What’s in store for Wales after the UK Brexit?
When the UK went into polls to vote for Brexit, 52% of Wales’s voters expressed their emphasis on leaving the EU. While some countries have been struggling and trying to meet the strict regulations for joining EU, Brexit came when it was least expected. Indeed, most of the suggestions about what would happen after Brexit were speculative. In this post, we focus on the bigger picture and demystify what is in store for Wales after Brexit.
Impact on Wales’ policies
Brexit will perhaps be felt more in Wales than any other part of the UK. The Wales devolution memorandum states that all laws that were passed when the UK was a member of EU had to be in line with EU law. Now that Wales and the entire UK are not part of EU, all the enacted legislation will require some review. Note that; this could get complicated because such changes have to be approved by the assembly. If the Assembly declines, the situation for the Wales administration could become very tricky.
Wales, just like other local authorities was responsible for implementing the EU policies that touched on many areas including rural affairs, environment, education, health, agriculture, food, and Health. Now it will be difficult for EU to continue applying the same policies because Wales is no longer under its jurisdiction. The agreements might require renegotiation or have the roles previously played by the EU transferred to the UK government.
Severing of funding from the EU
Wales was a direct beneficially of funding from the EU especially through Agricultural policy and structural funds for rural areas. Between year 20114 and 2020, the total for the two main areas was £500 million. The amount of these funds that was not relayed is likely to be cut short leaving Wales with a burden of seeking alternative funds.
In addition to the two programs, organizations in Wales were also eligible to apply for various funding programs such as The European Maritime and Fisheries Funds, Horizon 2020, and Creative Europe Programme. This will now be tough to get because the UK is an outside.
Though UK was paying more that it received from the EU, cutting the ties leaves one question; will the government replace the funding that was going to the EU to fund what Wales was getting?
Difficulties trading directly with EU
Approximately 45% of all the products produced in Wales were exported to the EU. In 2015, a total of £5 billion worth of goods were exported to the EU. On the other hand, Wales imported £3.6 billion worth of goods. This demonstrates a robust form of business partnership. Further trade with EU will now be dependent on negotiations between the EU and UK administration. If such negotiations do not bear results or take a long time, there is a risk of products from Wales being subjected to huge taxation to access EU market.