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Get Euro aid for Murco workers says Plaid MEP

Plaid Cymru MEP Jill Evans has called on the UK Government to apply for European funding to help the 400 workers facing redundancy with the closure of the Murco refinery in Milford Haven. Production there is expected to end after a sale to a Swiss company fell through.

Jill Evans wants Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb, who's also the local MP, to get the UK Government to apply for funding from the European Union's Globalisation Adjustment Fund. It supports workers who lose their jobs and small businesses which close down as a result of changes in world trade and the global economic crisis.

Any payment from the fund would reduce the size of Britain's EU rebate.

The Secretary of State for Wales has called this 'a hammer blow for the local economy'. That merits the strongest response and I call on him to ensure the UK government does not block an application to the globalisation adjustment fund.

– Jill Evans MEP

Plaid back Juncker for EU Commission President

Plaid Cymru MEP Jill Evans was one of very few MEPs from the UK to vote for Jean-Claude Juncker as European Commission President -and almost certainly the only one from Wales. Mr Juncker, whose nomination was bitterly opposed by the Prime Minister, secured the votes of 422 MEPs in a secret ballot.

He needed at least 376 votes to secure his new job in today's election in Strasbourg. Welsh Conservative Kay Swinburne and UKIP's Nathan Gill both belong to political groups in the European Parliament that told their MEPs to vote against. Labour defied the Socialist group's support for Mr Juncker.

That left Welsh Labour's Derek Vaughan under orders from his party to oppose the nomination. The Greens were also against but their allies in the European Free Alliance, including Jill Evans, were impressed by Mr Juncker, who's sympathetic to allowing an independent Scotland to stay in the EU.

I always vote in the Welsh national interest in the European Parliament and that's why I voted for Mr Juncker today. I urge the Welsh government to engage with him directly to get the best deal for Wales and the Welsh economy and not to let David Cameron isolate us in Europe.

He comes from Luxembourg, another small European nation, but one that has prospered in the EU as an independent member state. He is on record as being a supporter of EU funding for poorer regions and he supports a minimum income across Europe. He is also opposed to fracking and is open to EU reform.

Although he supported the austerity measures and public spending cuts which I strongly opposed, he recognises the need now for investment in jobs, especially for young people. He has put forward a ten point plan for the new Commission's work and I will be looking at how to get the best deal for Wales from that."

– Plaid Cymru MEP Jill Evans

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Only we stand up for Wales in EU say Plaid

Plaid Cymru has launched its European election manifesto, claiming that it is the only party that can be relied on to look after the interests of Wales and its people. Their lead candidate, Jill Evans said 150,000 Welsh jobs depend on EU trade but that Wales could benefit further.

There is a huge amount at stake here. 150,000 Welsh jobs depend upon trade with the European Union. We get funding for investment, training and education, and to improve our infrastructure. Plaid Cymru wants an outward looking and confident Wales – creating sustainable jobs, a better healthcare service, a better educated workforce and a high standard of living.

– Plaid Cymru MEP Jill Evans

The party's been trailing in the polls behind Labour, UKIP and the Conservatives, leaving Jill Evans in danger of losing her seat in the election on May 22. Plaid Cymru's leader Leanne Wood stressed what she said was Plaid's difference from other parties.

All UK based parties have used rhetoric on migration and Euro-scepticism to get easy votes in this election. To all those who want to distance themselves from such rhetoric; to those who want to put international cooperation on regulating bankers, clamping down on tax avoidance, climate change and peace at the heart of European politics, and in particular to those who want to stop the far right gaining ground in Wales: I'd ask you all to back Plaid Cymru.

– Plaid Cymru Leader Leanne Wood AM

The Welsh Conservatives are also launching their manifesto this morning, with Labour, UKIP and the Liberal Democrats all due to formally kick off their campaigns later in the week.

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.

Leaving EU is biggest threat to investment say Plaid

Plaid Cymru say the Conservatives' proposals for attracting and retaining more foreign investment in Wales ignore the biggest threat to inward investment. The party says the Euroscepticism of many Tories is a grave danger to jobs at factories owned overseas.

The biggest threat to inward investment in this country is the prospect of Wales being dragged out of the European Union. The Party of Wales is committed to a rebalanced economy that embraces indigenous small and medium-sized enterprises alongside a healthy foreign investment sector.

– Plaid Cymru MEP Jill Evans

Plaid Cymru has to take poll seriously says its MEP

Plaid Cymru MEP Jill Evans has said that the latest opinion poll showing a narrow majority of Welsh voters wanting Britain to leave the European Union has to be take seriously.

The poll also found that she could find herself in a close fight with UKIP and Labour to hold her seat in next years European elections. The pictures are from the European Parliament.

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Plaid MEP reselected

Plaid Cymru MEP Jill Evans has kept her place at the top of her party's list for next year's European elections. First elected to the European Parliament in 1999, she will stand again after winning a ballot of Plaid members. The party will field a full list of candidates for Wales' four seats.

  • Jill Evans
  • Marc Jones
  • Steven Cornelius
  • Ioan Bellin

Marc Jones is a Wrexham councillor; Steven Cornelius works for the European Free Alliance, the group in the European Parliament that includes Plaid Cymru; Ioan Bellin is a former Westminster and Assembly candidate in Pontypridd.

The European Parliament is not perfect and it does need reform. However it must always be remembered that it gives more back to Wales in funding than it receives from us. Until our economic performance is raised significantly and some parts of the valleys cease to be among the poorest parts of Europe, this will continue to be the case. We now need to ensure that every pound we receive from the European Parliament is put to good use and harnessed to develop our economy. Our poverty is not inevitable and Plaid Cymru also believes that Wales can do so much better than we are at the moment.

– Jill Evans MEP

European elections are increasingly close fights. In 1999, when Wales had five seats Plaid Cymru and Labour each had two MEPs and the Conservatives one. At the last election, in 2009, the Conservatives topped the poll, taking one seat, as did Labour, Plaid Cymru and UKIP.

EU aid cut 'devastating' - Plaid

Following the announcement of the amount of European aid Wales will get, Plaid Cymru MEP Jill Evans says,

The confirmation that Wales is set to lose £75m of European funding is devastating news for our nation.

While it is a welcome fact that the cut is less than initially feared, we must remember that no cut would have taken place had the Government not been aided and abetted by Labour MPs from Wales.

As a net beneficiary of EU membership, parts of Wales receive structural funds for all-important fields such as agriculture and education - funding which is vital for some of our poorest communities. Some of these are not only the worst off areas in Wales but throughout the whole of Europe.

Areas such as West Wales and the Valleys are new set to miss out on vital EU cash that could have helped strengthen and develop our economy.

Plaid Cymru maintains that Wales' future lies within Europe where support and cooperation between nations can bring mutual social and economic benefits.

– Jill Evans MEP, Plaid Cymru