Plaid Cymru's member of the Assembly Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee, Simon Thomas AM, has said that “Wales can do more in Europe” following what he called “bruising” European election results in Wales and across the continent.
The Assembly yesterday debated a report from the committee on “Wales’ role in the EU decision-making process”. The report recommends that the Welsh Government undertakes more of a leadership role of the broader Welsh presence in Brussels, including working more closely with the private sector and non-government organisations.
Simon Thomas AM said:
“The major Welsh political parties have come out of a bruising European election campaign. Plaid Cymru believes that the EU needs to be reformed; we did not stand in the elections on a platform saying that everything was fine with the EU, and it is now time to campaign for change.
“Many European citizens live in devolved nations or regions, and Wales has to be much more active in Europe, not only on our traditional areas of interest like structural funds and agricultural payments but in terms of seeking out business opportunities and trade.
“Our message around maximising the role of non-member state nations, like Wales, is far more radical than the message of those who want to return to the past. The report discussed today shows that the Welsh Government should lead on this agenda proactively.
“Plaid Cymru strongly supports the committee recommendation that an annual debate should be held on the Welsh Government’s EU strategy, and we think the strategy itself should be informed by the people of Wales in a much more direct way, with the Government going out and speaking to the public about what their priorities in Europe should be. Plaid Cymru wants to see a more social Europe with better rights for working people, and for the Welsh Government to try and win transport and research funds for Wales in a systematic and determined way.”