First Minister and Rural Affairs Secretary will meet key figures from Wales’ environment and agriculture sectors today, to discuss the implications of the UK’s decision to leave the European Union.
The First Minister and the Cabinet Secretary have emphasised that agricultural and environmental policy is entirely devolved to Wales, creating an opportunity for the sector and Welsh Government to work together to form future programmes, policies and regulations tailor made for Wales’ unique needs.
The Royal Welsh Show brings together people with an interest in all aspects of farming, food and the environment and provides an opportunity to continue with the ongoing discussions on the future of Wales outside of the EU.
Speaking ahead of the Royal Welsh Show, the Cabinet Secretary said:
“Wales’ relationship with the EU underpins virtually every area of my portfolio, from the single market and trade relations, to regulation, subsidy and investment.
“Britain’s decision to exit the EU has created uncertainty, particularly as we wait for the UK Government to trigger negotiations on the withdrawal and on our future relationship with Europe. However, I want to use this week to reassure the industry of my commitment to protecting our rural interests and exploring every opportunity to benefit our farming, land management and food sectors.
“The Show is also an opportunity to celebrate and help showcase this vibrant industry and all it has achieved and can achieve going forward.
“Following the Brexit vote I have seen a real readiness from the whole sector to work together. We must build on this to meet the challenges and grasp the opportunities this decision and our devolution settlement gives us to form a made-in-Wales approach to future policies and to forge a new, distinct path for Wales’ farming food and environmental sectors.”
During the first day of the Royal Welsh Show the Cabinet Secretary will hold a second roundtable event with key representatives of Wales’ rural affairs and environment sector to discuss the future post Brexit.
Top of the agenda at the meeting will be discussions on trade implications. The Cabinet Secretary will underscore her determination to secure the best future trading arrangement possible for our sectors.
This meeting follows a successful initial meeting where the First Minister and the Cabinet Secretary listened to the concerns of the farming and fishing communities, rural businesses and environmental bodies.
The Cabinet Secretary added:
“For now we are still in the EU and all the rules and regulations still apply. There will be no immediate changes to these or to current EU investment and funding.
“The First Minister has given his assurance he will work tirelessly to seek guarantees from the UK Government that Wales will not be financially worse off as a result of the UK leaving the EU. We also need businesses and investors in Wales to continue with uninterrupted access to the Single Market now and in the future.
“I believe the long-term prospects for Welsh agriculture remain strong and I am committed to using this week to listen to the industry and ensure these views and ideas form the basis of our negotiations with the UK Government over the terms of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.”