipt of the
highest level of European Structural Funding – Objective
One – since 2001. The most recent evaluation of Cornwall
and the Isles of Scilly's prosperity (up to 2002) showed
that Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly is still struggling
with only 70% of the EU average Gross Value Added, although
there was evidence even in these early years that the Objective
One programme was starting to reverse the trend.
Priorities for the Convergence Programme for Cornwall and
the Isles of Scilly will be informed by the revised economic
strategy for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly entitled Strategy
& Action. Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly's priorities
must complement those at regional, national and European level.
A Europe-wide policy, the Lisbon Strategy, is a key driver
of the Convergence Programme. It aims to generate faster economic
growth and more and better jobs by increasing competitiveness,
innovation and developing knowledge-based economies. In showcasing
CUC and Eden, Cornwall hopes to impress Commissioner Hübner
that it is embracing the Lisbon priorities, and already generating
better jobs and education prospects from previous EU investment.
Later this summer Cornwall will have a visit from one of
Danuta Hübner's 24 colleague EC Commissioners -
Andries Pielbags, Latvian Commissioner for Energy is coming
on 14 July in a visit arranged by SW MEP Graham Watson. Reijo
Kemppinen, Head of the European Commission Representation
in the UK, is also visiting Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly
on 15 June.
For further information please contact Mark Nicholson of
Cornwall County Council on 01872 274098 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Monday 22 May the Commissioner will visit the CUC campus
at Pernryn between 1.15 and 3.30 pm. After a buffet lunch
with invited guests she will take part in a ceremony marking
the start of the second phase of building at the CUC site.
Then Commissioner Hübner will travel to the Eden Project,
arriving at 4.35 pm. She will tour the biomes and the new
Core education facility, departing at 6.00 pm. A private dinner
reception at the Carlyon Bay Hotel is planned that evening,
and Commissioner Hübner continues her SW visit in Plymouth
on Tuesday 23 May to see the Royal William Yard and the Peninsula
Medical School, also taking part in the launch of the SW of
England Regional Economic Strategy at Plymouth's Hilton
PHOTO AND INTERVIEW OPPORTUNITY
EC Commissioner Danuta Hübner will take part in a ceremony
to mark Phase 2 of work on the CUC campus at 14.15 on Monday
22 May 2006.
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Objective One Partnership Office
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