Wales in Europe - via Griffithstown

 

What's your definition of Wales in Europe?

If your answer is Bonnie in Malmö, then I'd probably stop reading now. If it's 'net beneficiary' or 'best out' then you're in the right place. Read on.

The First Minister has used just about every available opportunity this week to repeat his message on Wales in Europe. On Monday, it was his subject of choice at the monthly press briefing. If the UK, and Wales with it, leave the EU, says Mr Jones, it would be an economic disaster. Inward investment would fall, companies would stay away, other would leave, jobs would go. For Mr Jones it is no-brainer territory - Wales benefits hugely from being part of both unions: the UK and the EU.

Anyone who suggests Wales would be better off outside the EU is nuts was the gist of his remarks.

A question about the newly re-opened Fighting Fit Gym in Griffithstown during First Minister's Questions yesterday (from Malmö to Griffithstown in three paragraphs ...) led to more First Ministerial messages on Europe. The gym had profited from EU funding. So had the Colwyn Bay Watersports Centre. In fact without the "largesse showered on that project" by Europe, it wouldn't have happened at all.

In fact £144m floods into the Welsh coffers every year. If we weren't in the EU, we'd lose it and wouldn't get it back from the UK government, said Mr Jones.

Welsh farmers get £350m from Europe every year. That would disappear, "Welsh farming would end".

And he was off, talking to the group of Conservative AMs sitting opposite him, but addressing those Welsh Conservative MPs who will use their vote in parliament later to protest about the absence of a commitment to hold a referendum on EU membership in the Queen's Speech.

"At at time when people are concerned about the economy ... want to ensure a roof over their heads, all we get day after day after day is an obsession about Europe, an incredible narrow- minded nationalism that UKIP has and has infected the Conservative party with. That is not in Wales' interest".

Tory AMs refused to rise to the bait. in this afternoon's opposition debate, questioning the Welsh government's delivery unit, Mr Jones goaded them again. They accused his government of failing to meet any number of its targets. He accused them of having "an unhealthy obsession" with the unit he said. It was nearly as bad as their unhealthy obsession with Europe. There we go again.

It was the same story at Welsh Questions in Westminster. Would jobs be "more or less secure" asked Shadow Welsh Secretary Owen Smith, if Wales was not part of the EU. The Welsh Secretary refused to be drawn.

But when I put the same question to the deputy leader of the Conservative group here in the Assembly, there was no side-stepping, no brushing off. No, said Paul Davies, he did not believe Welsh jobs would be put at risk if Wales were no longer part of the EU. Neither did he believe that Carwyn Jones was right to say inward investment would inevitably fall away. The Welsh Government's "appalling track record on inward investment" he said, hardly pointed to EU membership paving the way to success on that front.

His colleague Darren Millar joined in.

The money we pay into the EU budget in the first place could be better used to directly support Welsh businesses. If there was a referendum on EU membership tomorrow, then for the record, both men would vote to get out.

Both were quick to add that they'd rather the Prime Minister negotiated a better deal that allowed the UK, and Wales therefore, to stay in the EU. But an economic disaster if we leave? No. To claim there'd be huge price to pay in jobs - if we left - was a nonsense.

The latest price on Bonnie to win in Malmö? 50-1.

The latest polling on whether Wales should remain in, or leave the EU? A few months ago 49% of you told us we'd better off if we left; 45% said stay in.

Place your bets on where we go from here.

 
Betsan Powys, Political editor, Wales Article written by Betsan Powys Betsan Powys Former political editor, Wales

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  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 42.

    "What's your definition of Wales in Europe?"

    It's an EU Tier-1 Region of the UK at the moment called UKL - a basket-case economy with little or no chance of improvement under current mis-management.

    Carwyn Jones either doesn't understand how the EU systems work and/or he is spreading FUD assuming most voters know even less than he does about economic realities. Should be ashamed of himself!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 41.

    ... wood, the very existence of the UKIP MEP for Wales drives a coach and horses through your assertion at #38 that "is not supported in the rest of the UK".

    UKIP is not just supported in Wales, but its percentage of the vote is growing :

    1999 3.1% of votes
    2004 10.5% of votes
    2009 12.8% of votes

    ... supported and increasing !
    .

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 40.

