This article was originally published on 30 January 2017. It is being reposted ahead of the Plenary debate on 28 March 2017.
The Assembly’s External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee (@SeneddEAAL) has published its first report on the Implications for Wales of leaving the EU. The report is divided into two parts.
Part 1 of the report sets out the Committee’s conclusions on the key implications for Wales of leaving the EU. These conclusions are based on a range of seminars and evidence sessions the Committee held with leading experts on a range of key topics including trade, public services, EU funding, higher education and the environment.
Key conclusions include:
- Given the importance of manufacturing to Wales, the imposition of any tariffs poses a significant risk for this sector, especially for manufacturers that exist within global value chains;
- There are significant risk to the trade in agricultural products;
- Without careful consideration, restricting the ability of EU citizens to work in the UK after Brexit will have adverse consequences for many public services, some businesses and future infrastructure projects in Wales.
- The most urgent issue for the higher education sector in Wales is clarification on the status of EU Citizens working and studying in Wales;
- The Welsh Government should take a lead in preparing public services for the challenges ahead.
Part 2 of the report focusses on the Welsh Government’s response to the referendum, Wales’ voice in the negotiations and the future of inter-governmental relations in the UK. On this subject the Committee makes six recommendations in addition to drawing a number of key conclusions.
Key recommendations include:
- That the Welsh Government publishes all the evidence on which it has based its White Paper including details of the scenario modelling that has been done across all sectors.
- That the Welsh Government provides the Committee with a register of risks across all areas where Brexit will impact upon its activity.
- That the Welsh Government sets-out the steps it has taken since 24 June 2016 to ensure that the maximum amount of European funding is secured and utilised before Wales exits the EU.
- That the Welsh Government presses the UK Government for full involvement in shaping its negotiating position and direct participation in those negotiations which involve devolved powers, or issues that affect devolved powers.
- The Committee also concludes that ‘constitutional appropriateness’ requires the Assembly’s consent through Legislative Consent Motions for key potential Brexit-related Acts of the UK Parliament.
- The Committee notes that if the Great Repeal Bill encroaches on the devolution settlement it would support the principle of protecting the devolution settlement through the introduction of a Welsh Continuation Bill.
A Continuation Bill would restate the existence in the law of Wales of:
- all domestic law applicable to Wales made for the purposes of implementing any EU-law obligation/discretion, and
- all directly applicable/directly effective rights and obligations deriving from EU law
that fall within the Assembly’s competence.
The Committee sets out its hope that the report will act as a point of reference to inform the broader debate in Wales, and beyond, about the UK’s exit from the EU and will be used by other organisations as they begin to consider the implications for Wales.
You can find out more about the work of the Committee and its up-coming work on the Committee website.
Article by Nia Moss, National Assembly for Wales Research Service.