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What should Wales’ relationship be with the EU?

14 October 2015

EU flag moving in the wnd

New project launched to examine Wales’ relations with the EU ahead of forthcoming referendum

A new project has been launched to address the role of Wales within the European Union in the context of the forthcoming in-out EU referendum.

Academics in the University’s Wales Governance Centre and the Centre for European Law and Governance have established the Wales and EU project to support informed and balanced discussion about the relationship between Wales and the EU ahead of the EU membership referendum.  

The landmark project is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council’s “The UK in a Changing Europe” initiative.

The Wales and the EU project has four interrelated components. The first part will look at key areas of policy centred around competences devolved to Wales including agriculture, structural funds, and the environment, and consider what “Brexit” may mean for Wales. Stakeholder events will take place over the coming year to discuss and raise awareness of the particular situation of Wales in the EU.

The second component involves research on the role of the National Assembly for Wales in EU policy making. A more substantial role for Member States’ legislative bodies is central to the UK Government’s reform agenda for the EU.       

The third component of the Wales and EU projectis the continuation of the existing EU Exchange Wales network established in 2013. This is a forum for regular discussion between policy-makers and academics with an interest and expertise in EU related matters.

Finally, the Wales and EU project will also host sessions with young people over the next year to explore questions around the relationship between Wales and the EU.

Speaking ahead of the launch, Jane Hutt AM, Welsh Government Minster for Finance and Government Business, said: “The next 18 months will be critical for the UK’s relationship with the EU and the decisions taken will influence all our lives.  This is an exciting and very timely initiative and I look forward to seeing the results of this research.”

ESRC Senior Fellow and Wales and the EU project member Dr Jo Hunt, said: 'The UKs relationship with the EU is set to change whether the referendum vote is to leave or remain –the legal consequences for Wales need to be properly understood.”

Project member, Dr Rachel Minto added:Through the various activities of the Wales and the EU project – all of which are underpinned by rigorous, independent, academic research – we aim to support informed discussion and debate in Wales.”