For the first meeting on British soil of the European Committee of the Regions UK Contact Group in Cardiff, François Decoster discussed youth mobility and energy security with Mark Drakeford, the First Minister of Wales.
Renew Europe CoR President and Mayor of Saint-Omer François Decoster called on the contact group to focus on concrete actions, as discussed with the First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford, on issues such as youth mobility and energy security – Wales has a 52% of renewable energy share. For its 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, the programme 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.
With Renew Europe MEP Nathalie Loiseau 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”.
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.