On 18 March, Renew Europe CoR President François Decoster participated on the first meeting on British soil of the European Committee of the Regions UK Contact Group in Cardiff, where he discussed youth mobility and energy security with Mark Drakeford, the First Minister of Wales.
On energy security, Wales has a 52% of renewable energy share. On youth mobility, Wales has a programme replacing Erasmus+. The Programme will provide funding to enable students, staff and learners across universities, further education and vocational education and training, adult education, youth work settings and schools to undertake a period of structured learning or work experience overseas, as well as enabling strategic partnerships.
A fundamental principle of the Programme will be reciprocity. Where necessary, it will fund costs related to the inward mobility of learners, teachers and young people from partner organisations abroad. This will enable existing partnerships which have been built up under Erasmus+ to continue and help to create new ones, raising Wales’ international profile as well as offering opportunities to those who benefit directly. The scheme aims to enable 15,000 participants from Wales to go on overseas mobility exchanges over the first four years, with 10,000 participants coming to study or work in Wales.
Croeso i Gymru, a warm welcome to @EU_CoR at @SeneddWales today.@PrifWeinidog affirmed our ambition to be a Nation of Sanctuary, welcoming Ukrainian refugees.— Welsh Government International 🏴🇺🇦 (@walesintheworld) March 18, 2022
He also outlined the challenges and opportunities for Wales in implementing the Trade and Cooperation Agreement pic.twitter.com/g2rvyU2SAX
Together with Renew Europe Group’s Nathalie Loiseau MEP (LREM, FR), Decoster also reminded the contact group that it is the local authorities that remain indispensable to keep the relations between the EU and UK alive. As Loiseau said: “We need you, local authorities, to keep the relationship alive between the EU and the UK – we are open to formalizing this UK contact group and to associate the European Committee of the Regions to the works of the delegation of the European Parliament and the Parliamentary Assembly of this partnership”.
“First meeting of the contact group between the EU’s CoR and the UK on British soil since its creation! As pointed out by Loïg Chesnais-Girard, its president and Nathalie Loiseau MEP, president of the EU-UK Parliamentary Assembly, local authorities are essential to sustain the relationship” added Decoster.
1ère réunion du groupe de contact @EU_CoR-UK sur le sol britannique depuis sa création ! Comme l’ont rappelé @LoigCG, son président et @NathalieLoiseau, présidente de l’Assemblée parlementaire UE-UK, les collectivités locales sont indispensables pour faire vivre la relation 🇪🇺🇬🇧. pic.twitter.com/i3BeEBQVjK— François DECOSTER (@fdecoster) March 18, 2022
The liberal team of the UK Contact Group also consisted of Joseph Garcia, Deputy First Minister of Gibraltar, and David Chalmers, chair of the Liberal Democrats European Group.