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Wales is better off in the European Union – William Powell AM

January 30, 2013 3:51 PM

William Powell AM, Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for Mid and West Wales, has strongly defended the United Kingdom's membership of the European Union and detailed why Wales is better off within it.

William Powell, Rural Affairs Spokesperson, said:

"Put simply, to leave the EU would devastate our prime rural industries, and continually weaken them for decades to come. It would jeopardise the profitability of over £150 billion in trade, and it would weaken our international influence across the globe.

Those who believe that Wales and the United Kingdom are better off going it alone in our increasingly interdependent world, or think we can pick and choose our international engagements - in an a la carte fashion - on the terms of a minority view, are simply misguided.

It is in our national self interest to stay in the European Union - economically, culturally and politically. We back reform and further democratisation of the Union - but remaining a key Member is absolutely essential if our nation is to survive and thrive.

This belief does not mean that the debate should be ended in the UK, or that the public should not be consulted should a significant treaty change ever occur in the future. However, it does mean that our discussions should be based on the facts, and not on the desire to make political capital.

The way in which some factions within UK politics have handled this important issue is, in my view, hugely detrimental to our national interest - especially given the present sensitivities around our economic standing.

We should not be condemned to years of tying ourselves up in knots, having arcane debates based some undefined objectives, which are in turn, based upon a renegotiation which may never happen.

As a Nation, we need to grow up and get on with rebuilding our economy. To contemplate leaving the European Union at this time would not bring about some sort of National Epiphany - but rather a profound National Disaster".