A view from...

Katie Cavell. Cornwall Brussels Representative.

The Cornwall Brussels Office (CBO) is Cornwall’s eyes and ears on the ground in Brussels, giving Cornwall a direct link to decision-makers and intelligence on EU policy, legislation, and funding.  The CBO is a partnership between Cornwall Council, the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership, and the Combined Universities in Cornwall located at the heart of EU decision making in the European quarter of Brussels.  We represent the interests of Cornwall in Brussels through influence, intelligence, and advocacy by providing information on key strategic policy issues, for example on the EU budget, the future of cohesion policy, the future of research programmes, or on maritime policy; influencing policy developments through focused and coordinated lobbying in key areas of interest; direct engagement with EU funding opportunities; and raising the profile of Cornwall in Europe.

As a region with one of the lowest GDP per capita in the UK and the EU, Cornwall benefits from substantial support from the EU, and has done so since 1999.  These funds constitute vital investment in jobs, local businesses, infrastructure, training, and research within Cornwall.  Over the past few months, a key element of my work has been focused on the governance of the new EU funds for the next 7 years.  These funds will be worth around £950 per person in Cornwall.  The key question being whether the funds should be managed centrally, at UK Government level, or from the local, county level. 

Practically, this has involved mobilising the MEPs from the South West, engaging officials from the European Commission, and speaking to UK Government representatives in Brussels.  We believe that local management of these funds is essential for local businesses and local economic development, and that Cornwall knows best how to spend its own funds to ensure maximum returns for the community, small businesses, and the Cornish economy.  The key part of my work in Brussels is to ensure that the local voice is heard and that the local aspect in any policy is respected. 

Thursday 12 February 2015