Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru
The National Assembly for Wales


Y Pwyllgor Menter a Busnes
The Enterprise and Business Committee


Dydd Iau, 16 Mai 2013
Thursday, 16 May 2013






Cyflwyniad, Ymddiheuriadau a Dirprwyon
Introductions, Apologies and Substitutions


Y Wybodaeth Ddiweddaraf am Faterion Ewropeaidd 
European Update


Cynnig o dan Reol Sefydlog Rhif 17.42 i Benderfynu Gwahardd y Cyhoedd o Weddill y Cyfarfod ac o Gyfarfod 2 Mai
Motion under Standing Order No. 17.42 to Resolve to Exclude the Public from the Remainder of the Meeting and for the Meeting on 2 May


Cofnodir y trafodion hyn yn yr iaith y llefarwyd hwy ynddi yn y pwyllgor. Yn ogystal, cynhwysir trawsgrifiad o’r cyfieithu ar y pryd.


These proceedings are reported in the language in which they were spoken in the committee. In addition, a transcription of the simultaneous interpretation is included.


Aelodau’r pwyllgor yn bresennol
Committee members in attendance


Byron Davies

Ceidwadwyr Cymreig
Welsh Conservatives

Keith Davies


Yr Arglwydd/Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas

Plaid Cymru
The Party of Wales

Julie James


Alun Ffred Jones

Plaid Cymru
The Party of Wales

Eluned Parrott

Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol Cymru

Welsh Liberal Democrats

Joyce Watson


Nick Ramsay

Ceidwadwyr Cymreig (Cadeirydd y Pwyllgor)
Welsh Conservatives (Committee Chair)

David Rees


Mick Antoniw



Eraill yn bresennol

Others in attendance


Gregg Jones

Pennaeth Swyddfa UE Cymru

Head of Wales EU Office


Swyddogion Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru yn bresennol
National Assembly for Wales officials in attendance


Ffion Emyr Bourton 

Dirprwy Glerc

Deputy Clerk

Siân Phipps



Dechreuodd y cyfarfod am 9.00 a.m.
The meeting began at 9.00 a.m.


Cyflwyniad, Ymddiheuriadau a Dirprwyon
Introductions, Apologies and Substitutions


[1]               Nick Ramsay: Good morning. I welcome Members, witnesses and members of the public to this morning’s meeting of the Enterprise and Business Committee. The meeting is being held bilingually; headphones can be used for simultaneous translation or for amplification. The meeting is being broadcast and a transcript of the proceedings will be published. Members, please turn off your mobile phones. There is no need to touch the microphones, as they will operate automatically. In the event of a fire alarm, please follow the ushers. We have no apologies today and no substitutions.


9.01 a.m.


Y Wybodaeth Ddiweddaraf am Faterion Ewropeaidd
European Update


[2]               Nick Ramsay: We are, this morning, having an update on current European issues. I welcome Gregg Jones, head of the Assembly’s European Union Office in Brussels, to the committee. Welcome, Gregg. I also welcome David Hughes, the head of the EU office here, who is observing today’s meeting. Thank you for being with us, David.


[3]               Do Members have any questions for Gregg on current issues? Gregg, would you like to say a few words first?


[4]               Mr Jones: Good morning, Chair, and good morning, Members. It is very nice to be here in person rather than by video-conference. You will have seen the paper that I produced. It is the first update that we have had for a while, so I have tried to cover the issues that the committee has been following over the last year and a half to two years as well as some of the other big-picture issues that are on the EU agenda. The paper explains that; if you like, I could go through it quickly.


[5]               Nick Ramsay: Yes, that would be helpful.


