What will happen to the European funding that Wales currently
The Welsh Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government has
stated that Wales is a net beneficiary from the European Union and
it is essential that every penny of EU funds to Wales must be
replaced, his statement can be found
here. However, negotiations surrounding any successor domestic
funding arrangements are currently taking place with
Westminster. Once Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty is triggered to
formally leave the EU, the UK will enter a two-year negotiation
period with the EU to decide the terms of the UK's exit. It is
within this period that a post-EU economic plan will be drafted and
we will know for certain what will happen to European
In the meantime, the Welsh European
Funding Office (WEFO) has confirmed that the current funding
arrangements remain in place until the process of withdrawal from
the EU is completed; so for example if the UK government triggers
Article 50 in October 2016 then our membership of and funding from
the European Union would finish in October 2018. Welsh
organisations are advised to maximise this window of opportunity
while we remain eligible for all EU funds as part of a member
Wales could still be able to participate in future EU Funding
programmes despite the fact that the UK will no longer have status
as an EU Member State. Many EU funding streams are available to
non-EU member countries, including key programmes such as Horizon
2020 and Erasmus+. However, this does depend on the terms agreed
for the UK's exit from the EU during the two-year negotiation
What does Brexit mean for the third sector in Wales?
The decision of the UK to leave the European Union has thrown
into light many difficulties and uncertainties faced by the third
sector, including a potential significantloss in funding
opportunities. Also, the divisive nature of the referendum
has resulted in a higher incidence of hate crime and xenophobia.
This undoubtedly puts a strain on the third sector, whose work, at
its core is to promote cohesion, empower people and connect
As a champion for third sector organisations, WCVA will seek to
influence the government to secure the best possible outcome for
the sector post-exit and is already beginning to lobby both the
Welsh and UK governments to hold firm on ther pledge that Wales
will not become a financial loser in the exit process.
Our recommendations for UK Government are to:
- Provide reassurance that current investment levels received
from the EU to Wales are not under threat and that the same level
of resources will continue into the future and be ring fenced for
regional economic and social regeneration;
- Understand that the third sector is central to the work that
now needs to take place to strengthen cohesion in our
- Recognise the value of innovation that the third sector is
leading on to increase prosperity for all;
- Commit to an authentic partnership approach that builds upon
the Welsh experience of delivering EU Structural Funds to genuinely
engage communities; and
- Engage with the third sector in shaping the future both in the
negotiations with EU and through the Welsh Assembly.
Equally WCVA is stressing that it is now more important than
ever to work together in order to heal some of the divisions that
emerged during the referendum and its result. During this time of
change, it is essential that we restate and vigorously reaffirm our
roles and missions.
What does Brexit mean to organisations who are in receipt of
European Structural and Investment (ESIF) funding?
It is important that organisations in receipt of ESIF continue
project delivery and management as 'business as usual'. All terms
and conditions for these projects still apply and will continue
until the project is over. For example, it will still be required
that organisations keep all documents about the project for the
agreed length of time. We urge organisations to remain vigilant in
managing their projects, and monitoring and evaluating outcomes and
impacts, as this will contribute towards demonstrating the need for
continued funding from alternative sources.
If you have a question relating specifically to document
retention periods or any other aspect of managing a ESIF projects,
please contact the Third Sector
European Team (3-Set)
are continuing to consider, assess and approve applications for EU
funds and it is important that the sector continues to engage to
make the best use of the opportunities we have.
Will we still need to adhere to European laws once we have left
the European Union?
Existing European legislation will apply to the UK until we have
officially left the European Union. Until the official exit, the UK
will be able to take advantage of all European policies such as the
Freedom of Movement of trade and people. During the two-year
negotiation period, it is likely that the UK government will revise
its transposed European laws and legislations. However, these
revisions will most likely be compliant and in some circumstances
equal to European standards in order to possibly access the Single
Market in the future.
There is no definitive answer to what will happen to EU derived
laws once Britain ceases to be a Member State.
The Electoral Reform Society (ERS) launched an online toolkit
Referendum' to highlight some of the key issues surrounding the
EU referendum. The areas of discussion in this toolkit cut across
some of the key areas of interest for the third sector in Wales.
Although the tool kit was designed to promote discussion in the run
up to the referendum it is a valid source of information which
shows how EU laws and policies are integrated within the UK.
The specific areas covered by the toolkit are
Regions and Nations,
Crime and Security,
Economic Impact and
Migration and Work.
What is the position for EU nationals in the UK and UK citizens
in the EU?
The position following a formal exit from the EU (ie after
Article 50 has been triggered) will depend on the final trade
position negotiated, which is currently unknown. Current rights to
remain in the UK are granted under EU law. Under possible future UK
law citizens from European countries may be treated differently. UK
nationals will be able to continue to work freely in the EU until a
formal exit date. The positon of those already living in the EU and
those who wish to move post a formal exit is still unclear and will
be decided by each country or EU wide depending on the final trade
Will projects that have already been awarded funding continue
to receive it until the end of the agreed date even if Article 50
Yes, although WEFO is currently reviewing project offer letters
and will be issuing new ones shortly.
The message from WEFO is very much business as usual. They still
want to spend the money and for projects to perform. This will
strengthen the case with UK government to maintain the current
levels of funding. Extra vigilance is required as WEFO anticipate
that the Commission will be looking more closely at projects within
Once we invoke Article 50 will projects still be approved?
We don't know, but it's certainly possible. There is still work
ongoing across the operational programmes of the structural funds
and there are projects that can be delivered in the timeframe
required. It is highly possible that projects will run until
We envisage the discussion for replacement structural funding
coming quite low down in the list of priorities during formal exit
discussions and negotiations. There is no certain answer but we
will have some more clarity when formal discussions take place once
Article 50 has been triggered.
Should we be looking to front load activities and spending in
new project bids i.e. 2 year projects?
If you are planning a project and you think it can be delivered
within a shorter time frame whilst also hitting targets, you can
frontload activities and spending. Hitting targets will strengthen
the case for programme extension during the negotiation process. It
will also provide evidence that organisations will need continued
strategic support beyond a formal exit.
It is still important to be realistic when planning any project
activity to ensure that these funds are utilised for those who need
Do you anticipate additional audits from the EU?
Additional audits are a real possibility. As the programmes come
to an end, the Commission will want to do a thorough job in closing
down the books and we could end up with additional audits.
The message we are getting from WEFO at the moment is be
vigilant and be clear with your audit trails. We need to make sure
that all project delivers are being as vigilant as possible and not
cutting any corners when it comes to evidencing their project
If we are running or have previously run a European project,
will retention rules still apply when we leave the European
Yes - retention rules are part of the contractual agreement for
the receipt of any funding. If you have any questions relating
specifically to retention requirements for this or any previous
European funded programme, please contact 3-SET at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Will WCVA continue to actively promote the impacts of EU
Yes - we want to make the case for continued financial support
to the sector following an exit from the EU and showing the real
impact we can make with the money we currently receive is an
excellent way to do this. If you have an idea for a case study or
good news article about EU funded investment in your community,
please contact 3-SET at email@example.com.
Is there a comprehensive list anywhere of all EU funded Welsh
Government programmes? If not, can WCVA request this on behalf of
here for a link to all approved projects and those still under
Has Interreg given any communication on implications for
projects that are set to continue beyond 2 years?
here for the latest statement regarding Interreg
If we are currently working on a transnational project proposal
is it worth us carrying on?
Yes - it is highly likely that the transnational
programmes will continue in some way, shape or form after any exit
from the EU. In the future there may be the possibility for
the UK to continue engaging with these transnational programmes,
the level of engagement will depend on the negotiation