Saturday, 16 July 2016


Plaid Cymru

This is Carmarthen where today a Plaid Cymru Special Conference voted in favour of a motion that reiterates the party's commitment to securing independence for Wales in Europe:

Special Conference Motion
On June 23rd the people of Wales voted by a narrow margin in favour of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union.  Plaid Cymru campaigned for a different outcome but respects the result as the expression of the democratic will of the Welsh people.  We also recognise that the people of Scotland voted in favour of remaining in the European Union and support the right of the Scottish people to chart their own future, including, if necessary, through a new independence referendum.
It is essential now that the national movement seeks to defend the interests of all people in Wales, regardless of how they voted, in this changing political landscape. 

11.       Protecting Wales’s Interests
1.1. The immediate task is to ensure that the interests of Wales are fully considered in the long and complicated process of leaving the EU.
1.2. Plaid Cymru believes that the Article 50 TEU process should be triggered only when a clear strategy has been developed for exit, including the identification of which parts of EU law we wish to retain in Wales.
1.3. Plaid Cymru will:
 1.3.1.        Demand that the Welsh Government is fully involved in the UK negotiations at every stage.  We call on the government in Wales to establish a team of expert negotiators.
 1.3.2.        Call on the Welsh Government to establish a team of advisors who can give specialist information to the newly established Assembly Committee on External Affairs and Additional Negotiations and to the negotiators.
 1.3.3.        Call on the UK to adopt a new and expanded regional policy with a needs-based formula to compensate in full for the loss of EU funding.
 1.3.4.        Insist that any powers repatriated to the UK are devolved to Wales.
 1.3.5.        Explore with EFTA the potential for Wales benefitting from the European Economic Area’s version of the Structural Funds (EEA Grants).
 1.3.6.        Call on the Welsh and UK Governments to agree a comprehensive plan of emergency economic assistance, a Marshall Plan for the Welsh Economy.
 1.3.7.        Demand new powers over taxation for the Welsh Government, including corporation tax, Value Added Tax, Air Passenger Duty, R&D Tax Credits, Capital Allowances, Patent Box etc.
 1.3.8.        Call for the expansion of Borrowing Powers for Wales to support a new programme of Government funded and Government sponsored investment, including through the new Development Bank and National Infrastructure Commission.
 1.3.9.        Call for the UK’s role in the European Investment Bank to be maintained.  If this is not successful then a new Investment Bank of the Isles should be established to cover the four UK constituent nations and the Republic of Ireland.  The Welsh Government should bid for this new Bank to be headquartered in Cardiff.
 1.3.10.    Insist that if negotiations for Brexit involve a Norway-type solution, which includes provisions for both single market access and full, or qualified, free movement of people, it must be explicitly endorsed either by another referendum or by a substantive motion approved by both Westminster and the National Assembly of Wales.

22.       Protecting Citizens’ Rights
 2.1. The decision to leave the EU has the potential to impact negatively on the rights and life chances of the citizens of our country.  We will:
 2.1.1.        Insist that the residency rights of all citizens of Wales are respected, including those of EU Nationals, who are welcome in our country and make a hugely valuable contribution to our society, our economy and the diversity of our cultural life.
 2.1.2.        Existing protections at work, including the rights of women, disabled people and the LGBT community, must be maintained. Many of these have been accumulated over decades and are now enshrined in EU law and used every day by thousands of Welsh workers – including access to paid annual holidays, improved health and safety protection and equal treatment rights for part-time workers. EU law has also extended rights to equal pay and strengthened protection from sex discrimination. The EU promotes the active inclusion and full participation of disabled people in society. We must fight to retain the gains made.

33.       Agriculture and Environment
 3.1. Much of the legislation to protect the environment in Wales emanates from European directives and agreements. Membership of the EU has given farmers access to a huge single market; the ability to protect the origin of Welsh food and direct support payments for farmers and funds for rural communities. We will:
  3.1.1.        Insist that current environmental law is retained unless legislated for differently by the National Assembly.
  3.1.2.        Demand full devolution of energy policy, including across the Irish Sea, and continue European co-operation and co-ordination on climate change targets and objectives.
  3.1.3.        Urge a swift review of the rural development programme to ensure its relevance to the new economic circumstances.
  3.1.4.        Advocate the maintenance of the current funding envelope for rural communities and farmers and the development of a distinct agriculture and fisheries policy for Wales.
  3.1.5.        Prioritise a trade deal to ensure continued access to EU markets for agricultural and fishing produce.

