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The case for rejoining Europe’s economic frameworks is a no-brainer.

19 Sep 2023 3 minute read
Leader of the Labour Party Keir Starmer speaking at the Labour Regional Conference in Barnsley.

Hywel Williams MP

The Tories sold the lie that we could have all the advantages of being in the EU while also being outside  all of its economic frameworks. That was a lie, and it still is a lie.

How tedious then, in the middle of economic hardship made worse by this Brexit disruption, to see the Labour leader Keir Starmer peddling the same lie. He claims that he can ‘make Brexit work’ while remaining committed to the cause of the disruption: being outside the single market and customs union.

Keir Starmer is in Paris today meeting Emmanuel Macron, to seem statesmanlike on the world stage. If he’s hoping for the French President to provide the UK a miraculous solution to solve the Brexit contradiction while remaining committed to the fundamentals – he will be disappointed.

Brexit, as we all know, is now a reality, with Wales officially out of the European Union. This transition has brought its fair share of difficulties for Welsh businesses, particularly those exporting to the EU.

Plaid Cymru’s long-term solution is no secret – for Wales to rejoin the EU as an independent member state. We remain as committed as ever to that aim – but it will be up to the people of Wales to decide whether they want to pursue that aim.

For the UK as a whole, in the meantime, the case for rejoining Europe’s economic frameworks is a no-brainer. Despite all the political lies told over the past few years, geography and economic reality remain the same. The European Economic Area remains the largest economy in the world. It is the world’s largest trading bloc. And it is on our doorstep. There is no avoiding that simple reality.


Two recent developments can give us hope that we’re moving in the right direction. Firstly, there’s the Horizon programme, which funds scientific research across Europe. Initially, the UK decided to leave this initiative, asserting that it would establish a superior scheme.

However, reality struck, and we are now back in Horizon. Unfortunately, as a non-EU member, we must pay to rejoin and have no say in shaping the rules—a prerogative reserved for EU member states.

Secondly, there have been issues concerning exports from the UK to Ireland. After extensive negotiations, we’ve secured an agreement for “green lanes” that facilitate the movement of goods from Britain to Northern Ireland without checks. While the specifics are complex, this development is a positive step.

What about Welsh exports transiting through Dublin to Northern Ireland, you might wonder? The UK Government revealed to me after extensive parliamentary inquiries that green lanes will also be established for Welsh exporters. This means goods can travel through Holyhead, the EU (Republic of Ireland), and then back into the UK (Northern Ireland). It’s admittedly intricate, but this is excellent news for Welsh businesses, providing hope that we can recover some of what we lost when we initially left the EU.

There is, therefore, hope that common sense is beginning to prevail. But the Labour leader is at risk of being left behind public opinion if he doesn’t recognise that even if he wins power, he will have no power over the geography and economic reality of our continent.

Plaid Cymru will unashamedly continue leading the way in making the common-sense economic case for rejoining Europe’s economic frameworks, even if the Westminster parties are stuck in the delusions of the Brexit years.

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John Davis
John Davis
2 days ago

We are junior members of Horizon. Despite the Tories trying to big it up the reality is that we are out of Euratom, which means no collaboration on nuclear fusion, and without Freedom of Movement mobilising research teams in Europe will be very difficult. Where before we led, now we are just rule takers. Wales voted to leave the EU despite being warned about economic and trading realities. People thought they knew better. Watching the ongoing damage being done to their prospects and living standard must be quite instructional. 59 percent of the UK population now poll, and have done… Read more »

Steve A Duggan
Steve A Duggan
1 day ago

Labour fears losing ‘red wall voters’ and is prepared to continue to see the economy of the UK take a hit as a consequence. We can do better, we shouldn’t let the delusions of Westminster’s colonial head destroy our economy. The only way out is though independence, there is no choice.

Bachgen o Lerpwl
1 day ago
Reply to  Steve A Duggan

Labour is the party of red wall voters. Hence the name and the colour. In some places it has been hijacked.

1 day ago

Well it was certainly the no-brainers who dragged us OUT of the EU

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 day ago
Reply to  Silenced!

Who said sheep can’t think for themselves, naughty sheep make bad choices…

Alun Gerrard
Alun Gerrard
1 minute ago

Wales voted for Brexit. Many politicians would have an explanation for this of course. The majority of politicians would like is all to be in. Why ? I trust European people but not their politicians.

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