[6]               Mr Jones: The first section is on the multi-annual financial framework, the budget for the EU from 2014 to 2020. This is the big issue. It is the issue that sets the context and the parameters for all of the thematic areas like structural funds, agriculture, fisheries and so on. If I had done this update three or four weeks ago, the response would have been different, because talks had stalled and the European Parliament was refusing to enter formally into trialogue negotiations, as the briefing explains. However, they had a meeting of the presidents—the Irish presidency of the Council, the president of the European Commission, and the president of the European Parliament—and they resolved some of the issues that the European Parliament had raised. They had their first formal trialogue discussions this week. The Irish are optimistic, as they are on everything, and they have put a lot of energy into the presidency, which is very much appreciated by everyone in Brussels and across the EU. Whether they succeed on this one or not we will see, but they are still trying to get political agreement on the budget by the end of June. If they do achieve that, there will probably be a legal agreement in the autumn—once you sort out the politics the legal side is usually fine.


[7]               That has repercussions, as I said, for the debate about structural funds, which is the next issue. There are a few issues there, and not just about the budget; there is also the technical side, what the programmes can do and the strategic framework. There is a parallel trialogue negotiation there. Trialogues are basically informal formal discussions—if that makes sense—between the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council, led by the Irish presidency. They are trying to reach agreement and bring together the different positions of the institutions. Again, the Irish are trying to get agreement on the structural funds by the end of June. There have been some concerns raised about the process; the European Parliament’s regional policy committee had quite a difficult meeting, if I can say that, a few weeks ago, where it questioned the process. We will see whether that gets resolved, but some of the issues on that dossier have been sorted out already.


[8]               Similarly, for Horizon 2020 there are trialogue negotiations going on. That one is probably less controversial in its content. If the Irish do work their magic, we will probably be in a scenario of regulations being formalised in the autumn again on structural funds and Horizon 2020, and then the question will be: how quickly can the programmes be up and running? For the ones that are managed centrally, in Brussels, that process is probably a bit quicker—the European Commission can just get on with it, because it works on things in the background anyway. For the shared management, or decentrally managed, programmes, there is a preparation that takes place for the interplay between the member states and the Commission, and then, obviously, sub-state players like us, with Welsh Government leading on that for Wales, which can introduce some delays. However, we are told that everyone is working to try to get things up and running as quickly as possible after 1 January; so, that means preparation of draft operational programmes in the background. I think that the time frame that Welsh Government is working to is to get something in to the Commission in the autumn as well. So, that is on the multi-annual financial framework for the structural funds of Horizon 2020.


[9]               The other issues that I have highlighted have been raised before in updates to the committee. I know that the committee has looked at these issues from a Welsh context, but I think that they merit specific mention here because they are the big issues in Brussels. It is what everyone is talking about. Youth unemployment is a major issue across Europe. Some countries, such as Spain and Greece, have huge percentages of youth unemployment of close to 60%. So, that is a major challenge. Actions have been taken to try to take a European approach to this, or to give a structure or political commitment to it. That will be a big agenda item for the European Council in June.


[10]           The youth unemployment challenge has come out of the eurozone crisis and the wider financial crisis, so that is the next item that I have highlighted. As you are fully aware, from the debates that are ongoing in the UK, and the views about the future and so on—where we stand and where we do not stand in Europe—that falls out of the context of this debate around the economic and financial challenges facing the EU and how the EU responds to that and strengthens central direction for the eurozone, strengthening European economic and monetary union.


[11]           I will probably leave it at that by way of introductory comments.


[12]           Nick Ramsay: That is great. It was very thorough. Thank you, Gregg. We have a couple of questions already. The first is from Mick Antoniw.


[13]           Mick Antoniw: There is a whole series, really; I will not do them all in one go. The first is with regard to structural funding, which, at one stage, was looking quite bleak in terms of the level of cuts that would take place; negotiations have, obviously, narrowed that particular gap. There was mention of a cushion being negotiated by those who would be affected by the significant reduction in structural funding. What has changed now? What is the exact position? It is almost flatlining in terms of structural funding. Is that the sort of position that we are at?


