Tuesday, 13 December 2011
Who wants in and who wants out.
Where would Wales stand if the Westminster government were to no longer be part of European Union? This was a question that this blog raised in October (25 October 2011). The question becomes more relevant now that Mr Cameron has isolated himself from the other countries of the EU.
Indeed it has caused some concern to Carwyn Jones who fears “that the UK Government’s new position in relation to the European Union threatens Wales’ national interest.”
Not an unreasonable point of view when one considers that half of all Welsh exports go to Europe and Wales’s agricultural industry is so reliant on the Common Agricutural policy and of course the Welsh Governments economic policy is so heavily dependent on funds from Europe.
But what is interesting In Carwyn Jones’s letter to David Cameron is that he raises the question, would Wales be better served if it was to plough its own furrow as an independent country. Well, he didn’t quite put it like that, but that was certainly his direction of travel.
He said, “For the first time, I am now seriously concerned about whether the interests of Wales can be advanced effectively in Europe by the UK Government. For those of us who are committed to the United Kingdom, and the place of the UK within the European Union, this is a deeply concerning position to be in."
Indeed Cameron had taken unilateral decisions with huge implications for both Wales and Scotland. Many are claiming it as gifting Alex Salmond an open goal on the independence issue.
Salmond being Salmond was quick to see Cameron’s weekend exploits working to his political advantage and was like a greyhound out of the trap ready to exploit the situation.
In a letter to Cameron, Salmond accusied him of damaging Scotland’s interests in Europe and “blundering” into the controversial move to veto European Union treaty changes. Scotland was “left out of the room” and the devolved governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland had not been consulted on a matter that greatly affected them.
The situation was not lost on Paddy Ashdown, now Lord Ashdown, who claimed Mr Cameron had strengthened “the hand of Mr Salmond to create an argument for Scotland to leave Britain” and become a separate member state.
Wales and Scotland even if they went their seperate ways from England would automatically retain EU membership as they were already part of Europe through the UK. This of course would change if the UK left before and if, Wales or Scotland gained their independence.
It would be ironical indeed that the arch Unionist David Cameron had made Welsh independence look more attractive than ever anything Gwynfor Evans and Plaid Cymru had done.
And all because the PM said “no.”