Skip to content
Skip to navigation menu


The European Union: What’s in it for Wales?

24 May 2013

A major international conference will consider why the European Union (EU) matters to Wales, placing Welsh devolution in a comparative context with other devolved regions in Europe.

Organised by the Learned Society of Wales in partnership with the British Academy and supported by Cardiff University, the conference will bring together representatives from four devolved governments in the EU who will exchange their experiences of the EU and regional governance in a European context.

Invited speakers will debate some of the most pressing issues of European multi-level governance, at a time of great austerity, and will seek to challenge the optimistic promise of a ‘Europe of the Regions’ formulated in the Maastricht treaty.

The lead organiser of the conference, Professor Alistair Cole of the School of European Languages, Translation and Politics at Cardiff University, and a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales, said:

"But does the Prime Minister consult or negotiate with Wales on EU treaties? This is a point worth considering, and many similar questions surrounding the EU and its relationship to devolved governments across Europe will be debated on the day, from a variety of trans-national perspectives."

The Learned Society of Wales’s President, Sir John Cadogan, said:

"I am very pleased that the Society and the British Academy are working together on the organisation of a conference on the subject of Wales, the United Kingdom and Europe.  

"As well as enabling us to explore issues that are of great significance for the future of Wales within the British and European context, this collaboration is also very important in helping us to achieve the Society’s objective of enabling Wales to participate at the highest level in the international world of learning and scholarship, and of promoting the academic excellence and achievements of Wales to the wider world."

Key stakeholders from devolved governments in Wales, Catalonia, Flanders, Brittany, as well as representatives of the European Commission, will engage in a round table discussion. Chairing this discussion will be Hywel Ceri Jones, former Director General with the European Commission, whose own debate will centre on what Wales looks for in trans-national relationships.

Desmond Clifford, Principal Private Secretary to the First Minister’s Office, David Hughes, Head of the Office of the European Commission in Wales; Albert Royo, secretary for international cooperation for the Government of Catalonia; Geert de Proost, representative of the Flemish government, and Mona Bras of the Democratic Breton Union will all address the following issues from their respective countries’ perspective: -        How important is the European Union in the development of more (or less) devolved governmental capacity?  -        How important are trans-national relationships for the development of territorial capacity?  -        Where will your region-nation be in five years’ time?  The conference marks the first major event organised as part of the Leverhulme Trust’s International Network on Territorial Governance in Western Europe. The network is built on a partnership of a number of universities from across Europe, including Cardiff University.

‘Wales, the United Kingdom and Europe: Europeanising Devolution’ is a one-day conference held at the Pierhead Building, Cardiff Bay on Friday 24 May.  This conference will be followed by a linked one-day event, ‘Welsh Devolution in Perspective’, at the British Academy in London on Friday 31 May. 

Cardiff University is recognised in independent government assessments as one of Britain’s leading teaching and research universities and is a member of the Russell Group of the UK’s most research intensive universities. Among its academic staff are two Nobel Laureates, including the winner of the 2007 Nobel Prize for Medicine, University Chancellor Professor Sir Martin Evans.  Founded by Royal Charter in 1883, today the University combines impressive modern facilities and a dynamic approach to teaching and research. The University’s breadth of expertise encompasses: the College of Humanities and Social Sciences; the College of Biomedical and Life Sciences; and the College of Physical Sciences, along with a longstanding commitment to lifelong learning. Cardiff's three flagship Research Institutes are offering radical new approaches to neurosciences and mental health, cancer stem cells and sustainable places.  The Learned Society of Wales
The Learned Society of Wales is Wales’s first national scholarly academy.  A registered charity, it was formally established and launched in May 2010.  The Society’s first President is Sir John Cadogan CBE DSc FRSE FRSC PLSW FRS.  The Society’s Mission is:  ·        to celebrate, recognise, preserve, protect and encourage excellence in all of the scholarly disciplines, and in the professions, industry and commerce, the arts and public service;  ·        to promote the advancement of learning and scholarship and the dissemination and application of the results of academic enquiry and research; and  ·        to act as a source of independent and expert scholarly advice and comment on matters affecting the wellbeing of Wales and its people and to advance public discussion and interaction on matters of national and international importance.

The British Academy 
The British Academy, established by Royal Charter in 1902, champions and supports the humanities and social sciences, throughout the UK and internationally.  Its Policy Centre oversees a programme of activity aimed at stimulating dialogue and engagement between leading researchers, parliamentarians and policymakers in the UK and abroad. It aims to shed light on matters of public interest and concern, drawing on insights derived from the best available research in the humanities and social sciences.  For queries about the London conference please contact Kate Rosser-Frost on Follow the British Academy on @britac_news  For more information about the conference in London , go to: 

For more information:

Tomas Barratt

Cardiff University

Tel/Ffon: 029 20 875596