Derek Vaughan MEP

Working hard for Wales in Europe

Frequently asked questions

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 £274 more from the EU budget than they pay in, meaning that Wales makes a net gain of £838 million per year from the E.U. budget. According to a Centre for Economic Business Research report, 191,332 jobs in Wales are linked to the E.U. single market. 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. Without the EU Wales would receive far less money for jobs and growth, the common agricultural policy and research and innovation. No U.K. government would ever be able to guarantee that they would be able to match the almost £5 billion that Wales will receive over the next funding period.


Does the EU interfere too much in UK law?


No, the House of Commons Library calculated that from 1997-2009, 6.8 % of Primary Legislation and 14.1% of secondary legislation was part of the implementation of E.U obligations. 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 around 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.

A CBI report has rejected both the "Norwegian" and "Swiss" options, saying 'it [remaining in the E.U.] is better than any realistic alternative as a means to achieve British growth ambitions'.  If the U.K. followed the Norway and Swiss models we would still have to comply with E.U. regulations to get our products accepted into the single market. As the Norwegian Foreign Minister pointed out, although Norway has no say in the rules that are made, it still has to implement them.

[1] CBI Report, "Our Global Vision, The Business Vision for a Reformed E.U." (2013) p. 162


Do EU migrants steal jobs and take benefits from British people?


There are around 2 million E.U. citizens living in the U.K. and around 2 million U.K. citizens living in E.U. countries they practically balance out. E.U. citizens are allowed to access services sources and support, but British citizens in Europe cost those countries five times more than treating E.U. citizens in Britain.

European citizens contribute more than they take out of the system; an academic study showed that they made a net contribution of £20 billion to the U.K. economy between 2000 and 2011, as they are more likely to be in work and less likely to be claiming state benefits than U.K. citizens.

Why haven't the EU accounts been cleared?


This is a common misconception. The European Court of Auditors gave the EU annual accounts a clean bill of health for the 10th year in a row, finding them true and fair.

The Court also detected fewer errors across all areas of spending than in the past, and the final overall level of error for 2016 is considerably lower than for the previous year. For roughly half of EU spending, the error rate did not even reach the level considered by the Court as material. No errors were found on the revenue side of the budget. This allowed the Court to upgrade - for the first time - its opinion on payments to "qualified".

Member States manage 80% of spending under the EU budget and the Commission is working closely with them to ensure money is spent effectively and efficiently. The Commission is sharing good practices, providing guidance and organising trainings for national authorities which spend EU funds on the ground. The goal is to prevent errors from occurring – by making Member States detect, report and correct any irregularities early, so that they do not risk losing funds to which they would have been


Has funding been wasted or had no impact?


From 2007-2013, as a result of EU funding there were 15,310 Welsh enterprises assisted, 10495 enterprises created, 31780 Welsh jobs created, 74805 Welsh people helped into work, 47850 people helped into further learning and 202855 qualifications gained.

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.

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