[14]           Mr Jones: There has been a cut in the overall EU-wide structural funds budget. There are two levels of negotiations. You have the budgetary framework, which I mentioned earlier, which is agreed in the European Council and must then be agreed in the European Parliament. That is still not finalised. The European Parliament has to agree to it in order for it to happen. You will see, in the first section, in paragraph 1.1, that the scale of structural fund cuts is around 30 billion less than in the current period. However, that is pan EU. The point that you are probably alluding to, I would say, is the UK context. The UK gets an allocation from the EU pot and when you applied a formula based on the criteria set by the European Commission and agreed with the Parliament and Council to the UK context, it looked as if Wales—the convergence, or what will become the less-developed region—would lose around 350 million to 400 million. So, there have been negotiations within the UK as to how the allocation is split up between the nations and the regions. The gap for Wales has come down. I think that the figure being talked about now is around 60 million less than the current allocation to Wales.


[15]           Mick Antoniw: In terms of the cushions that have been negotiated across the board to alleviate the impact of that, is it still the case that the UK has not negotiated any cushion, or does not get any cushion at all from the impact of any reduction?


[16]           Mr Jones: This is where the gifts that are given to, say, Spain—I mention Spain because it was the first to come into my head, but to individual member states—become a buy-off. That is the idea. That is the traditional way in which budget negotiations happen. To get agreement, you give a gift to one country so that it will accept negotiations on others. From the agreement in February, there were not any specifics for the UK, while there were specifics mentioned for some other member states. So, if that is what your question is—


[17]           Mick Antoniw: Do we know why that is?


[18]           Mr Jones: There would have been negotiations within the room, between the delegations. That would be a question for the UK Government rather than me.


[19]           Mick Antoniw: So that is a matter that is settled now, is it?


[20]           Mr Jones: It is settled insofar as that is what the European Council has agreed. To unpick that is difficult, and it was difficult enough to reach agreement within the European Council. However, it is not settled with the European Parliament. Significantly, the European Parliament in its response—which I think was on 13 or 14 March—did not challenge the cuts. Traditionally it has argued that there should be an increase on the Commission’s original proposal, but it focused its concerns around process and some longer-term issues, as I have highlighted in the briefing.


[21]           Mick Antoniw: So is our primary concern at the moment the negotiations over the particular framework—how they can be used, and what Government can use the structural funding for? I see in your paper that guidelines will be out by June 2013; does that mean that, effectively, negotiations are almost completed?


[22]           Mr Jones: You have two levels of negotiation. You have negotiation on the legal text, on which, as I mentioned, the Irish presidency is trying to conclude political agreement by the end of June. Then you also have the negotiations that go into preparing the operational programmes themselves, and this new concept of partnership framework, which exists at a member state level, but there has been agreement in the UK that Wales will have its own chapter drafted by the Welsh Government. The legal framework defines the parameters within which the operational programme will be prepared: concentration of funding on priorities and so forth. Then the budget debate sets out how much each country, nation or region can use to deliver those programmes, or will get to deliver them. So, those negotiations are ongoing, but they are coming towards the endgame.


[23]           Nick Ramsay: Did you say that June was when an agreement was expected, one way or another?


[24]           Mr Jones: That is what the Irish are trying to agree. I would say on all of this that it is unclear whether that will happen, but they are putting optimism into the debate, and fair play to the Irish—I think that there is more chance of success under the Irish presidency than under other presidencies, if I can put it that way. However, there have been some issues on the structural funds with the European Parliament. It did it very publicly a couple of weeks ago—it raised some issues around the process of negotiation on structural funds. Can that be resolved in the next six weeks?


[25]           Nick Ramsay: We are looking on the bright side there. Joyce Watson has a supplementary question.


[26]           Joyce Watson: You talk about youth unemployment being a really serious issue, and say that there are serious discussions going on. Within that, there is talk around the youth guarantee initiative. As stated in your paper, the age limit of 25, and the other threshold of 25% for youth unemployment, make two levels of regional qualification that are not exactly helpful at this stage for Wales. However, there are further discussions in terms of raising the age threshold to 30 and reducing the unemployment threshold to 20%, which would of course advantage Wales. How are those negotiations progressing, and how optimistic are you that those changes might take place?


