Carwyn Jones hails 'real benefits' of EU membership

Carwyn Jones AM Carwyn Jones was in Brussels on Monday

Related Stories

Carwyn Jones has hailed the benefits of Wales' membership of the EU during a visit to Brussels.

The first minister was due to discuss funding to Wales when he met European Commission officials on Monday.

The Welsh government said a "vibrant" EU was vital and that it wanted to be an "active and constructive partner".

But the Welsh Conservatives have criticised him, saying he should concentrate on spending the European funding Wales receives.

Mr Jones said businesses were kept afloat and thousands of jobs protected by the more than £350m of subsidies Wales receives every year through the Common Agricultural Policies.

Start Quote

The harsh rhetoric of the critics of the EU often drowns out the benefits of membership”

End Quote Carwyn Jones First Minister

The billions of pounds of EU structural funds paid to Wales made a "huge contribution", particularly during the down turn, he added.

It is his first visit to Brussels since Prime Minister David Cameron vetoed EU treaty changes last year.

At the time Mr Jones said the decision had left Wales on the "sidelines", but he has since said he "probably" would have done the same as Mr Cameron.

He told AMs in the Senedd chamber last month: "The decision was probably right, but the reasons were wrong."

Start Quote

The first minister appears to say one thing about the EU in the Senedd and very different things when he's in Europe.”

End Quote Andrew RT Davies Welsh Conservatives

Speaking ahead of his visit, where he will host a St David's Day reception to promote Welsh goods, Mr Jones said: "I am deeply committed to maintaining and growing Wales' relationship with Europe and that is why I am here to take this message to the heart of the EU.

"The harsh rhetoric of the critics of the EU often drowns out the benefits of membership.

"I have no doubt that communities across Wales see real benefits from our relationship with Europe."

The Tories' assembly opposition leader, Andrew RT Davies, said: "The first minister appears to say one thing about the EU in the Senedd and very different things when he's in Europe.

"Wales has had records levels of European funding in recent years.

"The first minister should be concentrating his time on using this funding effectively, creating a dynamic trading relationship with our EU partners and developing a growth strategy rather than going to Brussels full of empty words and tired rhetoric about Europe."

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Wales politics stories

RSS

Features

  • Krak des ChevaliersSitting targets

    How ancient treasures in Syria are being bombed to pieces


  • Mesut Ozil's tattoo reads "Only God can judge me"Ink explained

    Nine World Cup players' tattoos decoded, and one who refuses


  • Putting a coin in supermarket trolleyMinor annoyance

    Why are Morrisons getting rid of coin-locks on trolleys?


  • Sekhemka statueSelling out?

    The councils tempted to cash in on their art collections


  • Google sweetsName game

    Would Google have made it as BackRub?


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.