Wales in Europe

Although it can often seem remote and its decision-making process complex, the European Union matters to Wales. Between 2007-2013, EU structural funding, aimed at reducing disparities between European regions, will have been worth £1.5 billion to Wales (£3bn with match funding), money vital to the regeneration of Welsh communities. But the EU isn’t important to Wales just because of funding. It is estimated that around 60% of domestic legislation has its origins in Brussels.  

It’s not surprising then that Brussels is the networking and lobbying capital of Europe. All Member States have offices here to represent them at national level, as well as the hundreds of offices here representing other levels of government; for example, over 50 Associations of local and regional  government are based in Brussels, representing over 100,000 local and regional authorities from across Europe.

It is vital for Wales to be involved here. The Welsh Government, the Welsh Local Government Association, Welsh Higher Education and the National Assembly for Wales all have offices here to monitor and influence EU policy that will have implications for Welsh communities and citizens. There is a misconception that the EU only has an impact for Member States in certain policy areas, such as the environment, but whilst it’s true that it does have huge influence in this area, EU decisions in a number of areas have implications for Wales, be it procurement, employment, health and social services. Even in policy areas where the EU has no legislative powers, decisions made in Brussels have implications for the Welsh Government, Welsh councils and ultimately Welsh citizens.

Being based in Brussels doesn’t just have its benefits in terms of lobbying though; it is also an ideal platform for Wales to showcase good practice, across a wide range of policy areas and to learn from other countries, in order to develop best practice further.

  • European Social Fund (ESF) Case Studies
  • National Assembly for Wales in Brussels
  • Wales and Europe (The Welsh Government’s website)
  • Welsh European Funding Office (WEFO)
  • Welsh Higher Education in Brussels (WHEB)
  • Welsh local government and Europe (The WLGA’s website)