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Brexit day: What next for Cornish funding?

Brexit day: What next for Cornish funding?

Published by Emma Carton at 9:29am 31st January 2020. (Updated at 3:11pm 31st January 2020)

Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Richard Whitehouse

While the UK will formally Brexit on Friday night, Cornwall will retain a presence in Brussels.

The Cornwall Brussels Office is set to remain to provide representation for Cornwall Council, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and the Combined Universities in Cornwall.

This week the head of the Brussels office, Ralph Bunche, paid a visit to the UK which included a stop at the LEP board meeting to explain about the work the office does.

Following Brexit the UK will no longer have a seat on the EU Council and no MEPs - although some MEPs will continue to have access for three months.

But Mr Bunche highlighted: "EU rights and participation in EU programmes will continue for the rest of the year.

"UK stakeholders can continue to bid on projects under the full range of programmes which were accessible pre Brexit. And any projects that were available at the start of this year will remain.

"There is a question about what will happen with those projects after the end of the year but, as it stands, there are no barriers to participating in programmes this year.

"There is an opportunity and there is money there that the UK can bid for.

"There is a need to combat the misconceptions about that, about what Brexit is and how it impacts on the UK".

Ralph Bunche

And Mr Bunche, who by profession is a lawyer, said that there was a lot of work going on in Brussels around the UK's future relationship with the EU as well as the areas of co-operation between the UK and the EU.

He said that there were three priority areas – security, climate and digital economy - which would be the focus of that work.

And he said that there was a "strong possibility" of the UK continuing to participate in research and innovation related programmes.

Turning to the role of the Cornwall Brussels Office Mr Bunche said that it would continue with work around partnership building; transition and Brexit and providing EU intelligence.

And he explained that there were some key areas which would be focused on for Cornwall including climate and energy; research and innovation opportunities; language and culture.

"We are trying to get as many project applications in as possible where we can still apply.

"And we want to continue partnership building with other EU regions".

Ralph Bunche

Cornwall will maintain participation in European programmes after Brexit and will also remain a member of the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions.

For more than 20 years Cornwall has received funding from the EU after being recognised as one of the poorest regions in Europe.

Through different programmes Cornwall has benefited from £1.5billion of funding in that time. The current funding programme will continue.

And Prime Minister Boris Johnson has made pledges that Cornwall will not lose out on funding after Brexit.

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