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The EU has done its bit for Wales – it’s Westminster that has ignored us

09 May 2019 4 minute read
Westminster (left) and Brussels (right). Picture on the right by Xavier Hape (CC BY 2.0).

Jill Evans, Plaid Cymru MEP

Today is Europe Day – a day to acknowledge and celebrate the peace and prosperity that has been brought to Europe by the European Union.

That Wales has benefitted enormously from that peace and prosperity cannot be overstated. That’s why maintaining our membership of the EU is absolutely essential for Wales.

The truth of the matter is that the EU has done its bit for Wales, with massive investment in our communities. It’s Westminster that failed us, ignored us, and forgotten about us.

Indeed, research by the Wales Governance Centre has shown that Wales makes a net benefit of its EU membership to the tune of almost £250 million a year.

That funding is crucial for our communities, our colleges and universities, our industries, our agriculture sector, our small employers, and our families.

That too is why maintaining our membership of the EU is absolutely essential for Wales, and Plaid Cymru’s goal is to make that happen.

We are the only party standing in this election with any chance of winning that unequivocally supports a People’s Vote and is unambiguously in favour of remaining in the EU.

Today, we are setting out our five key pledges to voters in this election. These are our pledges to make Wales matter.

Firstly, we’re pledging to stand united in our fight for a Final Say referendum and for Wales to remain a member of the EU.

Indeed, we will make the case for Wales to have its own voice in Europe because we believe our nation’s brightest possible future is as an independent nation at the heart of Europe.

Secondly, we’re pledging a Green New Deal for Wales. Climate change is the most pressing, most defining issue of our time, and the imperative we have is to act now.

We will combat climate change by becoming 100% self-sufficient in renewable energy by 2035, and the Plaid Cymru government elected in 2021 will roll out a £3 billion home energy efficiency programme.

Thirdly, we’re pledging a Transformative Economic Plan for Wales in order to build our economy, support industry, and tackle poverty wages.

Our team in Europe will lead the call for a five-year, £5 billion Transformation Fund to spread prosperity, investment and opportunity to every community in Wales.

Fourthly, we’re pledging to empower young people by ensuring continued access to the Erasmus+ education exchange programme and full implementation of the Youth Guarantee Scheme.

Our young people are our future, and perhaps the saddest thing about any potential Brexit is that we know it isn’t the will of the current generation of young people and students.

Fifthly, we’re pledging a Welsh Migration System in order to introduce a system that works for the needs of Wales.

Migrants make a huge contribution to Wales, our communities, and our economy, and it’s important that we have a system that works for us, not for Westminster.

Our conclusion is that there is no such thing as a Brexit that is good for Wales. In other words, there is no deal which is better for our communities than Remain.

That is why we are proud to stand on a pro-Remain platform, and why our pledges are aimed at maintaining our membership of the EU.

Europe Day is a day of reflection and celebration of the peace and prosperity that the EU has brought and continues to bring to Europe.

It is also a day on which we can look forward and say that we want Wales to continue to benefit from that peace and prosperity long into the future.

By voting Plaid Cymru in this European election, we can achieve that. We can make Wales matter.

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