Today, May 9th, is Europe Day. This was the day, just five years after the Second World War, that the French foreign minister, Robert Schuman, published his declaration that the countries of Europe should work together, pooling their coal and steel resources, and creating a lasting peace based on solidarity. The European Union was founded. Since then we have had the longest period of peace in Europe’s history.
Yet we are under attack, not from weapons of war but from policies that damage our communities. We have to defend Wales and our national interest. That means protecting jobs, caring for those in need and supporting all communities.
Wales voted to leave the European Union but that does not mean we don't want to continue trading, visiting, working alongside, and learning from other countries in Europe. It is essential to our nation that we do just that.
But it is about more than trade. It is also about our culture and identity. It is about people. I have had many letters from constituents who are really worried about their future. That includes people from other EU countries who have chosen to make Wales their home. Plaid Cymru will press the UK government to guarantee the rights of all Europeans living and working in Wales when we leave the EU. They have made a huge contribution to our society and we don't want to lose them.
It is totally unacceptable that the government would use people as bargaining chips.
I have also had many letters from people who don't want us to lose our EU citizenship when the UK leaves. I am a proud Welsh European and I know many of you are too. That is why I am promoting the European Citizen's Initiative,
calling on the European Commission to submit a proposal for EU citizenship for those of us who want to keep it, you can lend your support by going to www.eucitizen2017.org and signing the initiative. At present it comes through the EU Member State in which we live. I have also commissioned research on how this could work in practise in Wales, which I will publish next month. It will be a valuable and positive contribution to the long and complicated negotiations that lie ahead.