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07 May 2009
First Minister Rhodri Morgan has today (7th May) launched a new strategy for greater engagement between Wales and the European Union in a keynote University address.
To help mark Europe Day, the First Minister chose the University to unveil the Welsh Assembly Government’s new flagship European strategy document – Wales and the European Union – A Strategy for the Welsh Assembly Government.
The strategy sets out the scope of the Welsh Assembly Government’s European Union engagement across the range of policies for which it has devolved responsibility. The document indicates how the Assembly Government will take forward its EU commitments.
Officially launching the strategy document at an event co-organised by the School of European Studies and the Welsh Assembly Government, First Minister Rhodri Morgan said: "Devolution is 10 years old and now is a good time to take stock of our approach to the EU and to set a course for the period ahead. This document summarises our ambitions in the European Union across a broad range of policies and indicates how we can most effectively influence EU policy.
"The European Union links Wales to a block of nations which, collectively, gives us a real voice in the world and so helps us to shape better policies at home."
The First Minister took the opportunity to re-emphasis the benefits of European collaboration and underlined the importance of working with the EU in improving economic prosperity.
Rhodri Morgan added: "Over recent years we have been working with high levels of European Commission funding, invested alongside our own resources, to develop structural improvements in the Welsh economy. The immediate challenge, during a period of economic downturn across Europe and around the globe, is to protect jobs and to raise skill levels through training so that people and businesses are well-placed to benefit from the upturn.
"The EU is our partner in trying to develop better conditions for prosperity in Wales, in both town and country. But we also need to work hard in the European context to improve our environment and overall quality of life across several fronts."
Professor Alistair Cole, School of European studies said: "We were delighted that the First Minister chose the University and, in particular, the School of European Studies to officially launch this key European strategy document."
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