Regional leaders urge Michel Barnier to limit Brexit damage

Written by Martin Banks on 20 December 2018 in News
News

Regional leaders have called on Michel Barnier to help “limit Brexit’s damaging impact” on regions in the Atlantic, the Channel and North Sea areas.

Photo Credit: Press Association


The Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions (CPMR) and its Atlantic Arc and North Sea Commissions have presented "positive proposals" to Michel Barnier, the European Commission’s Chief Negotiator for the UK’s exit.

A CPMR delegation, led by President of the Brittany region, Loïg Chesnais-Girard, met with Barnier on Wednesday in Brussels to stress that a “compromise should be reached to limit Brexit’s disproportionate impact” on people and businesses in the Atlantic, the Channel and North Sea territories.

At the meeting, which came on the same day that the European Commission announced its no-deal Contingency Action Plan, the delegation highlighted the importance of “continued cooperation” after Brexit between regions in the Atlantic, the Channel and North Sea Basins, and between all European and UK regions.


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A CPMR spokesman said that the delegation “underlined the importance of territorial cooperation programmes and macro-regional strategies.”

He said the regional leaders also called for “obstacles to be minimised regarding trade, freedom of movement and the continued exchange of researchers and students.”

They also highlighted the “need for the development of structures in the North Sea area for multi-level and transnational post-Brexit cooperation including EU, Norway and the UK,” and called for the development of a strategy for the Channel area which will become a new external border but will remain a shared area between the UK and the EU.

Chesnais-Girard said: “We organised this meeting with Michel Barnier at the same time as the European Commission announced its no-deal Contingency Action Plan, so it was imperative that we presented our proposals to reduce Brexit’s potentially damaging effect on regions in the Atlantic, the Channel and North Sea areas.”

NO-DEAL CONTINGENCY PLAN

On Wednesday, the European Commission formally adopted a number of contingency measures to prepare the EU in case of no-deal Brexit.

The package includes 14 measures in a limited number of areas where a no-deal scenario would create major disruption for citizens and businesses in the EU27.

“We organised this meeting with Michel Barnier at the same time as the European Commission announced its no-deal Contingency Action Plan, so it was imperative that we presented our proposals to reduce Brexit’s potentially damaging effect on regions in the Atlantic, the Channel and North Sea areas” President of the Brittany region, Loïg Chesnais-Girard

These include, amongst others, financial services, air transport, customs, and climate policy. The measures are exceptional, will be temporary in nature, limited in scope and adopted unilaterally by the EU.

The contingency measures call upon EU member states to take action to safeguard the rights of UK citizens in the EU.

They would also include temporary measures to ensure the continuation of aviation and road haulage services between the EU and the UK, for 12 and 9 months respectively.

On financial services, the Commission proposes “temporary and conditional equivalence” for central clearing of derivatives and central securities depositories. However, Commission officials insisted that “These measures will not - and cannot - mitigate the overall impact of a no-deal scenario.”

The Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis said yesterday, “In case of a no-deal scenario, some preparation to minimise damage is better than doing no preparation at all.”

According to BusinessEurope, the measures will not replace any measures that companies might need to take and they will not have the same coverage or impact as the transition period that is included in the withdrawal agreement.

A BusinessEurope source said, “European business will continue to insist that the withdrawal agreement, including the transition period, is the only way possible to ensure a smooth and orderly exit of the UK from the EU.

“UNFORTUNATE BEHAVIOUR”

Meanwhile, Polish Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, has criticised what he called the “rather unfortunate behaviour” of certain EU officials towards Prime Minister Theresa May and the UK over Brexit.

Speaking on Wednesday, Morawiecki said, “Strong statements and harsh words of some politicians in Brussels do not help, but hinder our common goal in achieving the most desirable outcome for all.”

“It is likely that Mrs May’s chance of winning the vote in the House of Commons will depend on EU leaders’ attitude towards the UK. This attitude must remain unequivocally supportive. She fought very hard to negotiate the best deal for the UK, and that in itself is worthy of respect,” he added.

Morawiecki will hold talks with May in London later on Thursday to discuss post-Brexit defence and security ties.

Ahead of the meeting May said, “Today’s talks will agree ambitious steps that build on the landmark joint defence and security treaty we signed in Warsaw last year and set a course for further collaboration in the years ahead.”

“I value the contribution the Polish community makes to our economy and our society, and am committed to ensuring the UK remains a welcoming place for Poles to live, work and study. Today is an opportunity to repeat my message to Polish people - you can stay, and we want you to stay,” May added.

About the author

Martin Banks is a senior reporter at The Parliament Magazine

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