Wales and Objective 1 status: Learning the lessons or emulating the errors?

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Series Details Vol.12, No.2, March 2004, p249-270
Publication Date March 2004
ISSN 0965-4313
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West Wales and the Valleys is approaching the mid-way point of its European funded Objective 1 programme - the highest form of Structural Fund aid for the Union's economically and socially 'lagging' regions. Objective 1 has afforded Wales the tools to develop an economic regeneration strategy aimed at improving the performance of the western part of the Welsh economy, and combating the country's entrenched pockets of economic and social disadvantage. However, after three years there are some important structural and implementation problems facing those managing Objective 1 in Wales, specifically in terms of the governance of the programme and resource allocation. This paper draws out these key issues by tracing the main fault lines in the design and delivery of the programme, and also offers some critical assessment of the initial economic impact of Objective 1. In short, this paper argues that Wales has shown little evidence of learning the lessons from other Objective 1 regions, but has been rather more adept at emulating the errors found elsewhere.

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