Following the result of the EU referendum, the third sector
European team (3-SET) hosted a webinar 'Implications for the
Voluntary Sector in Wales'. It was an interactive session which
summarised some of the key outcomes to date and focused on the
recent changes in both UK and Welsh politics, the social
implications and funding landscape. During the webinar, there was a
Q&A session for which viewers were invited to submit their
questions and concerns. The questions asked have formed the base of
an ever evolving FAQ section which can be seen below. The webinar
was the first step in what will be an ongoing dialogue with the
sector as we move through the coming months and years. To view the
webinar and listen to the topics and questions discussed, please
click the link below.
For any further questions you may have surrounding the EU
referendum, you are welcome to email the 3-SET team, firstname.lastname@example.org or call WCVA
helpdesk on 0800 2888 329
Are there still opportunities for third sector organisations to
get involved with European Funding?
Yes, there are still opportunities and the UK Treasury has
underwritten the Programmes through to 2020. It's important that we
spend the money that's still available to us because that's going
to strengthen our argument for any future funding that may or may
not come to Wales post Brexit. WCVA is continuing to deliver the
Active Inclusion Fund which is a great way for smaller third sector
organisations to access European funding.
All EU laws will be subsumed into UK laws. Is this correct at this
Yes, at this stage. The Great Repeal Bill will repeal the
European Communities Act 1972 on the day we leave the EU and will
convert EU law as it applies in the UK into domestic law. However,
corrections will need to be made where there is reference to EU
institutions. To solve this problem, the Bill contains delegated
powers which will allow ministers to change these laws without
going through Parliament.
As a sector we need to make sure we are aware of any proposed
changes. For example, some environmental groups are concerned about
the potential loss of gains acquired through our EU membership.
Please keep us informed of any proposed changes which affect your
area of specialism as they emerge. There may be some real
opportunity for lobbying in the future.
Will Active Inclusion continue to 2020?
WCVA is currently in discussions with WEFO, they are all
favourable. We are looking to seek to extend Active Inclusion
through to March 2020.
The 2020 period is end of funded schemes but will N+2 mean
potential spend to 2022?
It will depend on the terms of our exit from the EU. We
anticipate that the next 18 months - 2 years will be spent
negotiating the terms of exit and then there will be a transition
period, probably of between 5 and 7 years (because Europe tends to
work in 7-year periods). Structural Funds will most probably be
caught up in this period of transition and this will probably allow
continued spending through to 2022.
Presumably any changes to laws will be subject to normal
The Great Repeal Billcontains delegated powers which will allow
ministers to make legislative changes without going through
Parliament. Opposition parties are quite concerned that it
allows UK Government to make changes without a full consultation.
It is something the sector needs to watch.
Is there anything you would recommend organisations do to help
prepare for Brexit?
Organisations need to have an awareness of some of the areas
Brexit will impact upon, for example environmental issues and
equalities. Board members and staff should keep abreast of any
changes, or proposed changes and WCVA can help facilitate this
information exchange. Therefore, please get in touch if there is
something that you think we may be able to help with.
If you are involved with European funding get on, deliver and
spend the money to strengthen the case. One of the things that will
certainly happen in the next 6 months is a consultation by Welsh
Government on what happens post Brexit in relation to regional
funds. WCVA is calling for Welsh Government to have an open
dialogue to establish what people want because one of the things
that the referendum has shown is the disconnect between
communities, governments and politicians so let's have that
Do you think it would be good if organisations that have a risk
register put Brexit on it as a standing item?
Yes, especially if your organisation is currently in receipt of
Brexit should also be kept as a regular item on all Board and
How will the Welsh Government be able to feed into the process of
deciding which UK laws are kept once EU law has been transposed
into British legislation?
The assumption is that any major changes in law will have to go
through the normal processes - the House of Commons etc. Therefore,
Welsh Government will be able to feed in through MPs and the
Secretary of State for Wales.
We have been experiencing lengthy delay in getting approval for
RCDF funding (under the RDP), do you know if this has been affected
by Brexit, or are the delays due to something else?
The delays are most probably due to something else. They may be
due to the Commission's reluctance to discuss changes within the
programme, or it may simply be because they are working their way
more slowly through the programme. RDP was launched slightly behind
the Structural Funds and therefore may still be catching up.
Finance is crucial but we need to be aware of the risk of reverse
migration and the impact of a smaller labour force in Wales
particularly in Care and Health Sector. Is anyone looking
specifically at this issue?
