Brexit must not cost Wales ‘a single penny’, warns First Minister

The UK is on 'collision course' over Brexit, warned Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones. [DG EMPL/Flickr]

Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones insisted Friday (24 June) that Cardiff be fully involved with the negotiations to come, and that the Principality should “not lose a penny”.

Wales, unlike its Celtic neighbours Scotland and Northern Ireland, voted overall to leave the European Union, with 53% of its voters supporting Brexit.

Jones, called the result “deeply disappointing”, but called upon his government to “play a full part in the negotiations”, labelling Cardiff Bay’s input as “essential”.

Among his list of six priorities, which he delivered at a press conference, Jones said that participation in EU projects. such as the Common Agricultural Policy and structural funds, “under current terms”, must also continue.

Jones, also pointed out that Wales is in fact a net beneficiary of the EU and insisted that the UK’s withdrawal from the bloc must not cost Wales “a single penny”.

On whether there would be consequences for employment in Wales, Jones said that he feared there would be an impact, but moved to assure Welsh workers that his government would do its best to keep jobs in Wales. However, he voiced he concerns that “Wales’ competitors will be able to guarantee access to the single market.”

Despite Wales benefiting from between an estimated €653 and €747 million in EU investment per year, former industrial communities in deprived areas voted to Leave. The Labour First Minister said that this was because many of the residents of these areas felt alienated and saw the referendum as a chance to vote against David Cameron and his Conservative government.

Jones said that he had “lost count” of how many times people had told him that they would vote to leave for this very reason. He also criticised the British premier for calling the referendum so soon after local elections, concluding that he “chose where the battle would be fought. There are consequences to that decision”.

On the issue of whether he would resign, as David Cameron did earlier today (24 June), Jones said that he had done “everything I was asked to do”.

When asked about his Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, on whether the party leader had made a good enough case for the Remain campaign, Jones stopped short of criticising Corbyn. Instead he reiterated that there was no time to put together an effective cross-party campaign.

Archived: Britain votes to leave the European Union

The United Kingdom on Thursday (23 June) voted to leave the European Union, in a result that is likely to rock the 28-country bloc. Follow EURACTIV’s live feed for all the latest developments, as they happen.

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