Plaid Cymru MEP Jill Evans has become First Vice President of the Green/European Free Alliance Group (EFA) in the European Parliament. Ms Evans was elected as President of EFA which has formed a joint group with the Greens since 1999 and automatically becomes the First Vice President of the group as a whole.
Photo: Jill Evans MEP (centre) with Frieda Brepoels (Flanders) and Ian Hudghton (Scottish National Party), President and Vice Presidents of the EFA Group in the European Parliament.
The European Free Alliance was formed in 1981 to work for a Europe in which nations, regions and language communities would have the right to their own identities and would work together to help shape a democratic and effective union. EFA brings together like minded parties from nations seeking independence or greater autonomy and those campaigning for minority rights.
Speaking after her election Jill Evans said:
"I am honoured to have been elected to lead our parliamentary group at such an important time in Welsh and European politics.
"If the European Union is to effectively support us through the economic crisis and lead the way in fighting climate change then it needs the input of all of us. That includes Wales, Scotland, Catalunya, Corsica, Flanders and all the nations and regions that are not yet represented in their own right in the EU.
"We believe the European Union has a key role to play in these issues as well as in protecting public services, defending human rights and contributing to international peace and disarmament. But it has to be a Europe in which people feel they matter.
"The European Parliament is a parliament for Wales as much as the House of Commons is, but it is seen as irrelevant and distant. The most effective way to reform Europe is to base that reform on the real Europe that exists rather than on the so-called nation states.
"In my new role I will be working with MEPs from across Europe and with the people of Wales to achieve that reform."