What does the EU vote pledge mean for a nuclear Wales?
- 24 January 2013
- From the section Wales politics
How will David Cameron's pledge to hold an in/out referendum on Europe affect foreign investment here?
It's an obvious question, and one I asked Welsh Secretary David Jones this afternoon after he met the boss of Hitachi - the firm behind plans to build a new nuclear power station on Anglesey.
Hitachi president Hiroaki Nakanishi - en route from the World Economic Forum in Davos to Japan - stopped off to see Mr Jones at the Wales Office in London.
So won't Hitachi be concerned by the prospect of the UK leaving the EU? No, said Mr Jones. "Interestingly, he also raised the issue of stability of UK energy policy which he regarded as a major attraction to investment in this country but he did mention the issue of the prime minister's stance on Europe.
"He was considerably re-assured by the statement the prime minister made on the floor of the house yesterday - that he sees the future of Britain as part of Europe but a modernised Europe and a looser Europe and I think that Nakanishi-san understood that particular point."
Asked if uncertainty over Britain's EU membership could put off foreign investors, Jones-san said: "That is not the message that I'm getting from probably the biggest inward investor that this country has seen for many years. Clearly, he's interested in the issue but at the same time I felt he was very much re-assured by the prime minister's stance on the issue."
I suggested that by the time the new Wylfa reactor is operational, Britain could have left the EU. David Jones: "I don't think that's the case but what we are having is a debate about an issue that is of extreme importance to the people of Britain.
"I think that the prime minister is entirely right to tackle the issue head-on and I think that the prime minister's stance is entirely coherent to renegotiate our position and renegotiation will be required because, of course, we have got turmoil in the eurozone and new treaties will be required.
"And once that renegotiation has taken place then to put the renegotiation to the people of Britain. The prime minister has made it clear that he regards Britain's place as being in Europe but in a looser and much modernised Europe."
The meeting with Hitachi was private, although it appeared to go well. Mr Nakanishi left with a special bottle of Penderyn whisky under his arm, which may have saved him a trip to duty-free at Heathrow.