At the beginning of February, a range of third sector organisations from across Wales took part in a trip, funded by Welsh Government’s European Transition Fund. The trip was to build on the First Minister’s commitment ‘that we may be leaving the institutions of Europe but we are still part of Europe’.
It enabled delegates to explore and engage in conversations with a wide variety of European organisations and networks, working on a range of issues and problems which are mirrored across Europe and beyond. Areas of interest included citizens’ rights, civic pride, health and care, poverty, participative democracy and social action, to name a few.
The meetings provided an opportunity to consider how existing links could be maintained and new ones forged, now the UK has officially left the European Union
The message received throughout the trip was that European networks are not closed to Wales. There is a genuine enthusiasm and passion to ensure that our shared values form the basis of building future relationships to benefit the most deprived in our communities.
Phil Fiander, Deputy Chief Executive of WCVA said ‘This is an important time to be engaging with civil society across Europe as we enter this new relationship with our European partners. The European project has always been about more than just trade, it’s been about peace and bringing people together.
This has been a fantastic opportunity to for civil society to promote and forge links for the future so that we can remain a key part of the fabric of Europe. The response during our visit from our European counterparts have been nothing short of amazing it’s great to know we are on the same page and will be working together for years to come.’
Charles Whitmore, Brexit Civil Society Forum Coordinator said ‘Civil Society is an essential component in ensuring that in Wales we remain an open and internationally minded nation. From international and cross border volunteering to information, knowledge and good practice sharing, it is essential that we as Civil Society keep the connections and dialogue that has been established between Europe and Wales alive despite Brexit’
To find out more about the work of the Empowering Communities in the Context of Brexit project which funded this work come along to our session at gofod3. For more information on how to register click here.