Welsh bishops are calling on the UK Government to put people first as it negotiates the country’s exit from the European Union.
As the Prime Minister triggered Article 50 to begin the process of leaving the EU, the bishops of the Church in Wales said inequality and disadvantage needed to be addressed in order to build a better Wales post-Brexit.
They said, “The vote to leave the European Union exposed deep divisions in society. Whilst some have benefitted from economic prosperity and the opportunities to travel, work, study and trade freely across European boundaries, for others, these things have been irrelevant. The causes of division and disaffection do not all lie with our membership of the EU, and if we are to build a better Wales post-Brexit, it is essential that we recognise and address each and every inequality and disadvantage which damage our sense of solidarity and of belonging to one another in our community.
“With this in mind, we urge those responsible for negotiations to prioritise the protection of human rights; to offer pro-actively security to individuals and families who have come to live within our borders; and to maintain the employment rights, safety standards, and environmental protections which have developed in common with our European partners over the past 40 years. It is equally important to continue support to those areas of Wales which are most affected by economic disadvantage, to promote the rural economy, and to support sectors which rely on European markets
“As Christians we recognise our common identity as children of God. Political differences will not marr our relationships with fellow-Christians in Europe and beyond, particularly through the worldwide Anglican Communion. We pray that Europe will continue to be a beacon of peace, hope and mutual endeavour across national boundaries; and that these will be qualities and endeavours in which we can continue to play a part.”
The Welsh bishops are:
Bishop of Swansea&Brecon, John Davies
Bishop of Bangor, Andrew John
Bishop of St Asaph, Gregory Cameron
Bishop of Monmouth, Richard Pain
Bishop of St Davids, Joanna Penberthy