[27]           Mr Jones: Those negotiations have started. I am just checking through my papers, but I think that proposals came out in the last month, I think in March, and the Commission published them. As far as I am aware, the response to changing the age threshold and the criteria has been positive, so I think that there will be movement on those, but it is a negotiation, so we will see. However, they want to negotiate this quickly, because part of the implementation of this new idea of a youth—I cannot remember what it is called now; I do not have the right page.


9.15 a.m.


[28]           Joyce Watson: The youth guarantee.


[29]           Mr Jones: You have the youth guarantee, but there is also the funding allocation that was agreed by the European Council in February, which is non-controversial and the Parliament is happy with that. Part of that funding will be delivered by the European social fund, so through the structural funds. I do not think that it is controversial. It is such a big issue that I cannot see that anything that will enable taking action on the ground to address it will be blocked. I know that the UK Government is supporting that flexibility. There is also an issue around ensuring that—it is the cliché of the law of unintended consequences—by introducing a specific action to target this, you do not limit what you can do in the rest of the programmes. It is about having a common sense approach. The overall objective is to tackle youth unemployment. So, I am optimistic.


[30]           Alun Ffred Jones: A gaf fynd yn ôl at fater maint y cronfeydd? Rydych yn amcanu mai’r golled i Gymru fydd €60 miliwn. Ar dudalen 6, rydych yn sôn am ostyngiad o 5% yn nyraniad 2007-13, ond y cyfanswm yw €2 biliwn, sy’n awgrymu bod y toriad yn nes at €100 miliwn, ond rydych yn credu mai €60 miliwn fydd y toriad.


Alun Ffred Jones: May I go back to the issue of the size of the funds? You estimate that the loss to Wales will be €60 million. On page 6, you talk about a reduction of 5% in the 2007-13 allocation, but the total is €2 billion, which suggests that the cut is nearer €100 million, but you say that you think that it will be €60 million.

[31]           Mr Jones: Byddaf yn ateb yn Saesneg. Rwy’n gwneud mwy o synnwyr yn Saesneg na Chymraeg, yn anffodus.


Mr Jones: I will respond in English. I make more sense in English than in Welsh, unfortunately.

[32]           I have heard the figure of €60 million; that has been mentioned publicly. I will check that, because the other figures do not stack up if you take a 5% cut from just over a €2 billion, so I will come back to you on that, if that is okay. The figure of €60 million has been mentioned publicly.


[33]           Alun Ffred Jones: Ar fater arall, wrth sôn am y paratoadau yng Nghymru, ym mhwynt 2.3, mae cyfeiriad at y bartneriaeth rhaglenni Ewropeaidd a phwyllgor monitro rhaglenni Cymru gyfan. Ken Skates yw cadeirydd y ddau gorff hynny. Rwy’n cymryd bod aelodaeth y ddau gorff hynny yn wahanol. Beth yn union yw’r gwahaniaeth rhwng y ddau gorff?


Alun Ffred Jones: On another issue, in talking about the preparations in Wales, in point 2.3, there is a reference to the European programmes partnership and the all-Wales programme monitoring committee. Ken Skates chairs both those bodies. I take it that the membership of both those bodies is different. What exactly is the difference between those bodies?

[34]           Mr Jones: The programme monitoring committee is for the current programmes, so from 2007 to 2013, whereas the European programmes partnership was set up as part of the preparations for 2014 to 2020, as part of the inclusive, partnership-based approach to preparing the programmes. So their purposes are different. As to the membership, are you talking about individuals or organisations?


[35]           Alun Ffred Jones: Nid oeddwn yn disgwyl i chi ddweud wrthyf pwy yw’r aelodau, ond rwy’n cymryd nad yr un yw aelodaeth y ddau gorff.


Alun Ffred Jones: I did not expect you to tell me who the members are, but I take it that the membership of both bodies is not the same.

[36]           Nick Ramsay: Are there any further questions for Gregg?


