Prime Minister’s EU walkout 'a threat to the Rural Welsh Economy'- William Powell AM

December 16, 2011 9:17 AM
Originally published by William Powell AM

William Powell, Welsh Liberal Democrat Rural Affairs Spokesman, has spoken out about his disappointment following Prime Minister David Cameron's EU summit walkout and how it has the potential to damage the Welsh Rural Economy.

 

William Powell, Assembly Member for Mid and West Wales, said:

 

"The Prime Minister's decision to deploy Britain's veto can be viewed as a potentially harmful case of political isolationism- and has unsurprisingly fanned the flames on both sides of the European debate.

 

As such both sides must remain calm and use proportionate language in their reactions. References to British Bulldogs, Neville Chamberlain and 1938 reveal a paranoid Dads' Army approach to our European Partners which ill serves British - and especially Welsh- interests.

 

As Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Kirsty Williams AM stated: 'Walking away from the European table with nothing now leaves Wales & the UK on the fringes of the largest Single Market in the world'.

 

This Market is essential to the future of the Rural Welsh Economy. A future which I fear has been placed under a significant threat following Cameron's sleepless night in Brussels.

 

At a time when UK and Welsh Agriculture Ministers are negotiating a CAP & Common Fisheries Policy that best suits our needs, we need such self-imposed isolation like we need a 'hole in the head.'

 

Wales and the United Kingdom has always been a key player in European affairs and we must not allow short term political convenience to jeopardise generations of diplomacy and the security of hundreds of thousands of jobs across our nation.

 

There is an urgent need to remedy the harm that has been inflicted upon us and to start rebuilding our fractured relationships. The very future of Wales and its Rural Economy depends upon the success of our endeavours."

 

Dr. Nick Fenwick, Director of Agricultural Policy for the Farmers' Union of Wales, added:

 

"Member States have made it very clear that they are extremely frustrated with the UK's decision to use its veto, and we sincerely hope that that frustration does not impact on the UK's ability to negotiate a CAP policy which is in the best interests of Wales.

 

Our clear view is that negotiations on CAP reform should be held in an adult manner and be focused on the policy itself; in an ideal world grudges relating to the UK's veto decision would not cloud the thinking of others around the negotiating table, and we would urge all those involved in the CAP negotiating process to put other differences aside, however big these may be, in order to secure a policy which is acceptable for the farming industry."

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