The Welsh Government’s Cabinet will hold an urgent meeting today (Monday 27th June) for Ministers to discuss the implications of the EU referendum vote for Wales.
The First Minister has already laid out six priority areas for action in his initial response to the result, and the Cabinet discussion will focus on how these can be taken forward immediately.
First Minister Carwyn Jones said:
“This will be one of the most important Cabinet meetings since devolution, where we will look at an initial evaluation of the potential consequences of this result for Wales, and agree how we will take the priorities forward in the national interest.
“On Friday, I set out my priorities for action, including even closer working with Welsh business to protect jobs, renewed intergovernmental engagement and a commitment to protect and maintain EU funding for Wales for as long as possible.
“The full implications of this vote are still far from clear and will not be so for some time.
“However, one thing is certain. We as the Welsh Government are utterly determined to stay internationally engaged, outward-looking and pro-business in our approach. That is what will maintain business confidence, and that is what will help inward investors take the right decisions in this new, uncertain environment.
“Let us not forget the steel crisis, that we are working so hard to resolve, remains ongoing. We will continue to work with Tata and support steelworkers as we look to meet the immense challenges thrown up by the referendum result.”
The six priority actions set out by the First Minister are as follows:
- Firstly, we must protect our jobs. For the Welsh Government now, doing everything we can to maintain economic confidence and stability is our number one task. We have built excellent, proactive relationship with Welsh businesses and inward investors, and these will need to intensify following yesterday’s vote.
- Second, the Welsh Government must play a full part in discussions about the timing and terms of UK withdrawal from the EU. Our participation is essential, not just for directly devolved issues, but for the whole range of issues affecting vital Welsh interests.
- Thirdly, it is vital that the United Kingdom negotiates to retain access to the 500 million customers in the Single Market.
- Four, we should negotiate continued participation, on current terms, in major EU programmes like CAP and Structural Funds up until the end of 2020. This will facilitate continuity for citizens, communities, businesses and investors while arrangements are made for the longer term.
- Five, Wales is a net beneficiary from the EU to the tune of hundreds of millions of pounds. There is now an overwhelming case for a major and immediate revision of the Barnett Formula taking into account needs arising from EU withdrawal and the promise made that Wales will not lose a penny must be guaranteed.
- Sixth, and finally, withdrawal from the EU is a massive constitutional shift for the UK and it has equally far-reaching implications for the devolution settlement. The relationship between Devolved Administrations and the UK Government must now be placed on to an entirely different footing.