EU: Your Questions Answered


How can Plaid be in favour of Welsh Independence but want to stay in the EU?

The two go hand in hand. Every member state of the EU is independent. They choose to work together to achieve common goals. Yes, that means sharing a degree of sovereignty - voluntarily. That is completely different to the UK which works to keep as much power as possible in Westminster and which refuses fair funding and basic democratic powers for Wales. Plaid Cymru believes that Wales is better off in the EU: socially, environmentally, economically and culturally.

The first aim of the Plaid Cymru constitution states: "To secure independence for Wales in Europe".
A vote to remain in the EU will not secure full membership status for Wales but it will allow us to continue to work with our partners in other European nations and ensure a stronger voice for Wales. We can also continue to work for a more open, accountable and effective EU.

Wales is certainly not an equal partner in the UK. We have fewer powers and unfair funding. Despite constant pushing, there is little sign of constitutional change in the UK that will benefit Wales. Outside the EU we would be in a much weaker position.

Those campaigning to leave claim they want to take back power. That means taking back power to Westminster and from Wales. We want a better future for Wales and the EU can help us achieve that.

As Alex Salmond has said, "an individual country's sovereignty comes from influence, not force, from soft not hard power, from enlightened self interest not self interest alone". That is why the SNP see staying in the EU as so crucial to Scotland's future.

Should Welsh be an Official Language?

Yes it should. It is an official language in Wales and the UK government should inform the EU that it should have official status Europe too - just as the Irish government did in 2007. Our bilingual young people are disadvantaged because even though they speak two languages, one of those - Welsh - is not recognised as a qualification to work in the EU. We want equal opportunities for young people from Wales.

After a long campaign, Plaid Cymru won co-official status for Welsh so you can correspond with the EU institutions in Welsh and it can be spoken in the Council of Ministers and the Committee of the Regions. To go further we need the UK government to act.

Doesn't the EU cost too much?

No. The UK Parliament in Westminster costs £5.51 per person per year to run - much more than the European Parliament at £2.34 per person per year. The UK parliament has 500 members from Wales, England, Scotland and the north of Ireland. The European Parliament has 751 members from 28 member states. It's actually good value in comparison!

The European Commission - the civil service of the EU - employs fewer people than the Home Office (23,000 compared to 25,850). It's not much bigger than the civil service of Cardiff City Council (18,000) and is nothing compared to local government employees in Wales (174,000).

I've heard that the EU Accounts haven't been Signed off for Years. What's that about?

That is a myth. The EU accounts have been signed off year after year. Fraud has been found in just 0.3% of all EU expenditure. This misleading story is based on a complicated European Court of Auditors report and is used as an excuse to attack the EU. It's simply not true.

What about Migration?

Until 2011, EU citizens living in the UK contributed nearly £5 billion more to the UK economy than they took out in terms of health, education or other public services. In other words, they benefit the economy and make Wales a better place to live for all of us.

The free movement of workers is one of the cornerstones of the Single European Market. Young people in particular are able to get valuable work experience and learn new skills in other countries. It is beneficial for workers, businesses and society - and it works both ways.
Recent studies have shown that EU migrants make a net contribution of £55 per second to the UK!

Plaid Cymru wants Wales to be a real nation of sanctuary for refugees fleeing war and oppression. We want to play our part in developing a humane and effective EU response to the crisis.

What other Countries have left the EU?

None have. That's why it's so difficult to predict what would happen and how long it would take. No-one really knows.

Would we keep workers' rights, environmental laws, food safety rules and so on?

There is no certainty of anything. If the UK leaves, all the legislation has to be unpicked. There is little likelihood that a Tory UK government would introduce similar laws. A report published by the TUC a vote to leave would have "significant implications for workers' rights". Friends of the Earth predict that a vote to leave the EU would lead to an "erosion of environmental policy...which also risks significant damage to the UK".

Isn't the UK always out voted in the EU so an Independent Wales would be too?

Quite simply, no. On major issues, the EU can only act when all 28 member states agree. Legislation requires the agreement of the European Parliament and the MEPs you elect. However, because of the secrecy of decision making when the governments meet in the Council, it is easy to give that impression. That is why we have been calling for the whole law making system to be made public and minutes and documents published. We want an open Europe.

We hear all the time that the UK pays a whopping £5 million a day into the EU. Is that Correct?

No. The UK gets a lot of that money back through the rebate that Margaret Thatcher won and through different funding programmes.
In Wales's case the picture is very different. Because of the weakness of our economy, particularly in West Wales and the Valleys, we get huge amounts of EU regional funding. This is a demonstration of EU solidarity between richer and poorer areas. So every person in Wales gets substantially more back from the EU than we put in. We want this support to help us increase prosperity and build the economy so we become one of the richer areas with no need for regional funding.

So give me Three Simple Reasons for a Plaid Cymru member to vote to remain in the EU

- Because we want Wales to be an independent, successful, bilingual European nation
- Because the EU is a unique international partnership which has prevented war in Europe and which can become a real Europe of the Peoples
- Because Wales is socially, environmentally, culturally and economically better off in the EU and our grandchildren should have the opportunities we have had to travel, learn and enjoy Europe

This starts with you

They have the money but we have the people. If everyone who visits this website joins our movement, there's nothing we can't accomplish together.