Against a backdrop of Coalition Government splits on Europe and a constant drip of negative stories on the EU economy and the Eurozone, Welsh Labour MEP DEREK VAUGHAN, has called for Wales and the UK to stand firm and remain at the heart of the European policy making process.
In a pamphlet launched today entitled “The Patriotic Case for Wales In Europe.”, Mr Vaughan argues that it is in the national interest for the UK and Wales to actively engage with and shape developments on the EU stage and outlines the benefits of EU membership in areas such as Structural Funding, trade, economic development, foreign policy and the protection of workers’ and consumers rights.
Welsh Labour MEP, DEREK VAUGHAN, said:
"For too long, flag waving Eurosceptics have promoted the argument that the only way to stand up for Wales and the UK is to withdraw from the EU and sit on the sidelines playing to the gallery.
In Wales, around 150,000 jobs rely on a full trading relationship with the EU and we receive about £1billion worth of EU investment in the form of Structural Funds, rural funds and research and development grants. We get more in Wales back from the EU than we pay in – in the region of £40 per person.
In many areas of life, we can only tackle key issues such as climate change, the need to create more jobs and growth and dealing with economic superpowers like the US and China on trade by concerted international action with other Member States.
The grandstanding, isolationist culture encouraged by the right wing of the Tory Party and UKIP actually damages the long term interests of Wales and the UK. Every day across Wales, I see in local government, the voluntary sector, business, further and higher education amongst other the overwhelmingly positive difference that EU membership is having in our communities.
We have to continue to underline the fact that the most patriotic way forward is to continue to play a full role in the EU, shaping its future direction and actively influencing its development not resorting to simplistic, protectionist and, at times, increasingly xenophobic gimmicks that will leave us open to consequences that could be disastrous for the people of Wales and the UK."