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GlobalWelsh on Wales in a post-Brexit Europe

06 Oct, 2018

Our founder Walter May recently represented GlobalWelsh at the Senedd’s External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee to discuss Wales’ place in Europe following Brexit.

Taking place at the the National Assembly for Wales and hosted by Committee President David Rees AM, alongside AMs David Melding, Jane Hutt and Mark Reckless - the session invited several external guests to discuss opportunities and challenges for Wales using insights from their unique professional backgrounds and organisational experience.

Walter was joined by Auriol Miller of the Institute of Welsh Affairs and Sir Emyr Jones Parry from the Learned Society of Wales. Sir Emyr Jones Parry highlighted the importance to the committee of the role devolution has – and in pressing Wales’ case in London. Mr Jones Parry also urged committee members to be mindful of Welsh assets, influence and ‘soft power’.

Sir Emyr Jones Parry said:

“Brexit is going to be traumatic, is traumatic, for all of the United Kingdom. It's going to be especially difficult for Wales. We are going to suffer as much as the worst in any part of the kingdom. We need, therefore, an engaged nation—all of us, not just Government; it's the whole business of Wales speaking for Wales in a much louder way than has been the case in the past….”

Auriol Miller, Director of the Institute for Welsh Affairs stressed that there are many strands of good practice in terms of in terms of strategies to strengthen relations both within the EU and internationally – for example strategies of regions such as Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Catalonia and the Basque Country but that

“What is lacking is an overarching strategy in terms of pulling them together…. at the moment, there is a plethora of opportunities and the challenge will be to focus resources in the places that will make the most sustained difference and have the greatest impact.”

Mr May stated that GlobalWelsh had an important part to play in terms of connecting the Welsh diaspora, and that there could be as few as twenty people who could have a disproportionate impact on Wales’ economic fortunes.

Walter was also able to highlight the research conducted in 2015 regarding a number of nations who are already implementing diaspora engagement work, including New Zealand, Scotland, Portugal and India.

He also appealed to the Welsh Government to do more to help scale the work of GlobalWelsh, particularly now Brexit brings the importance of this work in to focus.

He told the committee that it was imperative to engage with the very successful Welsh people overseas in order help Wales think more internationally and be more aspirational.

“We have these friends of Wales out there, and we want to utilise that talent - that wealth, for us to all prosper. Let's focus on what we can control, what we can influence. We have a wealth of talent and knowledge in our diaspora that can make a huge impact on our future success. Consider them the cavalry waiting for the clarion call….there are a lot of people out there waiting to help”.

To see the full transcript, visit the Committee’s Proceedings Page