EU Parliament to discuss impact of Brexit on maritime sector

Written by Martin Banks on 20 February 2018 in News

MEPs are set to debate the impact of Brexit on Europe’s maritime sector at a special hearing in Parliament.

MEPs are set to debate the impact of Brexit on Europe’s maritime sector at a special hearing in Parliament | Photo credit: Press Association

The debate, due to take place in Parliament later on Tuesday, will focus on the maritime sector, including shipping companies and ports.

It comes as the talks between the EU and UK enter their second, sector-specific stage.

The hearing, ‘Impact of Brexit on maritime transport’, is the third in a series of such events about the consequences of Britain leaving the EU on the transport sector.


It has been organised by the committee on transport and tourism and will feature a range of experts, MEPs and other parties.

Meanwhile, Keir Starmer, Labour’s shadow Brexit secretary, said on Tuesday that “David Davis’ promise to protect workers’ rights and environmental standards after Brexit simply isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.”

His comments come ahead of a speech by Davis, the UK chief Brexit negotiator, later on Tuesday.

Starmer said, “How are people meant to trust the Brexit secretary when his colleague Liam Fox has said current protections mean it’s ‘too difficult’ to fire staff and Boris Johnson has described workers’ rights coming from the EU as ‘back-breaking’? 

“The truth is there are many in Theresa May’s government who want to use Brexit as an excuse to drive down standards and weaken fundamental rights. 

“Labour rejects this approach. We want a close future relationship with the EU based on our values of equality. That includes maintaining and extending rights, standards and protections.

“If David Davis was serious about stopping a race-to-the-bottom then he would have backed Labour’s call to block Tory ministers from having the power to rip up rights and protections behind closed doors.”

Elsewhere, the UK’s undersecretary of state for exiting the EU, Robin Walker, has sought to ease fears about trade relations between Belgium and the UK. It follows a meeting he had with the Chair of the Federation of Belgian Enterprises. The UK is Belgium’s fourth-biggest export market, with vehicles, pharmaceuticals and textiles the main exports.

Walker said, “As we look forward to our future relationship, an implementation period will be essential to provide certainty to people and businesses in the UK and in Belgium. We are confident that we will be able to secure a future partnership that allows people from the UK and Belgium to continue enjoying open access to one another’s markets.”

Belgium favours a “soft Brexit”, meaning that the UK could retain some favourable aspects of EU membership, including the single market, and also a possible new union for trade relations between countries that border the North Sea - the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, France, Norway, Denmark and Belgium.

About 87 per cent of the trade between Belgium and the UK originates from Flanders.


About the author

Martin Banks is a senior reporter for the Parliament Magazine

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