[37]           Julie James: I have one last one. One issue that has come up in all of these different streams is about whether, on the ground, you can benefit from different streams of European funding as an individual. That is causing all kinds of unintended consequences for various programmes. Is that being discussed anywhere? I will give you an example: if you are in the workfair programme, you cannot access any of the social integration programmes, because they are funded from two different European streams.


[38]           Mr Jones: I do not know whether it will go down to that level of detail, but they have looked at simplification and creating better synergies between the funding streams as part of the overall objectives or aims of the reforms. However, it would probably not be at that individual level. I can come back to you on that.


[39]           Julie James: I appreciate that it does not go down to the individual level, but what about in terms of high-level understanding of what happens—I sound like Ghostbusters—if you mix the streams? Quite a lot of the programmes are designed to go hand in hand, so if you look at back-to-work-type programmes, you will see that quite a lot of the people that they work with need social integration programmes to assist them in the back-to-work effort. However, if both of them are funded by the European structural funds or by some other stream, you cannot access both of them.


[40]           Mr Jones: It would be double funding.


[41]           Julie James: Yes, it is because they say it is double funding, but, actually, they are intended to work together. So, I think that you have an unintended consequence. I understand the issue about double funding, but I think that it is an unintended consequence. It needs somebody at a slightly higher level to look at it.


[42]           Mr Jones: Okay.


[43]           Nick Ramsay: There are a number of other questions. First is Mick Antoniw, then Alun Ffred.


[44]           Mick Antoniw: You may not be able to give me a lot more on this, in which case you can discuss it again, but you mentioned two elements, and I am not quite clear as to what one of them means. I tried reading it, and it probably needs a bit of expansion. This is the EU framework for sustainable urban mobility plans et cetera. I did not understand precisely what that is about. The other one that is probably of particular interest is the review of the community guidelines on the financing of airports and start-up aid to airlines departing from regional airports. I was not quite sure whether that meant giving support to changes within airlines or how that related to support for regional airlines.


[45]           Mr Jones: On the first one, these actions under section 7 are what the Commission is planning to come forward with for the rest of this year. That information is what was in the European Commission’s work programme, so I will need to come back to you on that one with something a bit more specific. I will talk to the relevant officers.


[46]           On the review of the community guidelines, these were introduced, I think, in 2006-07, roughly, to try to clarify the support that could be provided to regional airports. The background to this was a well-known case involving Charleroi airport and Ryanair. It is to try to give some legal certainty as to what you can and cannot support: engaging with individual airlines, promoting routes and developing the airports themselves. The Commission, as it does with these guidelines, is reviewing them—they are up for review—and there is pressure from regional authorities for them to become more relaxed and more focused on support. It is the same sort of link issue that Julie mentioned earlier, namely how you can get EU policies to work in a complementary way. You may have a policy that is about developing economic performance by minimising differences at a regional level, and state aid rules prevent you from developing an airport that would enable activity to come in. So, there is pressure from the regional side, but the counter side of it is that there has been strong pressure as part of the single market to liberalise air passage and so on, and the Commission does not want to go down the route of a policy that goes against liberalised markets for air travel. So, there is a tension there, and as with all of these things, it is about which tension comes through.


[47]           When we have met representatives from the Directorate-General for Competition over the last year, we have found them reluctant to open it up. I think that they see it very much as a tweak, rather than as a wholesale change. So, I would be surprised if there were measures in there that increased flexibility. We will see, but it is certainly one to watch in the context of development in Wales.


[48]           Nick Ramsay: We have five minutes or so left, and Alun Ffred Jones is next.


[49]           Alun Ffred Jones: Mae gennyf ddau gwestiwn ac un sylw. O ran caffael cyhoeddus, mae’r argymhellion fel ag y maent yn dderbyniol iawn, ond pryd rydych yn disgwyl y bydd y Comisiwn yn dod i benderfyniad terfynol ar hyn fel y bydd yn dod yn ddeddfwriaeth?


