Gibraltar has formed part of a number of EU Structural Funds meetings held in London. Present at one of the meetings last week was the new UK Head of Unit for DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion of the EU Commission, Nicholas Gibert-Morin. Gibraltar was represented at these meetings by the Director of European Programmes for Gibraltar Charles Collinson.
Last week the Chronicle reported that Gibraltar could still tap into the €3.8million of EU funding with the money there for the taking before a Brexit deal is struck. With €1.8million spent from the ‘Gibraltar Investment for Growth and Jobs’ programme, the remaining cash will continue to be available until the UK and Gibraltar leave the EU. The Director of European Programmes said then his aim was to spend the cash locally by March 2019.
Last week meeting with Mr Gibert-Morin was held in Europe House in London and discussions centred on the current state-of-play of the European Social Fund (ESF) in Gibraltar and the benefits that have been derived from this fund in the past.
Mr Collinson also attended the Joint Annual Review meeting of Structural Funds Programmes between the EU Commission, the United Kingdom and the devolved administrations.
At this forum, the Gibraltar EU Programmes Secretariat (EUPS) was congratulated by the EU Commission at having been the first region in Europe to have closed down its 2007-2013 ERDF Programme and for being the top UK region in respect of commitment of funds under the current ERDF Programme.
The Commission also highlighted the effectiveness of the EUPS website and remarked on the promptitude of the updates of the same.
The final meeting attended was that of the UK Partnership Agreement Programme Board, which includes UK Government Departments and the devolved administrations. At this meeting the European Court of Auditors (ECA) made a presentation. This was followed by discussions on the EU exit and the future functions of the Board.
Mr Collinson also took the opportunity to meet up with his colleagues from the EU exit and Structural Funds Taskforce Group, of which he is also member.