LIVERPOOL Mayor Joe Anderson will travel to Brussels to demand a better deal from the European Union.
The mayor will meet top EU officials on Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss the possibility of creating a dedicated Liverpool pot of money from European funding streams.
The question of whether the council has to pay back £8.6m of European grant money used to build the Liverpool Cruise Terminal will also be on the agenda.
It has already agreed to return £8.8m of a £9.2m government grant after the handout from the department of transport was deemed to breach rules on State Aid.
The move was necessary once Liverpool decided to allow cruises to start and finish at the Pier Head.
Mayor Anderson said: “I am meeting the European Commission with MEP Arlene McCarthy to talk about the state aid issue. We are confident in our legal advice [that the money does not need to be paid back].
“We will also be talking about the next tranche of European funding.” Merseyside is set to benefit from the next wave of European funding between 2014 and 2020.
It could reach as much as £480m over the next seven years.
The mayor wants to set up a “single investment pot” made up of European, central government and council funding to help boost the city’s economy.
It would be administered by the new Mayoral Development Corporation.
He said he did not want to put a figure on how much money he was asking for, instead saying he would pushing for “as much as possible”.
Mayor Anderson added: “We will be making our case to have greater devolution over decision-making in the way European money is spent.”
The issue of funding for the cruise terminal was opened up by cruise rivals in Southampton and the North East, who have demanded Liverpool pays back its grants.
State Aid rules mean grants cannot be used to help one business benefit over its rivals – and Liverpool’s facility is operated by Peel, a private company.