Alun Ffred Jones: I have two questions and one comment. On the issue of public procurement, the recommendations as they stand are very acceptable, but when do you expect the Commission to reach a final decision on this so that it will become law?

[50]           Mr Jones: The negotiations are ongoing in this trialogue—between the European Parliament, the European Commission and the Council. They have it pencilled in to take a first reading in September—they want a first reading agreement, which basically means that, once they have sorted out trialogues, they will formalise it by the European Parliament signing it off, and then the Council of Ministers formally adopting it.


[51]           There are some sticking points in the negotiations. They are very technical negotiations on this dossier, as you can imagine, but the feedback seems to be that the time frame is workable. One of the areas that has changed is the 18-month transposition phase proposed by the European Commission—I think that both the Council and the Parliament want that to be 24 months, so that would be slightly longer. However, there is a discussion in the UK as to whether the UK would want to transpose more quickly than that. 


[52]           Alun Ffred Jones: Hoffwn wneud sylw ynglŷn â Phwyllgor y Rhanbarthau a llongyfarch Gregg a Rhodri Glyn ar baratoi dau bapur i Bwyllgor y Rhanbarthau. Y cwestiwn amlwg yw:  a fydd rhywbeth yn digwydd i’r cyflwyniadau hyn ar ôl eu gwneud?  A oes proses lle bydd y cyflwyniadau hyn yn cael eu bwydo i mewn i waith yr Undeb Ewropeaidd?


Alun Ffred Jones: I would like to make a comment regarding the Committee of the Regions and congratulate Gregg and Rhodri Glyn for preparing two papers for the Committee of the Regions. The obvious question is: will anything happen to these presentations when they have been made? Is there a process by which these presentations will be fed in to the work of the European Union?


[53]           Mr Jones: There were two reports. The first was on synergies—how to get the EU budget to work much more effectively with the national, state and sub-state budgetary processes. That is all wrapped up in the wider debate about strengthening central governance in the EU, and how you do that in a way that is democratic and transparent, and how you deal with technical issues around budgetary processing, but respect the authority of the different budgetary players. So, I would say that that is an ongoing debate, and Rhodri’s report has contributed significantly to that. I know that he has some plans for follow-up work on that in Wales and at the EU level as well.


[54]           The second was on public-private partnerships and, in particular, the role of the European Investment Bank. It came up in the Plenary discussion this week on Dr Guilford’s report. EIB funding has taken on a much higher scale of significance within the EU. It is seen as being one of the key tools in responding to the crisis. It has filled a gap in the availability of finance. The EIB is the world’s largest public investment bank—that is one of the things that we found out while we were doing the report. Once again, Rhodri is trying to put momentum behind continuing that work. So, although his official part has ended—once the reports are adopted, they are adopted—he has follow-up roles. He is invited as a speaker. He had a conference this week in Brussels, which was co-organised by the Irish presidency, the European Commission and the European Investment Bank. He chaired a session there. He has another one in Dublin on 19 June, and there will be other invitations. That is an Irish presidency event, looking at structural funds and how you use EIB funding to support investments, which is a particular issue for the Irish. They are looking at how they can use EIB funding in the future. There are also follow-up discussions in Wales. Both of these reports—which is why we were so pleased that he got them—are right at the heart of discussions in Europe, so they are very relevant, which is not always the case with reports that come out of the Committee of the Regions. There is strong political backing behind them and there is a strong relevance to Wales.


[55]           Nick Ramsay: We have just a few minutes left, so can Members be succinct with their questions?


[56]           Keith Davies: Mae fy nghwestiwn yn ymwneud ag adran 7, a chredaf y bydd eich ateb yn debyg iawn i’r ateb i Mick yn gynharach. Hoffwn ofyn am bolisi porthladdoedd yr Undeb Ewropeaidd. Rwyf wedi darllen yn yr wythnos diwethaf bod yr elw yn y porthladd yn Aberdaugleddau wedi haneru yn y flwyddyn ddiwethaf. Beth fydd yn dod allan o hwn?


