- Posted by: Valerie Vaz MP
- Category: News
The UK-EU Parliamentary Partnership Assembly was established by the Trade and Co-Operation Agreement 2021. It was set up as a platform for Members of Parliament and Members of the European Parliament to exchange views and work together on the operation of the agreement. The Assembly meets twice a year, with the last meeting held in Brussels in May 2022.
The second session of the Assembly took place across 7 and 8 November and was the first to be held in Westminster. The delegation was made up of 35 members from the UK Parliament (21 MPs and 14 Peers) and 35 members from the European Parliament.
The first day was opened by an address from the Lord Speaker Lord McFall and involved an exchange of views with Leo Docherty MP, the Minister for Europe at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and Maroš Šefčovič, Co-Chair of the Joint Committee on the Implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement and Co-Chair of the Partnership Council, Vice-President for Interinstitutional Relations and Foresight, European Commission. There is an ongoing dialogue on the Northern Ireland Protocol between the EU and UK and this has improved since the last meeting and the Bill which is currently in the House of Lords.
There was a discussion on energy cooperation, including Graham Stuart MP, Minister for Climate in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and Morten Peterson, an MEP.
In the afternoon we divided into break-out groups to discuss specific areas of the UK-EU relationship in more detail. The Plenary sessions were on Defence and Security, Citizens Rights and I joined the group on Touring Artists. Following the UK’s exit from the single markets, touring artists have faced mounting challenges when visiting the EU. For example, they have to comply with regulations in each of the EU members states, which often differ from each other. Furthermore, the customs regulations in the agreement creates difficulties when transporting equipment.
The second day began with an address from Sir Lindsay Hoyle MP, Speaker of the House of Commons and then a report back from the Plenary Groups to feedback the discussion on the difficulties raised. During the discussion on the future of Europe and the future relationship between the EU and the UK, there was first an exchange of views between Lord Hill of Oareford, former European Commissioner, Mr Mikuláš Bek, Minister for European Affairs, Czech Republic and Mr João Vale de Almeida, EU Ambassador to the UK
During my contribution, I started by thanking everyone behind the scenes for making these 2 days of discussion possible and asked for the Resolution to be dated and for the Action points to be drawn out so we can ensure the Partnership Council can be accountable and respond to our discussions. I also said that without going over old ground we need to look at the independent Office for Budget Responsibility’s reports which show a drop in exports and imports due to Brexit down by 15 % and that the GDP in NI is 1.4% and England 0.3%. I suggested we should agree a Resolution on Climate Change along the lines of that which we agreed on Energy. I also said it is our responsibility to look out for the next generation, the young people affected by the decision to leave that that on the 11 November we are remembering people who came together to fight facism, anti-semitism and racism and we must do all we can to protect Human Rights and work for social and economic justice for future generations.
We then discussed future cooperation between the PPA and Civil Society, and between the PPA and devolved legislatures of the UK. During this discussion, we had opening speeches from Clare Adamson MSP, Convenor for the Constitution, Europe, External Affairs, and Culture Committee, Scottish Parliament, Mr Huw Irranca-Davies MS, Chair of the Legislation, Justice and Constitutional Affairs
Committee, Senedd Cymru, Mr Michael Murphy, Member of Tipperary County Council, Clonmel Electoral Area, Committee of the Regions Rapporteur on EU-UK relations at subnational level and Mr Jack O’Connor, Chair of the EU-UK Follow-up Committee.
The Assembly agreed to send two motions to the Partnership Council
- Our 26 recommendations concerning UK-EU energy cooperation.
- A letter expressing the Assembly’s concerns on touring artists, citizens’ rights and cooperation on defence and strategy.