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  • EU Referendum
  • Launch of Wales in Europe Campaign
    February 10th 2016
    Pop Factory, Porth

    Plaid Cymru believes that Wales's natural home is in Europe. The European Union has served our interests and resonated with our values for many years and we would like to see this successful relationship flourish in future.

    Wales benefits from EU membership economically, socially and culturally.

    Nearly 200,000 jobs in Wales are linked to our access to the Single Market and its half a billion people. Thousands of students and young people benefit from EU programmes so they can study and work in other countries and learn new languages.

    Through the EU, we have laws on equality, on the environment, on workers' and consumer rights, on farming and food quality, to tackle climate change and much more. We have been able to control the chemicals in our environment and clean up our rivers.

    Everyone likes to complain about rules and regulations and I know as an MEP that we have sometimes overburdened, especially small businesses, with those and we need to address that. But look at the overall impact. It has been good. It has been more than the UK would have done on its own. It's made a huge difference to our lives.

    We want a stronger voice for Wales and we will continue to work for that. But we can't lose the voice we have in Europe. We have made a mark and we can contribute a lot more to building a fairer and better society. But we can't do that if we have no voice and no influence.

    We want to improve working conditions of employees and work with other countries for the sake of the environment, sustainability and social justice. There is a progressive movement for change across the EU and Plaid Cymru is part of that.

    The EU has helped to establish peace and preserve the peace in Europe: a role that should never be underestimated and that must be protected and built on for the future.

    There is a lot we would like to change about the EU, but we can only do that from within. There is no point shouting from the sidelines. We choose instead to work with our sister parties in the European Free Alliance and with progressive colleagues across the EU.

    In this referendum campaign, Plaid Cymru is looking forward to presenting our case for a strong and prosperous Wales within Europe. We will work with other parties to persuade people of the case for remaining in the EU - a positive case.

    There is so much good that the EU has done. We won't be trying to frighten people to vote because we are afraid of the alternative. We will be arguing that staying in the EU is in all our interests.

    This is a huge choice facing the people of Wales. It is about the kind of Wales we want to build. The kind of Wales we want for future generations.

    I was too young to vote in the first referendum. But I am glad that Wales voted "yes" to Europe then. I and my generation and those coming afterwards benefitted from that decision. For most of my life I have been able to travel, to learn about other countries, to teach them about Wales and to work together on shared values and aspirations.

    The EU has been an amazing achievement. Not without its problems, of course - very serious problems. But we have a better chance of solving those problems together than apart. Because leaving the EU won't take the problems away.

    I want future generations to have the opportunities we have had by working with many other countries and being Europeans. It's about seeing Wales in a European and global context - seeing the bigger picture.

    That's what this referendum is about for Plaid Cymru. That will be our positive message to the people of Wales.

    Jill Evans MEP

    Photo: Jill Evans