This article was published by the European Movement on 14 January 2014.
Will the proposed UK EU exit make Welsh independence inevitable? Should Wales follow Scotland if it votes ‘Yes’?
The benefits of EU membership are universally acknowledged in Wales and nobody in the mainstream of politics, business and academia in Wales wants to leave the European Union – at least no one I know.
But, this mantra of the UK’s departure of the EU has become an inescapable talking point of politics, inciting unnecessary instability in a time of persistent and deepening insecurity.
Yet, the mantra may have unintended and ironic consequences, especially for Wales, if it begins to take seriously the possibility of a UK exit of the EU.
Such an exit could force Wales to assert its independence for practical (social, political, economic) and philosophical (political and ethical) reasons.
There are serious questions to be asked regarding the security of Welsh development – and Welsh priorities – outside of the protections of the European Charter of Human Rights and significant EU treaties and documents outlining social and employment protections, rights to healthcare, academic freedom, environmental regulations… and the list goes on…
The Welsh Assembly Government has fought courageously to protect health rights, such as free prescriptions, and has placed a redoubled focus upon the project of sustainability. It has protected Welsh university students, even those going to university in England and Scotland… and the list goes on…