Wales’ future relationship with Europe. Part one: a view from Wales

Author (Corporate)
Series Title
Series Details March 2018
Publication Date 27/03/2018
Content Type

The External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee of the National Assembly for Wales published a report called Wales’ future relationship with Europe. Part one: a view from Wales in March 2018.

The report set out the views of different stakeholders and sectors in Wales on what should be included within a future relationship agreement with the EU.

Further information

The Committee argued that the Welsh Government must continue to call on the UK Government to ensure that preferential market access, free from both tariff and non-tariff barriers, was prioritised in the forthcoming negotiations on the UK's future relationship with the European Union (EU).

The Committee was concerned about the potential adverse economic consequences for Wales if tariff and barrier-free market access was not secured in Britain's post Brexit relationship with the EU.

During the course of its inquiry the Committee was told that frictionless trade and the avoidance of tariff and non-tariff barriers were a priority for many industries in Wales.

The Committee was not persuaded of the value of regulatory divergence after Brexit. The evidence received during its inquiry overwhelmingly prioritises the maintenance of equivalent regulatory standards to ensure preferential market access over regulatory divergence after Brexit in a wide range of sectors including health, automotive, farming, and food.

The Committee also called on the Welsh Government to work with the UK Government to ensure that any post Brexit relationship includes:

+ continued participation in the European Medicines Agency and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control;

+ involvement in Horizon 2020 and any successor programmes; and

+ continued participation in Erasmus+ and other educational mobility and student cooperation schemes.

Subsequent developments

At its meeting on 21 May 2018, the Committee agreed to undertake a Part Two inquiry focusing on which networks, relationships and institutions should be prioritised, and crucially how these relationships could be sustained in future.

The terms of reference for the inquiry were:

+ examine how the Welsh Government should prioritise its future external relations with key European institutions, regions and networks, including the support it provided to trade associations and civil society;

+ explore how third countries and sub state nations and regions engaged with the EU and EU institutions, and the grounds for cooperation, in order to identify potential models that could be adopted by Wales after Brexit; and

+ explore the National Assembly for Wales’ own relationships with European networks and institutions and make recommendations on how these could be taken forward after Brexit.

The Inquiry began in June 2018.

On 16 May 2018 the Welsh Government laid its response to part one of the report. The report and response was debated in Plenary on 23 May 2018.

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Related Links
Wales: National Assembly for Wales: Assembly Business: Committees
ESO: In Focus: Brexit - The United Kingdom and the European Union
ESO: Find more information on Wales and the EU Referendum, 23 June 2016
Wales: National Assembly for Wales: Assembly Business: Wales' future relationship with Europe
Wales: NAW: News, 27.03.18: Committee says continued market access to the EU is essential for Wales after Brexit

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