11 Jan

Welsh EU membership – benefits & looming challenges

Egino research shows that Wales is a winner from EU membership.

The experience has not been without its challenges, but these have been far outweighed by the benefits.

The big numbers are impressive: £9 billion from EU Structural Funds and the Common Agricultural Policy between 2000 and 2013 alone – and even more from funds supporting learning, technology, cross-territorial cooperation, infrastructural upgrades and more.
In cash terms every woman, man and child has gained more than s/he has contributed, as shown by Egino research for Jill Evans MEP – a net gain of €1,768 each over the period we examined.

Beyond numbers

But numbers tell only part of the story.
EU membership helps protect employment rights and the environment. Serious sums are available to Wales for climate change action from 2014 to 2020.
At least 40% of Welsh overseas trade is with other EU countries, facilitated by tariff-free access to the Single Market. More than 190,000 Welsh jobs are in sectors heavily dependent on exports to other EU countries.

Welsh life and leisure

And then there’s the scale and spread of support for Welsh life and leisure. For a taste of that impact, consider these few examples, and read the report for more details.
• During the 2007-13 period alone EU finance helped 197,000 of us to gain new qualifications and more than 63,000 win work, and backed the creation of some 10,500 companies.
• Through the Agile Nation project, led by Chwarae Teg, Europe is promoting fair play for women in the workplace.
State-of-the-art projects backed by EU funding are boosting learning and research e.g.
• The £32.4m Learning Zone in Ebbw Vale offering new prospects to the former steel district.
• The Swansea University Institute of Life Sciences, which carries out research in areas such as cancer, obesity and diabetes.
• An Innovation and Enterprise Campus at Aberystwyth University where research is expected to generate new products, services and spin-out companies in sustainable food, health, biotechnology and renewable energy.

Enjoying Wales

If you enjoy team sports, like walking or cycling, or fancy learning to sail, your enjoyment may owe much to EU funds, which have backed projects such as these:
• The Wales Coast Path, the world’s first uninterrupted route along a national coast.
• The National Sailing Academy in Pwllheli.
• The 1,200 miles long National Cycle Network.
• Parc Eirias, home to the Wales under-20s rugby team and a cornerstone of regeneration plans for Colwyn Bay.


Our research has crunched the numbers for Wales in the EU and come up with a positive result.
We didn’t stop at the data: this paper also invites readers to consider some of the everyday facilities and future-facing projects that owe much to EU membership.
It also collates the EU funding commitments to Wales and other potential benefits up to 2020, if the UK remains a member of the EU.


With thanks to Jill Evans MEP for commissioning this research.

EU Membership: benefits and challenges for Wales – A research report for Jill Evans MEP