A historic moment is unfolding as a delegation from Wales embarks on a mission to the European Parliament, bringing the case for Welsh independence to the forefront. The delegation will participate in the annual International Commission Of European Citizens (ICEC) conference, marking the first time a Welsh group will address the European stage on the matter of independence.
The ICEC conference, set to be attended by Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), European Commissioners, international press, and delegates from across Europe, serves as a platform for academics and independence campaigners from various regions, including Scotland, Catalonia, Flanders, the Basque Country, Veneto, and South Tyrol. Each delegation has crafted a documentary film in their native languages, providing a poignant visual backdrop to their presentations.
The overarching objective of the conference is to challenge archaic laws still wielded by former European imperial states to assert political authority over nations trapped within their borders. Since March 2023, the Campaign for Welsh Independence, YesCymru, joined ICEC as full members, paving the way for a Welsh presence in the EU Parliament.
Prominent figures in the Welsh delegation include Jill Evans, former Plaid Cymru MEP; Iestyn ap Rhobert, founding member of YesCymru and Wales spokesperson for ICEC_Cymru; and Simon Hobson, director on the YesCymru National Governing Board.
ICEC contends that these ancient laws contribute to an extractive economy, resulting in asset stripping, cultural and linguistic erosion, democratic rights violations, and environmental abuse in nations held captive within larger states.
In a poignant example, the Crown Estate in Wales has siphoned billions of pounds from the Welsh economy to Westminster, in stark contrast to the devolved Crown Estate in Scotland. This financial disparity exemplifies the longstanding historical injustices Wales has faced, including the Statutes of Wales (1284), the Acts of Union (1536 and 1542), the Treason of the Blue Books (1847-1848), and the limitations imposed by the Government of Wales Act (1998).
The situation is not unique to Wales. Catalonia’s attempt at an independence referendum in 2017 faced violent opposition from the Spanish Central Government, highlighting the challenges faced by nations seeking autonomy.
ICEC firmly believes that true equity and justice in Europe can only be achieved when captive nations gain independence. Anna Arqué, spokesperson for ICEC_Catalonia, stated, “In 2024, the EU Commission is likely to examine how the EU responds to countries seeking freedom. Working closely with our partners, we aim to challenge ongoing injustices and promote freedom and justice for all European nations.”
Iestyn ap Rhobert, spokesperson for ICEC-Cymru, added, “Being part of ICEC allows Wales’ campaign for independence to resonate in other European nations. Wales seeks collaboration in a constructive and peaceful manner, aiming to inform and create awareness within Wales about independence campaigns across Europe.”