10 November 2010

A leading delegation from Northamptonshire County Council will be visiting Brussels this week in a bid to attract European funding for the county.

Leader of the council Cllr Jim Harker and cabinet member David Mackintosh will visit the European Parliament today and tomorrow and will take part in a series of discussions and meetings aimed at exploring possible funding opportunities for Northamptonshire.

The visit is being entirely funded by the MEPs and cabinet hopes it will herald the start of a more productive relationship with Brussels.

Cllr Harker said: “Everyone knows the huge financial challenges we face as a county. While work continues to fight for a fairer deal from Westminster it is also vital we explore every possible opportunity available to us to attract as much money as we can to make Northamptonshire a great place to live and work.

“Infrastructure is a key requirement to support the growth of our County, and the A14 trans-European network route will be high on our agenda. It is vital for our local economy that this road is improved, and we hope to attract European funding towards this.

“We are very thankful to our MEP colleagues for giving us this opportunity by providing the funding for our visit and I am delighted with the appointments Cllr Mackintosh has managed to secure using his contacts within Brussels.”

Cllr Mackintosh, who has previously worked at the European Parliament, said: “We are hopeful this visit will be a new beginning in our relationship with Brussels and start opening the door to some real investment into the county.

“Ultimately it would be great if we could succeed in securing a visit from a European Commissioner to Northamptonshire. This way we could really sell the county to those with the most influence and show how European investment could really bring about significant improvements here. This is certainly something we will be exploring during our visit.”

During the day the two councillors will be meeting with Lynsey Moore, 1st Secretary for Regional Policy, UK Permanent Representation, Roger Helmer and Emma McClarkin, our MEPs, Mikel Landabaso, Head of Unit, Innovation, Thematic and Policy Co-ordination, DG Regional Policy and Rob Van Eikeren, Co-ordinator of the House of the Dutch Provinces.