I am sure that many of you are alarmed at the predictions of the damage leaving the European Union will do to the Welsh economy. Wales benefits from EU membership more than any other part of the UK. We receive more back in funding than we pay in. The majority of our exports go to EU countries.
As your MEP it is difficult to protect Walesís interests when we donít know what the UK government is planning. There is no doubt, though, that even if we leave the EU we should stay in the Single Market and Customs Union. That is what many are calling for, including Plaid Cymru and the Welsh Government. As yet, our voices are being ignored.
Leaving the EU is much bigger than an economic question. Young people have had huge benefits for nearly half a century, including cultural and educational exchanges, easier communication and faster, barrier free travel. It has been possible to study, gain work experience and volunteer abroad. The Erasmus programme has helped students about different cultures and ways of thinking. It has provided young entrepreneurs with the chance to learn from small businesses across Europe and brought us closer to knowledge, through culture and language. It has broadened horizons and helped us see Wales in an European and world context.
Iím sure thatís why the majority of young people view leaving the EU as a massive disappointment, especially as many of them were just too young to vote themselves.
One of the reports I am publishing on the impact of leaving the EU looks at the affect on young people. As the ones who will build the future Wales, we must make sure that they are well equipped to do that. For example, I will be insisting that the UK remains a partner in Erasmus+. The opportunities it gives young people far outweigh what it will cost in payments. By leaving the EU we will lose a lot. We cannot allow young people in Wales to bear the brunt of Brexit.