Securing free access to the European single market “is a must” for Wales’ economic future following Brexit, the First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones has said.
Speaking after returning from a five-day visit to the USA to promote Wales as a place to invest and do business in, the First Minister said that U.S. companies are calling for certainty about the terms of the UK’s exit from the EU.
He said that the Welsh Government’s overriding priority is to protect Wales’ interests as the UK leaves the EU – including ensuring Wales continues to have access to the European single market.
In the hours following the referendum result being declared, the First Minister set out 6 key priorities for Wales:
- Protecting jobs;
- Full involvement for the Welsh Government in discussions on UK withdrawal;
- Continuing access to the single market for goods and services;
- Security of funding budgeted under EU programmes until 2020;
- Long term revision of the Block Grant from the UK Government;
- A new post-Brexit relationship between Devolved Governments and the UK Government.
The First Minister said:
“During my visit to the USA last week, I met a number of companies who currently have a presence in Wales or have an interest in investing here. My message to them was that Wales is open for business, that we are a great place to do business in, to work in and to visit.
“Their message to me was clear – they are impressed by what Wales has to offer, in terms of skills and infrastructure, but the uncertainty over Brexit is now a significant hurdle for investors. Every one of those businesses wanted to hear that we would continue to have free and unfettered access to the single market, and that’s why I make no apologies for pressing the case with the UK Government.
“If Brexit doesn’t include single market access, we risk inflicting needless economic harm on our country, and on our citizens. So my priority is to ensure we protect Wales’ interests as Britain negotiates its exit from the European Union, and that includes continued free access to the world’s largest economy. Wales must have a place at the negotiating table, so that we can secure the very best outcome for Wales.”