Commissioner calls for honesty over millions invested by European Union

EU Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn
EU Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn
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A TOP EUROPEAN Union offical has criticised politicians who are happy to see European money spent in their regions but fail to talk about the benefits of EU membership.

Johannes Hahn suggested economic investment funds set up with the help of significant sums of EU money they should be forced to have ‘Europe’ or ‘Euro’ in the title.

Hundreds of millions of pounds have been invested in Yorkshire via the EU but three out of the six MEPs elected by the region in May were from the UK Independence Party which wants Britain to leave.

Asked about the apparent contradiction, Mr Hahn told The Yorkshire Post: “This not only a subject particular to the UK. Many politicians don’t speak about the benefits of Europe.”

He said he had seen examples elsewhere in Europe where investment funds were being created using EU money that looked like they had been financed locally.

“I have some examples where regional politicians have pushed for such a fund, have promoted such a fund giving the impression it is a particular measure of the region and on the other hand this fund was financed 50 per cent by the European Union and the same politician was, like Ukip, very fiercely against the European Union.

“In the future we will not be ready to accept such a kind of development.”

Regulations are in place that mean buildings or roads financed by the EU must carry signs making that clear.

But the next spending round, where Yorkshire is expected more than £600 million, will focus less on infrastructure and more on investing to help business grow and create jobs.

“Apparently we have to sell what we have done,” he said.