44.       Race
4.1. Plaid Cymru notes with dismay the negative impact the EU referendum has had on ethnic minorities in Wales.
4.2. This conference condemns the divisive tone of the Leave Campaign and the racial hatred it has incited. It is frightening to see the reported rise in racist incidents in our communities since the referendum. 
4.3. Plaid Cymru reaffirms its position as an inclusive party that extends a welcome to all nationalities in Wales.  Migrants have contributed immensely to our country and this conference reassures foreign nationals residing here that they remain valued members of our society.
4.4. The EU upholds principles of cooperation and unity and, at every opportunity, we will maintain and strengthen Wales’s national identity as an inclusive, progressive bond for the common good. 

55.       Youth
5.1. This conference notes that leaving the European Union will result in a series of lost opportunities for young people in Wales. 
5.2. Having access to schemes such as Erasmus+ and the right to study in the European Union broadens horizons and opens doors for thousands.
5.3. The Horizon 2020 research funding enables Welsh universities to compete on a world stage and provide world class education.
5.4. EEA countries have access to the Horizon 2020 and Erasmus programmes which underlines the attraction of that option.
5.5. Plaid Cymru further notes how 18-24 year olds voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU.
5.6. Plaid Cymru will insist that the UK government makes every effort to cushion the impact leaving the EU has on the prospects of young people in Wales.
5.7. To further engage young people in politics and ensure their voice is heard, Plaid Cymru will continue to call for votes to be given to 16 and 17 year olds.
5.8. We also reaffirm our commitment to providing political education to young people in Wales to enrich democracy.

66.       The future of Wales in Europe
6.1. Plaid Cymru reiterates its commitment to independence in Europe as our vision of Wales’s future.  We accept the mandate that the referendum represents for the UK leaving the EU. The focus now turns to the future relationship with the EU for which there are a range of options.   We will:
 6.1.1.        Push for constitutional and legal arrangements to be put in place to enable a speedy independence referendum for Wales should Scotland vote in favour of independence from the United Kingdom. Ensuring the arrangements are in place is necessary to be able to benefit from the new constitutional situation including, (but not limited to) giving an independent Scotland “successor” or “continuator state” status within the European Union.
 6.1.2.        Demand a future relationship with the EU which includes direct access to the single market given the vital importance of securing Wales’s export markets, especially in manufacturing.  We will resist any effort to negotiate enhanced access for financial services to the detriment or exclusion of our manufacturing sector.
 6.1.3.        Explore all available options to secure this objective, but our interim conclusion is that membership of the European Free Trade Association and the European Economic Area is likely to be the best available option for Wales.
 6.1.4.        Press the Welsh Government, should the UK Government choose an exit path which excludes Wales from the single market, to explore all available options to achieve an autonomous solution for Wales.  This may include negotiating a special trading status for Wales directly with the European Union, as currently being explored by other devolved legislatures, as well as associate membership of EFTA (as currently being pursued by the Faroe Islands).  The Welsh Government should reserve the right to use any veto power it possesses to seek the best deal for Wales and call a Wales-only referendum on the terms of any special deal negotiated for Wales in order to establish its democratic legitimacy.
 6.1.5.        We endeavour to maintain the exciting relationship between the people of Wales and small European nations while working to secure the rights of minority language speakers and promote the use of Welsh.
77.       The future of Wales in these islands
7.1. We believe in a new relationship among the nations of these islands based on equality and partnership not the supremacy of the Westminster Parliament.
7.2. We believe in an evolutionary path to self-government but recognise that the United Kingdom may cease to exist in less than two years’ time if the people Scotland decide to support independence in a forthcoming referendum, and/or the people of northern Ireland opt for Irish unity in a subsequent vote.  It is important that contingency plans are drawn up for the future of our country in this rapidly changing context.  
7.3. Under these historically unprecedented conditions we call on the Welsh Government to establish a National Convention on Wales’s Future:
   7.3.1.        To decide on the best future relationship with Europe for Wales with the UK outside the EU.
   7.3.2.        To develop proposals for a new constitutional settlement across the UK.
   7.3.3.        To develop contingency plans on the constitutional options for Wales in the event of the United Kingdom ceasing to exist following a YES vote in a Scottish second referendum.
7.4. In the context of the Convention Plaid Cymru will propose:
   7.4.1.        A radical confederal rewriting of the current UK constitution, including the abolition of the House of Lords in its present form and the establishment of fully sovereign parliaments in each constituent nation which freely choose where to pool their sovereignty in areas of common interest.
   7.4.2.        A multi-option referendum on Wales’s constitutional future in the event of the UK ceasing to exist, in which all options, including independence in Europe, will be presented for consideration by the Welsh people.