Plaid Cymru calls for Welsh-Irish deal to secure future European investment
The Welsh Government should enter into formal talks with the Irish State and secure an agreement that would create a ‘Celtic Sea Alliance’ and secure future European investment, according to Plaid Cymru’s External Affairs spokesperson, Steffan Lewis AM.
Mr Lewis said the Belfast Agreement 1998 makes provision for two or more governments in these islands to enter into bi- or multi-lateral agreements and could be a framework for securing European funding for joint programmes even if Wales leaves the European Union. Mr Lewis cited the example of Sweden and Norway, where joint project between the two countries have been financially supported by the EU even though Norway is not a member of the bloc.
Plaid Cymru’s Steffan Lewis AM said:
“Welsh Government cannot afford to play ‘wait and see’ with Wales’ future relations with our nearest neighbours and must think creatively in order to further Wales’ interests, post-Brexit.
“There has already been close cooperation between Wales and Ireland in joint European ventures and we should ensure that relationship in continued post-Brexit. It is necessary for that to be formalised between the governments of Wales and Ireland through an agreement that could establish a Celtic Sea Alliance, focused on collaboration between the two nations but especially the western regions of Wales and the eastern regions of Ireland.
“Getting on with such a move now could place us in a situation where we’re able to better deal with the post-Brexit context. There are examples we can draw upon such as that of Norway and Sweden where joint projects between those two countries have secured financial support from the EU despite Norway not being a member state. A similar arrangement would be especially beneficial to western regions of Wales who have been a part of the West Wales and the Valleys convergence funding region, that has received hundreds of millions in EU aid over the years.
“Wales must look outward and must seize the initiative when it comes to our future relations with other countries and the prosperity of our communities.