Page last updated at 18:17 GMT, Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Plaid Cymru debate on european funding

The deputy minister for agriculture urged Prime Minister David Cameron to reach an agreement with other heads of government on the EU budget during a Plaid Cymru debate on 21 November 2012.

Alun Davies AM supported the party's motion calling on the assembly to recognise the importance of the budget of the European Union for the future of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and regional funds.

Responding to the debate he repeatedly said that "a cut in the EU budget would not be in Wales' interest".

Plaid Cymru's decision to move the motion arose following Labour MPs joining with Conservative backbenchers in Westminster to vote against the UK government for a cut to the EU budget.

"We want spending maintained at current levels both within the CAP and structural funds to help us through the current economic climate," added the deputy minister.

"Any delay in approving the budget would mean delays in implementing the new programs in 2014.

"So let me be clear: Any delay in agreeing this budget, and any cut to CAP or any structural funds would not be in Wales' best interest.

"And I would like to use the opportunity of this debate to again urge the UK Prime Minister to reach agreement with other heads of government on a new budget later this week and to reach agreement on a budget which helps us to invest in jobs and in growth."

The Conservatives tabled four amendments to the motion, calling on the Welsh government to negotiate a sound and efficient budget to meet the fiscal needs of Wales, ensuring a stable economy that supports the Common Agricultural Policy and regional funding.

Antoinette Sanbach, Conservative AM for North Wales argued that the EU budget was "unsustainable" having increased by 47% since 1998.

The Liberal Democrats tabled three amendments.

Their South Wales Central AM Eluned Parrot spoke on their behalf, voicing their regret that Wales has become relatively poorer between 2000 and 2008 despite receiving more than £6bn in European Union funding.

"Wales is poor and getting poorer," she said.

Plaid Cymru AM Ieuan Wyn Jones, closing the debate said that following Prime Minister David Cameron's favoured outcome of freezing the EU budget would "essentially" lead to a cut in real terms.

He asked for cross party support to the motion.

The motion was agreed unamended.

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