The “thin and disappointing deal” agreed by the Prime Minister will make trade with Wales’ most important European markets more expensive and more difficult after 31 December, First Minister Mark Drakeford said today.
Speaking as the Senedd is recalled to debate the “most important treaty” the UK will sign in 50 years; the First Minister said the impact of Brexit would be felt in the pockets of every person.
And he accused the UK Government of “cultural vandalism” by denying young people in Wales access to the Erasmus programme, which he said Wales has done so much to shape and foster.
First Minister, Mark Drakeford said: “Businesses already know that the treaty will make trade with our largest and most important market more expensive and more difficult.
“The failure to include access to the Single Market for UK services, means businesses will have to rely on 27 different sets of national rules to trade across the EU, where they have one today.
“For our citizens, it means queues at airports; visas for longer visits; more expensive mobile phone calls and fewer people from the EU able to work in our health and social care system, looking after people in need of help.
“For our young people, it means the cultural vandalism of cutting them off from the Erasmus plus programme, which people from Wales have done so much to shape and foster. It also denies them a future in which they can freely live and work across the entire European continent.”
The Senedd will today debate the trade deal agreed between the UK and EU and the UK Government’s Future Relationship Bill at the same time as it is debated in the Houses of Parliament.
Counsel General and Minister for European Transition, Jeremy Miles said: “This is not the deal the Welsh Government called for or would have negotiated. But it is better than the catastrophe of a no-deal and gives us a platform on which better arrangements can be negotiated in the future.
“The Welsh Government will continue to work with all partners, businesses, communities and people across Wales to prepare for and help navigate the end of the transition period and the new relationship with the EU.”
Westminster is also being recalled today so that MPs can debate and vote on the bill to enact Downing Street’s trade agreement with the EU.
The vast majority of MPs are expected to participate remotely with their votes being made via proxy, although the chamber has capacity for up to 50 MPs.
UK Labour will order their MPs to vote for the deal in the Commons, although leader Sir Keir Starmer is facing a rebellion over his decision.
He has called the deal “thin” and not what the government promised, but better than no deal.
Other opposition parties, including the SNP, the Lib Dems, Plaid Cymru and all Northern Ireland parties that take seats at Westminster, have indicated they will be voting against the deal.