Daily Post Column
January 10th 2017

I wish all Daily Post readers a very happy and successful new year. It's hard to imagine that this year could possibly be a more momentous one than 2016. Yet 2017 will be crucial in shaping Wales's future as a nation.

I am grateful to all of you who have contacted me during the past year on a whole range of issues affecting our communities and also demonstrating your concern for people across the world affected by war and poverty.

At the moment much of Europe is suffering freezing sub zero temperatures and snow. We face some colder weather very soon too. It is especially important to ensure that the most vulnerable in society are safe during times like this. In Greece, thousands of people have been unable to heat their homes adequately because they just can't afford the cost of the bills. Some homeless people have died of the cold. It is shocking to witness this in countries we usually associate with sunshine and holidays.

I believe that in the coming year we have to strengthen our communities and ensure that no-one is left out. We have the potential in Wales to demonstrate that. We have local council elections in May. Those councils make many of the decisions that affect people directly in their everyday lives so it is vital that we elect representatives who work with and for people. We need a balance of women and men, more young people and people from all backgrounds. It is more important than ever that people are engaged in and involved in politics. The UK voted to leave the EU. I believe Wales outside the EU will be poorer in every way. But one thing we can do is play a full part in building our future. Taking back control means putting power in the hands of the people. Let's make the decisions together.

As an MEP I have always worked for the Welsh national interest and I will, of course, be striving to get the best possible outcome for my constituents in the discussions on leaving the EU. At the end of the day, the people of Wales must have their say on the future of Wales.

Ends.

Photo: Jill Evans