Plaid warns Westminster must not be barrier between Wales and the world

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AMs to use Assembly debate to outline plan to safeguard higher education post-Brexit

Plaid Cymru has today highlighted the importance of the European Union to Wales’s higher education sector and urged the Labour Welsh Government to adopt a five-point plan to safeguard its future post-Brexit.

Speaking before the debate, Plaid Cymru Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Education, Llyr Gruffydd AM who will lead the party’s contribution, highlighted figures showing that Wales’s higher education sector received €140m from the EU’s framework programme during the 2007-2013 round, and that Welsh Universities received around £180m of capital funding from the European Investment Bank between 2011 and 2016.

He added that an acceptable Brexit deal for Wales would see the nation continue to attract students from across the globe and enable our universities to secure key funding, and warned that Westminster must not be a barrier between Wales and the world.

Llyr Gruffydd AM said:

“Plaid Cymru’s debate today will seek to highlight the importance of our higher education sector in terms of offering important opportunities for people in Wales and securing substantial economic benefits across the country.

“We believe that a vibrant and successful higher education sector is a vital component of a prosperous Wales, and that the Labour Welsh Government should do all it can to protect the sector’s sustainability for the future.

“Not only does a thriving higher education sector secure economic benefits, it also enriches our nation culturally and socially allowing Wales to reach out and engage with countries and institutions worldwide.

“Brexit hold the potential to have a significant negative impact on higher education institutions. That is why we are calling on the Welsh Government to adopt a five-point plan in order to safeguard the sector.

“This would include:

1. Protecting existing EU programmes and funding for research and higher education or providing replacement programmes and funding
2. Ensuring that Welsh universities continue to participate in the Erasmus+ staff and student exchange programme, and supporting greater international cooperation and exchange in terms of students, researchers and staff
3. Ensuring visa status and citizenships for EU citizens working Welsh universities
4. Enabling Welsh universities to take part in a post-study work visa plan
5. Removing international students from the UK’s net migration targets

“There is no doubt that Wales’s economy and education sector has benefitted from EU membership. Plaid Cymru urges the Government to ensure that our nation does not lose out post-Brexit and that Westminster is not allowed to become a barrier between Wales and the world.”

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