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Crabb to warn against 'fear' tactics in EU campaign

Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb will use a speech in Cardiff to warn EU referendum campaigners. Credit: PA

Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb is expected to warn both sides in the forthcoming referendum on EU membership not to try to "bully" the electorate. He'll tell business leaders in Cardiff later today that "anything that smells of 'project fear' from either side will fail".

Despite explicitly appealing to campaigners both for and against staying in EU, Mr Crabb will make clear his disapproval of arguments based on fears about Britain's economic and military security if the UK leaves. It's a position that will chime with the views of the many Eurosceptics in the Conservative party.

European aid will have a real impact says minister

The Welsh Government has welcomed the agreement on how the next £2 billion of European aid will be spent in Wales. The minister who negotiated the deal, Jane Hutt, says that it will deliver real economic growth and jobs.

This announcement is a significant milestone with the European Commission confirming Structural Fund allocations to Wales of over £2 billion. This is great news for Wales and this new EU funding will have a real impact on the Welsh economy and job creation. It will help us deliver more innovative and inspiring EU-funded projects.

– Finance Minister Jane Hutt AM

There's been criticism that previous rounds of European aid have been spent on too many small projects, which though worthwhile in themselves did not improve the prosperity of West Wales and the Valleys. The area remains one of the poorest parts of the entire European Union.

Whilst this funding will be welcomed, we must not forget that it has only been granted due to the failure of successive Welsh Labour Governments to improve Wales’ economic performance in previous tranches. Back in 2000, former First Minister Rhodri Morgan described Objective 1 funding as a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity. Well here we are again, and under Welsh Labour parts of Wales remain amongst the poorest areas in the EU, never mind the United Kingdom

– Welsh Conservative Leader Andrew RT Davies AM

One of the main beneficiaries of the new funding will be the South East Wales metro plan to improve public transport, after the Welsh Government successfully argued in Brussels that some of the money had to be spent on transport if the aid programme was to achieve any lasting economic improvement.

Wales can't afford to leave EU says First Minister

With elections to the European Parliament just weeks away, Carwyn Jones is also expected to use his conference speech to emphasise what he says are the benefits to Wales from being part of the European Union.

Wales has always been proudly European. We have always seen the very real benefits of being a part of a wider European ideal – with shared values and principles.

Economically we cannot afford to leave and it’s time we had a proper debate about the very serious consequences that withdrawal would have on the very fabric of Welsh life.

– Carwyn Jones AM, Welsh Labour leader

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EU must change to benefit Wales says Plaid MEP

In her speech to Plaid Cymru's conference, the party's MEP is expected to say the European Union needs a shake-up to make it 'more relevant' and 'more democratic.' JIll Evans says she wants to return to Brussels to complete 'unfinished business.'

She's the longest-serving of Wales' current group of four MEPs, having first been elected in 1999. But she faces an uphill struggle for re-election in May with support growing for UKIP.

She's expected to tell delegates,

The European Union is a remarkable achievement. But now is the time for change to make it more relevant, more democratic and more successful.

It has led the way on combatting climate change, but it is losing its nerve at the very time when we need radical and positive action.

As a nation with natural assets and huge potential as a powerhouse for renewable energy, Wales should be working in close partnership with the EU and internationally to develop that potential. We need ambitious targets if we are to tackle this serious problem.

I aim to be back in Parliament after the May election, to continue to work for the Welsh national interest and for EU reforms so that the people of Wales benefit fully from membership. Europe must work for Wales.

Opinion shifts on European Referendum and on Welsh Income Tax

Despite the strong showing in UKIP support for this May's European Election, the Wales Barometer Poll shows that supporters of staying in the European Union now outnumber those who would vote in a referendum to leave the EU.

  • Stay in EU 41% (38% in December)
  • Leave EU 38% (40% in December)
  • Don't know/Won't vote 22% (22% in December)

Meanwhile, as the prospect of a referendum on the devolution of income tax powers appears to be receding, support for the whole idea is also in decline.

  • Yes 31% (35% in December)
  • No 42% (38% in December)
  • Don't know/Won't vote 28% (26% in December)
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