Keith Davies: My question is about section 7, and I believe that your response will be very similar to the response to Mick earlier. I would like to ask about the European Union’s ports policy. I have read in the last week that the profits of the port of Milford Haven have halved over the past year. What will emerge from this?

[57]           Mr Jones: May I come back to you on that question? I do not know much about ports policy, so anything that I say will not be very authoritative, but I can find the right people to talk to. Is that okay?


[58]           Nick Ramsay: We do not expect you to be the great oracle on every single issue. [Laughter.] Julie James has a quick supplementary question.


[59]           Julie James: I would just like to raise a small point. Once again, this is something to keep an eye on, I think, and deals with the interrelationship of some investment bank issues, state aid issues and public procurement renewal. Will the so-called Teckal exemption, which is the exemption for current public services, survive the process? You read about some tensions between DG Competition and other drivers inside the various three bits. Obviously, it is very important to us in Wales that that survives. So, I would just like an eye kept on that, really.


[60]           Nick Ramsay: Okay.


9.30 a.m.


[61]           Yr Arglwydd Elis-Thomas: Pa effaith gafodd trafodaethau Llywodraeth y Deyrnas Unedig ynglŷn â chymwyseddau aelod wladwriaethau a chymwyseddau yr Undeb Ewropeaidd ar y gweithgarwch a’r berthynas rhwng y rhanbarthau, y Llywodraethau datganoledig a’r Cynulliadau yn y Deyrnas Unedig a gweddill yr Undeb Ewropeaidd?


Lord Elis-Thomas: What impact has the UK Government’s discussions on the competencies of member states and the competencies of the European Union had on the activities and the relationship between the regions, the devolved Governments and Assemblies within the UK and the rest of the European Union?


[62]           Mr Jones: That is a very good question and it is a very pertinent question. I cannot go into the politics of it, because that is not my role, but I think that it is fair to say that there is an impact. Officials say that behind the scenes. That is where we are; that is the context in which we work. From the Welsh perspective, we are trying to ensure that there is strong and engaged participation from Wales. That includes the Assembly’s office in Brussels and other representations there. That has been shown in the work that the Assembly has done over the last two years in the fourth Assembly. It has been done through the work of the committees and through visits by Members. That is recognised—the way in which Wales positively and robustly engages in European discussions.


[63]           Eluned Parrott: Turning to the forward work plan, the framework for sustainable urban mobility plans could synergise very well with things like the Active Travel (Wales) Bill and the south Wales metro. Is it a funding framework, and are there other ways in which we can seek to benefit from it?


[64]           Mr Jones: I do not think that it is just a funding framework. I think that it is about trying to get clarity about how different approaches are taken. It talks about consistency so that, if actions are taking place in certain parts of Europe, they can make sense of those with actions taking place elsewhere in Europe, if that makes sense—which it does not, really; I am sorry. May I come back to you on this? I will have some more sensible things to say in a note to you afterwards.


[65]           Nick Ramsay: Thank you, Gregg; that has been really helpful, as always. I do not think that Members have any further questions. Thank you for the presentation and for answering the questions.


9.32 a.m.


Cynnig o dan Reol Sefydlog Rhif 17.42 i Benderfynu Gwahardd y Cyhoedd o Weddill y Cyfarfod ac o Gyfarfod 2 Mai
Motion under Standing Order No. 17.42 to Resolve to Exclude the Public from the Remainder of the Meeting and for the Meeting on 2 May


[66]           Nick Ramsay: Can a Member move a motion under Standing Order No. 17.42?


[67]           Joyce Watson: I move that


the committee resolves to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting in accordance with Standing Order No. 17.42(vi).


[68]           Nick Ramsay: I see that the committee is in agreement.


Derbyniwyd y cynnig.
Motion agreed.


Daeth rhan gyhoeddus y cyfarfod i ben am 9.32 a.m.
The public part of the meeting ended at 9.32 a.m.