Interviews with Euro candidates: Jill Evans MEP, Plaid Cymru

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We put the same 6 questions to a number of prospective MEPs ahead of this Thursdays elections, on austerity, the far right, European integration, the CAP and more. Here are Jill Evans' answers.

ourKingdom editors
21 May 2014

Where do you stand on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership?

I have been calling for a freeze in the TTIP negotiations. TTIP could threaten core EU standards and rules in areas such as public services, intellectual property and GMOs. USA lobbing shows they want to scrap geographical indicators which would mean that we will no longer be able to use our Welsh stamp of quality on our produce. The TTIP negotiations are being held between the European Commission and the US negotiators behind closed doors. The European Parliament as the democratically-elected body should have more of a say, MEPs should be able to vote at every stage of the agreement and not just at the end. There is so much at stake here and that is why I am calling for a freeze on TTIP negotiations. We have the right to know what is being negotiated.

 Does the Eurozone require fiscal integration if it is going to survive?

 Fiscal integration is not essential for the EU to survive, however, a fiscal union with proper institutions would be able to provide joined-up management of the EU economy as a whole and help ensure that the EU's finances remain stable. 

What will you do about the expected rise of the far right in Europe?

Far right extremism has become a Europe-wide problem and Member State governments must work together to tackle this problem and shared examples of good practice. Governments need to have clear, comprehensive legislation on perpetrators of hate crime. The EU can put pressure on Member States to do so by implementing an EU framework on hate crime as well as a Directive on the rights of those who have been victims of hate crime. This was recommended in a report published earlier this year by the Swedish government and the Institute for Strategic Dialogue. I will be putting pressure on the European Commission to draw up this legislation.

 What will you do about migrants drowning in attempts to reach Europe?

 The EU needs to work with governments of third countries to build a strategy to tackle this problem. We need a long-term EU-wide strategy to address the problems that cause so many migrants to flee their countries in boats to come to Europe. We must do more to prevent and manage crises that occur around the Mediterranean. 

Does the Common Agriculture Policy need to be reformed? If so, how?

During the CAP reform negotiations I worked with colleagues from other nations to ensure that the agricultural reforms did not penalise Welsh farmers who had already adopted environmental programmes. We also secured a transition period sufficient for farmers to adapt to the new payment regime. Despite these achievements, the results of the CAP reform are mixed and I want to see more changes in order to ensure Welsh farmers are getting the best deal from Europe. The role of farmers is vital for food production, food security and the countryside.

Austerity across Europe has had some very mixed results. Is fiscal tightening and balancing budgets still the best way forward or is it time for a new approach?

Plaid Cymru opposed the austerity measures which have caused such suffering to people across the EU. We called instead for investment to create sustainable jobs. I was the only Welsh MEP to vote against a cut in the EU budget. Wales is a net beneficiary of the EU providing funding through CAP, structural funds and research programmes. This funding is vital to the economy of Wales.

I support the creation of a Financial Transaction Tax. It is time for the banks to give something back to the people. The financial sector which has received massive injections of public money has the opportunity to repay that debt but the UK government are refusing. An FTT would raise millions of pounds. Plaid Cymru has long campaigned for a fairer tax system to invest in growth and develop a more sustainable economy. The FTT will help deliver the global Robin Hood Tax which Plaid Cymru are pushing for. The very wealthy cannot continue to receive tax-cuts, whilst 99% of the population suffers financial hardship.

Taking the EU as a whole, do you support the continued policy of "ever closer union" or do you favour moving back towards more national autonomy?

 The EU has prevented war between European countries for decades and it should establish a new global role for itself in preventing conflict. There are problems which we all face in Europe which are much easier to fight as a union.The threat of climate change is greater than ever and can only be tackled with international co-operation and the EU should lead the way. The EU sets food safety standards ensuring that they are the same across Europe. The horsemeat scandal highlighted a need to work even closer together on food traceability. EU reform is necessary and we want the most radical reform, which is equality for all the nations and languages of the EU. The Welsh national interest is different to the UK interest and we want to cast  our own vote. EFA has long promoted a second chamber of the European Parliament to make it more democratic and effective. 


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