Working hard for Wales in Europe
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How does Wales benefit from the EU?
There is a strong case for Welsh participation in the EU, as the citizens of Wales each receive £40 more from the EU budget than they pay in, equating to a £120 million surplus. On a wider scale, roughly 150,000 Welsh jobs rely directly upon European funding. They would potentially be at risk if Wales left the EU as companies only invest in Wales (and the UK) to have tariff free access to a market of 500 million people in 28 Member States.
Don't we just get our own money back?
Firstly, Wales is a net recipient to the EU, meaning that it gets back more than it puts in. Furthermore, Wales would never receive the same amount of money from the UK Government as it does from the EU (around £1bn per year). Without the EU Wales would receive far less money for jobs and growth, the common agricultural policy and research and innovation.
Does the EU interfere too much in UK law?
UKIP MEPs often say that 75% of our laws come from Brussels. In reality this figure is more like 8-10%. Laws are not "imposed" by Brussels but agreed by UK Government ministers in the Council and MEPs in the European Parliament. The European Union only has full legislative powers in certain areas - for example the single market, competition policy, agriculture and fisheries and therefore it's actually quite difficult for the EU to "meddle" in UK law.
Why can't we limit our relationship with the EU to trade only?
With 50% of the UK's exports going to the EU it's clear that trade with the bloc is extremely important to the UK economy. If we are to be part of a huge single market there must be some common rules. For example, consumer protection laws (making sure toys for children are safe), travellers' rights to protect you when you're abroad (refunds for cancelled flights), equal rights for people in the workplace such as paid holiday and maternity rights, cross border crime protection, climate change targets and secure energy supplies.
Do EU migrants steal jobs and take benefits from British people?
Around 2.5m EU migrants live in the UK and about 2.2m UK citizens live and work in the EU. EU migrants put far more into the public purse than they take out. Recent figures show that EU immigration contributes about £60 billion to the UK economy. 70% of EU migrants are aged between 20 and 35, have higher labour market participation than British males and are 59% less likely to be claiming welfare benefits. Contrary to what many think migrants can't just turn up in the UK and start claiming benefits immediately. In order to be eligible for social income support, housing benefit and social security benefits (maternity leave, unemployment, invalidity) you need to be in employment in the UK. Likewise, only those citizens who are employed in the UK are fully entitled to treatment on the NHS (exceptions are made for emergency treatment). Citizens from other countries do not have "unrestricted" access to the UK benefit system.
Why haven't the EU accounts been cleared?
In November 2012, the EU accounts were certified as accurate and legal by the Court of Auditors for the 5th year in a row. Over 96% of EU spending was executed without any errors. If the UK’s National Audit Office was required to issue a single Statement of Assurance on the UK Government’s accounts, in the same way as the Court of Auditors does for the EU’s accounts, they would be unable to do so.
The European Commission is committed to further improving the management of EU funds. But, improved management can only deliver if Member States also take the issue seriously; 80% of EU funds is administered at Member State level and the vast majority of the 3.9% of payments affected by errors concerned mistakes at national level rather than at EU level
Has funding been wasted or had no impact?
As of August 2013, 286 EU-supported projects have been approved in Wales. This amounts to a total investment of £1.91bn of EU money. EU projects have already assisted 437,300 participants, of which over 147,700 have been supported to gain qualifications and 51,000 helped into work. In addition, over 20,100(gross) jobs and nearly 6,000 enterprises have been created.
Why does ECHR stop us extraditing criminals?
First and foremost, it's important to realise that the European Court of Human Rights is not an EU institution, but is part of the Council of Europe. There are certain conditions which have to be adhered to when extraditing criminals. If there is risk of ill treatment another state it is not possible to send the individual to that state as it is difficult to claim that public interest reasons for deporting or extraditing individual outweigh the risk of ill-treatment on the individual’s return, regardless of the offence or conduct.