    So will we have a UKIP member in its proposal for an English Parliament or will it only be English MPs. and the rest of the UK excluded.
    Wrong Tyler it sounds like an English party to me. Still we must accept democracy whether its in Wales or England because we voted TWICE for devolution in Wales.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 39.

    ... wrong wood, Wales has a UKIP MEP, John Andreas Bufton, therefore UKIP has support "in the rest of the UK", Wales is after all is said and done, part of the UK.

    .

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 38.

    Don't think Farage will rush back to Scotland. Shows UKIP is an English party and is not supported in the rest of the UK

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-22559526

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 37.

    Given the state of the economy in Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Ireland - I wonder if Wales will stil qualify for future EU funding. Might the rules need to be changed?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 36.

    24.Boxer_the_Horse
    So you are an British Nationalist' Boxer.
    I wonder would you be so bold to criticise other minority languages in the UK or are you afraid it may be classed as racist.
    If I vote UKIP will I become an English Nat or a British Nat,

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 35.

    CJ should be careful of using gyms and visitor attractions as justification for being in the EU. It doesn't seem long ago that a visitor centre which had rec'd £2m of funding closed.

    There are around 190 Countries on the planet. Many of which successfully trade with the EU without being members. An honest and open debate on the EU is long overdue. I wonder why so many fear that debate?

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 34.

    It would be a disaster to pull out of the EU and put 40% of our trade in jeopardy.The city of London is in a time slot and has access to Europe .Things could change in an independent Scotland many of those services could move to Edinburgh or Frankfurt.It would then be broken Britain properly as the city of London keeps the rest of the country going. Education for the future is our real priority.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 33.

    15.wooodsey
    UKIP are just pushing the button at present and the button is all about the EU. If there were a move to completely split the UK up then I am afraid to say all three nations would be up a river without....

    Wales has a massive shortfall re budget, so does Scotland and Northern Ireland. The EU would quickly take a step back as our membership would stop with the split. Not even a pot.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 32.

    ... #28, "Tarrif Barriers" are illegal Boxer.

    I stand by my assertion, its just down to profitability, this is the only reason businesses exist (outside the public sector).

    #31, the UK is going nowhere without Europe, our friends in the USA need us in.

    .

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 31.

    It's becoming increasingly clear that 'Europe' has the potential to bring about the end of the multi-national state that is the UK. In the final analysis, the growing difference of opinion between the respective administrations in Scotland, Wales and England on this matter may prove to be in the interest of all.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 30.

    What a marvelous smoke screen for Carwen to hide behind: don't answer any questions just turn to the 'Europe Question'. Nothing else matters it seems. Contemptible politics.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 29.

    What's been the result of decades of EU funding that has poured (or perhaps poored) into Wales? Oh yes..... Wales is so poor it qualifies for even more EU funding

    Way to Go

    Not

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 28.

    #27 "Sony will stay in Wales as long as the plant creates a profit for the company"
    To a point, John. If Wales is outside the UK or EU and there are tariff barriers, and Sony is undercut by a Chinese firm in Bulgaria, it might get interesting. Then if there are visa difficulties, with a 'Welsh Homes for Welsh People' campaign, and unhappy execs with unhappy kids in de-facto-compulsory WM schools

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 27.

    ... the UK is not leaving the EU, this is navel gazing.

    But UKIP will produce a benefit by making our politicians address the fears of the electorate.

    Sony will stay in Wales as long as the plant creates a profit for the company, end of .............

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 26.

    Coming out of the EU would be one thing. Imagining that people like Nigel Farage or Tory eurosceptic MPs could pilot us all to a promised land of prosperity, of jobs, good living standards etc is quite another.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 25.

    The UK doesn't have a regional policy any more. It outsourced it to the EU. Wales as a poor part of the UK benefits from EU structural funds. While the UK is a net contributor to the EU budget, Wales is a net beneficiary. Would a UK outside the EU have similar regional policy? And would Sony stay in Bridgend if the UK left the EU? Why would you want to take the chance - unless you're an idiot?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 24.

    #21 "English Nats or Welsh Nats??"

    Since we were talking about Welsh 'independence' you would have to ask the Welsh Nats. As I understand it, not being a Little Englander but a Unionist, the English Nats neither know nor care where the money to provide for Wales is to come from, providing that it isn't from English voters. "You want S4C: you pay for it" would be their Slogan (Celtic war-cry)

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 23.

    we woulld become known in the World as

    tailcoats Wales

 

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