Plaid Cymru Shadow Cabinet Secretary for External Affairs, Steffan Lewis AM, has today urged the First Minister to develop a Welsh international policy in order to enhance Welsh trade, cultural and humanitarian links.
Steffan Lewis AM’s comments come as the First Minister travels to Brussels today to ask for £110m in EU funding for the South Wales Metro project.
The Plaid Cymru AM said that the fact the First Minister had bypassed Whitehall and gone straight to the EU shows that a distinct Welsh policy is “essential” and that the First Minister should appoint an External Affairs minister in order to strengthen Wales’s relationship with the EU and wider world.
Shadow Cabinet Secretary for External Affairs, Steffan Lewis AM said:
“I am pleased to see the First Minister in Brussels to make direct representations that will protect the Welsh economy following Brexit.
“However, the First Minister must develop a far more comprehensive Welsh international policy if our country’s global profile is to be enhanced rather than diminished in the long term.
“A policy of this kind should be up and running by the end of the Article 50 process with a view to developing Welsh trade, cultural and humanitarian links throughout the world.
“A key aspect of this policy should be the appointment of an External Affairs Minister to the Welsh Government.
“The Minister should be tasked with developing relationships with key individuals within the EU which would enable Wales to deal directly with governments on the continent, rather than rely on Westminster to do our bidding.
“Wales has a wealth of assets to offer in terms of trade, tourism and culture.
“As the UK governments seeks to withdraw from the world, Welsh government must keep Wales open for business.”