It may be recalled that I wrote about an extensive exchange of emails with both London and Brussels on the subject of the EU website and the difficulties of finding information on any one particular subject. In particular I was interested in how much of the remaining cost was being provided by the UK and from which source(s).
It would appear my cynical presumption that there was bound to be some form of input of public money by way of a government grant was unfounded – as the following response from Shaun Pottage of the Port of Dover shows:
Thank you for your email and your interest in the project. I am sure you will agree that getting some European funding to support one of the UK’s key gateways is worthwhile and necessary when considering the significant growth in freight traffic we are currently seeing through the Port (20% over the last two years) and the value of trade that the 2.4 million freight vehicles per annum represents to the economy, currently some £100 billion.
As a commercially run organisation, the Port is and has been investing its own funds into the activities being financially supported by the European Union. We receive no state subsidy or any form of public funding. You will have seen from publicity surrounding the funding announcement what we, together with the Port of Calais, have been granted to support our delivery of some key infrastructure projects.
If you would like to visit the Port and see the work that we are undertaking through our own funds with EU support then we would be happy to show you around.
Needless to say I have expressed my thanks for the invitation, whilst declining due to the distance of travel involved.
All the time and effort involved in extracting this information, both in this country and Brussels, could have been saved had the EU website been easier to navigate – but still, let us be thankful for small mercies in that finally the EU appears to have recognised the error of their ways and intend to do something about it.