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The EU: What's in it for Wales?

24 May 2013

Wales flag

A major international conference will today 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:

"The conference will allow Welsh decision-makers to reflect upon financial and constitutional debates facing Welsh devolution in a broader UK and European context; to draw lessons from evolutions in comparable European Union regions; to reflect upon the opportunities available to Wales in a broader European context.

"Why the EU matters to Wales will be at the centre of the debates organised by researchers at Cardiff University. After all, the UK is not a euro member state, so why should we bother about developments in continental Europe? Such a narrow approach would, however, be highly detrimental. Europe matters for Wales in many different ways; Wales is part of the UK – a powerful member state - and as such benefits from being part of this large member state.

"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."

'Wales, the United Kingdom and Europe: Europeanising Devolution' is a one-day conference held at the Pierhead Building, Cardiff Bay on Friday 24 May.