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Last Updated: Friday, 14 May, 2004, 16:26 GMT 17:26 UK
Wales 'EU province' claim by UKIP
UKIP leaders at their Welsh European election launch
UKIP is opposed to the Welsh assembly as well as the EU
Wales will become a province of Europe unless Britain pulls out of the EU, the UK Independence Party (UKIP) has claimed.

It launched its Welsh campaign for the 10 June European election by also arguing that millions of pounds of EU funding for poorer areas of Wales is simply British money being partially returned to the UK.

UKIP is putting up a full slate of four candidates in Wales.

It finished fifth in Wales behind the four major parties at the last election in 1999, winning 3.1% of the vote.

Party spokesman Jim Carver said the party had grown "significantly" since the last European election on its platform of "amicable withdrawal" from the EU.

"It's fair to say that even though we managed to save our deposits in 1999 that was done with literally a handful of supporters," said Mr Carver.

"UKIP in Wales is the credible alternative vote for those people who feel disillusioned with Britain's membership of the EU".

UKIP rosette
UKIP says it is not anti-European, but anti-European Union

The party said it was not right-wing, but described itself as an organisation for moderates with a belief in the ability of the UK to govern itself.

Mr Carver attacked the Conservatives for their MEPs' membership of the European Peoples' Party group, which wanted closer integration with the EU.

It was claimed that Wales would end up as a "province" of the EU if Britain continued to head along the path to a "federalist state of Europe".

Members also rejected claims that Wales had done well out of the EU granting Objective One status to west Wales and the valleys.

Under the scheme, these areas are due to receive more than 1bn from 2000- 2006.

But UKIP said Britain was getting back only some of the money it had already paid to the EU, and Objective One funding had to be matched by the UK treasury.

It also said half the 11bn paid by Britain to the EU was given to other projects in Europe which then competed with UK industry.

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