First Minister and Rural Affairs Secretary will meet key figures from Wales’ environment and agriculture sectors today, to discuss the implications of the UK’s decision to leave the European Union.
Farming union leaders, rural business-people and representatives of fisheries and environmental bodies will be among the attendees taking part in a round-table discussion in Cardiff.
The First Minister will be leading Wales’ negotiations with the UK Government over the conditions of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. Today’s event is an opportunity for him to hear the thoughts and concerns of the environment and rural affairs sectors.
Carwyn Jones and Lesley Griffiths will provide reassurance that in the immediate aftermath of the UK’s vote to leave the EU, Welsh farmers and environmental groups will continue to receive payments from EU programmes including the Common Agricultural Policy. The Ministers will also remind the farming industry they must continue to comply with important EU environmental regulations.
The First Minister said:
“There is no doubt Britain’s decision to leave the EU has caused uncertainty for the environment and agriculture sectors considering the substantial levels of funding and support the EU provides. Indeed, out of all areas of Welsh Government business, environment and rural affairs are those most closely linked to the EU.
“That is why, since the referendum result, meeting key figures within these sectors has been one of my top priorities.
“Today is the start of a long, uncertain journey and I will not make any promises that I will have all the answers. What assurance I can give however is that I will work tirelessly to seek guarantees from the UK Government that Wales will not be financially worse off as a result of the UK leaving the EU.
“We will be in listening mode today. Nothing will be off the table and I will ensure the views raised will be at the very forefront of my mind when I am negotiating with the UK Government over the timing and terms of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU”.
Following today’s meeting Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths will meet farmers in North Wales later this week. She said:
“I’m determined to meet as wide a range of people as possible within my portfolio over the coming weeks. In addition to today’s meeting, I’ll be seeing farmers, rural business-people, environmental groups and many more, all of whom will be directly affected by our impending exit from the EU.
“The Welsh Government is absolutely committed to working closely with environment organisations and the agriculture industry, so they can continue to forge a successful and sustainable future for Wales. I look forward to planning a way forward with them over the coming weeks, so we are in the best possible position to achieve that aim.”