Plaid Cymru has called on the Welsh Government to continue a direct relationship with the European Investment Bank (EIB) after Brexit.
The call comes following a reports that the EIB has frozen operations in the countries of the UK, causing a multimillion pound shortage of funding for schools, hospitals and housing due to the uncertainty caused by Brexit.
The European Investment Bank, which financed £6.9 billion of public infrastructure projects across the UK countries last year, has reportedly imposed a moratorium on new long-term loans to Wales, as well as England, Scotland and northern Ireland as a result of the uncertainty caused by the process of leaving the European Union.
Plaid Cymru’s External Affairs spokesperson, Steffan Lewis AM has called on the Labour-run Welsh Government to explore options to continue to have a direct relationship with the European Investment Bank after leaving the EU, and bypass Westminster.
The EIB as made investments in non-EU countries including African and Asian countries, and has made investments in British dependencies such as the British Virgin Islands and the Falkland Islands.
Commenting, Plaid Cymru’s External Affairs spokesperson, Steffan Lewis AM said:
“European investments have been a vital part of rebuilding Wales and that the European Investment Bank has frozen its operations in Wales and the other countries in the UK is very concerning.
“To go from £6.9 billion of investment in public infrastructure to nothing will leave a significant shortfall for schools, hospitals and transport infrastructure and that it is all down to the irresponsible way in which Westminster has dealt with the negotiations with the European Union is deeply frustrating.
“The EIB already makes investments in non-EU countries and does so in many of the British State’s dependencies so there’s no reason why we can’t continue to work with them after Brexit but we cannot rely on the incompetent politicians at Westminster to protect our relationship with them.
“The Welsh Government needs to start working now to ensure it can continue its direct links with the European Investment Bank and make sure we continue to work together after we become a non-EU country.
“The appalling way in which Westminster abandoned its commitments to electrify our railway lines and the way the British Treasury has ensured that HS2 is considered an “England and Wales” project to avoid having to give Wales a fair share of the investment shows that we cannot rely on Westminster to look after our economic interests.
“The only way we can ensure our country succeeds, that our infrastructure is upgraded and that ultimately our citizens are better off, is if we stop depending on Westminster and start doing it ourselves, and the Welsh Government must take a lead.”