1. ITV Report

Plaid report promises more clout in Brussels

The report has been produced by a Brussels think tank Photo: Centre Maurits Coppieters

Plaid Cymru are launching a report at Westminster later today, which the party says demonstrates the advantages to Wales of gaining direct membership of the European Union. It argues that there would be more Welsh political clout in the EU than at present and Wales would be able to better protect its own national interests.

The report makes the point that a country of Wales' size would get more members of the European Parliament and would be entitled to nominate a European Commissioner. Welsh ministers would no longer have to stick to the UK line when they go to Brussels. Wales would be able to bargain with its votes when deals are done at European summits.

The report argues that there would be no legal obstacle to Wales becoming a full member state of the European Union upon achieving independence. It would inherit the laws and obligations of the United Kingdom and so meet the membership criteria. These arguments apply equally to Scotland and the report is likely to contribute to the debate on Scottish independence.

However, the report also demonstrates why the existing member states might obstruct this process. More power for Wales and Scotland would have to come from somewhere and under the EU's rules it would not be England. For example, Wales would get five extra members of the European Parliament, Scotland six more. Northern Ireland and England would each get another four.

This exercise assumes that other new member states, such as the different parts of Belgium, would join at the same time and also get enhanced representation. The losers would range from the biggest EU country, Germany (15 fewer MEPs) to one of the smallest, Lithuania, which would lose three of its representatives.