Plaid Cymru’s leader has said that Wales has “much to learn” from Catalonia as she met with the country’s President in Brussels today.
After meeting with Carles Puigdemont, who is currently in exile in Brussels, Leanne Wood said that it was an opportunity to show how much people in Wales respected his courage.
“It was an honour to meet President Puigdemont and to express solidarity with the Catalan people in their campaign for independence,” she said.
“The President, his Ministers and many people in Catalonia have suffered the repression of the Spanish state.
“I was pleased to personally convey so many people in Wales’s respect for the courage demonstrated by the Catalan independence movement.
“We in Wales have much to learn from the way in which they have decided that decisions affecting people in Catalonia should be taken fully by them.
“As the President said himself, the struggle for self-determination has democracy at its core, and I give him, his colleagues and supporters the utmost support in the next phase of their campaign.”
Plaid Cymru’s delegation had travelled to Brussels today to discuss maintaining economic and diplomatic ties with other EU counttries in the wake of Brexit.
As well as Catalan leaders, Leanne Wood and Westminster leader Liz Saville Roberts MP attended meetings with representatives of the Scottish and Irish governments.
They said that the National Assembly should have the same right as all European national and regional parliaments to approve or reject a Brexit deal that hurt Wales’ economy.
“As the Brexit talks proceed it becomes clearer that Wales’s voice is being ignored by Westminster,” Plaid Cymru’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for the Economy, Adam Price, said.
“That is why a Plaid Cymru delegation is travelling to the heart of the EU this week with an united message that remaining in the single market and customs union, and protecting trade links are in the best interests of the Welsh economy.
“We already know that the final Brexit trade deal struck with the EU will have to be agreed by over 40 national and regional European parliaments.
“It is inconceivable that the region of Wallonia will have a say on a trade deal that will directly impact the Welsh economy while our own National Assembly will not.
“Last week, my colleagues Steffan Lewis succeeded in securing unanimous support in the Senedd for his proposal for a Welsh Continuity Bill to prevent a Westminster power grab.
“Plaid Cymru now wants to see the Assembly unite yet again to demand the right to withold consent for any Brexit trade deal that would be detrimental to the Welsh economy.”
Plaid Cymru’s MEP, Jill Evans MEP, who was one of the European Parliament’s leading campaigners against the ‘TTIP’ trade deal, said that it was vital that they focus on trade.
“It is vital that Plaid Cymru focuses on the future of trade, including any trade deal which might be reached between Wales, the UK and the European Uniom,” she said.
“Remaining in the Single Market and Customs Union is the best way to ensure Welsh prosperity, but the European Parliament, EU Commission and UK are now moving towards trade talks.
“Trade deals don’t just cover goods being bought and sold. They influence regulation, the environment, and public services. Plaid Cymru has always argued that public services should not be opened up to international markets. We always aim to put people before profits.
“As Member of the European Parliament I have repeatedly sought to protect Wales from bad trade deals like TTIP, whilst promoting the rest of Europe as a destination for Welsh products. The Welsh national interest demands that we play a full role in shaping any future trade deals.”