Not that we're currently aware of. One of the biggest negatives
around Brexit and migration was the lack of proper debate around
Interestingly Theresa May is already talking about a
transitional period of movement of labour. The language is
beginning to shift from hard edge 'cutting the ties in 2 years'
time' to a much more consolatory transitional period. Probably one
of the first things the Commission and UK Government want to
resolve is the status of EU nationals living in the UK and British
citizens living in other countries. The sector needs to keep up to
date with developments in this area and lobby UK Government if
Has the fall in the value of the pound led to additional funding
for EU funding in Wales?
Yes. All the European programmes are in euros and then they get
converted to pounds. Therefore, a fall in the pound means that the
exchange rate is better so we actually have more euros to
What is likely to happen to the Interreg programmes?
There is already talk that the UK Government will invest in some
of the wider transnational programmes. Interreg may be something
they want to invest in, particularly the Ireland Wales programme to
soften some of the activity that may occur in relation to the
Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland border.
The universities are lobbying for continued access to Horizon
2020 and, from what we understand, European institutions do not
want to lose UK universities from this programme.
Do you think that Brexit will bring opportunities for the
It is difficult to say but there are always opportunities, for
example VAT for charities. At the moment VAT law is extremely
confusing and therefore there may be opportunities to simplify
A discussion about regional policy is important. The sector
needs to make the case for continued access to funding.
How can the third sector feed into the post Brexit era regarding
funding that will be retained in the UK? How can we ensure that
funding that may have a 'community' tag coming from Westminster
then being devolved into general WG funding and never hit the
There is still a debate to be had about what happens about
repatriated funds and what they will be. Welsh Government are
pushing for them to control it. There are two camps; one is that it
comes back to Wales and Welsh Government will control it or the
second camp is that it stays as a UK regional programme and moneys
are allocated at regional level. It might depend on how the
relationship between the devolved states and the UK Government
emerges. It could be that we end up with a federal state
whereby in order to avoid Scotland leaving the Union, we have a
federal state - similar to what Europe has but instead of 27
members we have 4 - and that way Westminster could control
the programme. This is part of the discussion we need to have about
the way we need to lobby and work hard to do that. What we are not
sure about is what these proposals are and we need to be
influencing those proposals.
What do you think projects can do to make sure we can demonstrate
the need for future funding?
Deliver, spend the money wisely and demonstrate the value of
third sector input. We must publicise the positive impact European
funding has made on individuals lives. Organisations should get
involved in local conversations and discussions to establish what
[they] are proposing. We need to lobby hard to make sure that we
don't lose out.
What is likely to happen to our access to the LIFE programme?
This is going to be tied up in the discussions about whether or
not the UK, post Brexit, puts money into these sorts of programmes.
There is certainly an understanding that people in UK Government
want to keep access to some of these programmes and there seems to
be a willingness to actually invest in them. It may happen as part
of the trade-off UK Government does in order to get trade
agreements and the things that they want.
Any idea whether the Brexit process will affect cases at the
European Court of Justice, particularly over the next two years?
E.g. are they likely to fast-track a live case to get resolution
The UK government has said the ECJ will no longer have
jurisdiction over the UK after Brexit. However, its historical
rulings will carry the same weight as those of the British Supreme
Court, meaning they will remain part of British law until there is
an appetite to change them.
Any post Brexit funding coming back into Wales should be
distributed across the whole of the country and not have the
East/West divide -- there has been too much segregation and lack of
shared knowledge on many programmes.
The East/West divide was artificially designed in order to allow
Wales to qualify for Objective 1 in 2000. The Commission sees the
East/West divide as 2 economically cohesive districts, although
this is not the case. Moving forward, new regional policy should be
an all Wales policy. Welsh Government is already talking about
developing an all Wales employability strategy and therefore the
East/West divide will most probably be abandoned once we leave the
EU State Aid vs. WTO: what's the best for the 3rd sector?
Probably the WTO conditions will put the UK in a totally
different area for a few years which may be detrimental to the
If we want trade deals, we will most probably have to accept
state aid in some form.
Re. large public sector contracts and procurement what do you
think will happen to OJEU once UK leaves EU?
This will most probably depend on the trade agreement we strike
with the EU. If we want continued trade at the level that we
currently have, no restrictions on exports and imports, then we
will have to have some sort of compliance with State aid, OJEU
Will links with EU voluntary sector networks continue?
Yes, if we wish to. It's not in the interest of institutions
outside of the Commission i.e. third sector organisations or
universities or colleges to break links with any UK establishments.
If, as part of negotiations, we agree to fund certain transnational
programmes post Brexit, these links will remain.