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European Parliament gives Brits emotional send-off in tearful plenary Martin Banks

The strains of Robert Burns’ “Auld Lang Syne” filled the plenary chamber last night as MEPs joined in song to bid a touching farewell to their British colleagues.

The strains of Robert Burns’ “Auld Lang Syne” filled the plenary chamber last night as MEPs joined in song to bid a touching farewell to their British colleagues.

Photo credit: European Parliament Audiovisual


After a debate lasting several hours, the House voted overwhelmingly in favour of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, paving the way for Britain to leave the bloc on Friday with a deal in place.

There were emotional scenes as the result was announced with MEPs linking arms to sing a final chorus of Auld Lang Syne, lasting several minutes.

The send-off, during which many MEPs were visibly moved, had been arranged by German Greens MEP Terry Reintke and each MEP had a printed copy of the song’s words on their desk.


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In a heated and emotional debate prior to the vote, Greens co-leader Philippe Lamberts said, “January 31 is a happy day for some but not for us. I firmly believe the only way to regain sovereignty is to share it. The UK will do well to remember that the EU is an experiment in transnational democracy that might come in handy in the future.”

“The vote today is a vote for an orderly Brexit but we also need to fix things in the EU to avoid a repetition of Brexit.”

UK Conservative Dan Hannan said, “Verhofstadt asks how did we get here? Well, it all started with the Maastricht treaty (which paved the way for the euro). That is how we got here.”

German GUE member Martin Schirdewan warned, “Brexit should be a wake-up call. The UK will not be the last but the first to go if the EU does not change course.”

“The root cause of Brexit is because the two big parties in the UK live in a fantasy world and still think they are running an empire” Bill Newton Dunn MEP

Polish EPP member Danuta Hubner warned that it was “important for us to protect citizen’s rights” while UK Labour MEP Richard Corbett said it was “wrong for Boris Johnson not to put the referendum back to the British people for a confirmatory vote. He has said, ‘you had your say 3 years ago, now you have to shut up.’”

“This is irrespective of how different the Withdrawal Agreement is to what he promised. This was untrue, as will be the promise to get it done by 31 December.”

Corbett predicts that the catch phrase next year will be “Brexit isn’t working.”

Welsh member Jill Evans, who also spoke in Welsh, said, “Wales has benefited hugely from EU membership and I predict we will be back.”

UK Conservative MEP Geoffrey van Orden, one of the longest-serving UK MEPs, said, “Britain will still be a European power, the leading European power in NATO, committed to the security of the democracies of the European continent, sharing many of the standpoints and aspirations of the nations of Europe; an independent, sovereign country with friendly relations with the EU - that’s the aim.”

“We are leaving the institutions of the EU, the increasingly intrusive regulations, the politically-driven ambit of the European Court of Justice, and the insatiable appetite for more political integration with its distaste for national sovereignty. That’s the point - we feel the EU project has gone too far.”

He said the advance of the EU “juggernaut” was sometimes “hardly noticed,” adding, “as national borders were eroded and more and more policy areas became EU competences, so British disenchantment intensified.”

“I hope we can one day celebrate our return to the heart of Europe” Molly Scott Cato MEP

Liberal Bill Newton Dunn, first elected in 1979, said, “The root cause of Brexit is because the two big parties in the UK live in a fantasy world and still think they are running an empire. They never told the public we are a European country, not a superpower. They told an untruth. To mislead people is a disgrace.”

Northern Irish member Naomi Long branded Brexit as “reckless and insular” while Greens deputy Molly Scott Cato said, “We leave with grief and regret but we have some very important political tasks ahead. Now is not the time to campaign to rejoin but we must keep the dream alive.”

Crying and, like Corbett, given a standing ovation, she added, “I hope we can one day celebrate our return to the heart of Europe.”

UK Conservative Anthea McIntyre said, “We have certainly not always agreed, but we have all worked for what we believe is in the best interests of the people we represent. My overwhelming feeling is of a job well done, though not always understood back home.”

“It is important that we leave on good terms, with a climate of friendly co-operation for productive talks on a trade deal ahead. I’m not saying it will be easy; both sides are already taking up some tough positions. But that is what negotiation is all about.”

German member David McAllister, who chairs the foreign affairs committee, said, “Brexit is a historic mistake but the WA provides for an orderly exit and addresses all the key issues so we must now focus on future relations and an ambitious FTA.”

He warned, “But, because of the tight timeframe this will be difficult and the two sides will have to prioritise.”

“Brexit is a historic mistake but the Withdrawal Agreement provides for an orderly exit and addresses all the key issues” David McAllister MEP

Liberal deputy Judith Bunting said, “I love the UK, but this is a bad deal for us. It weakens support for workers’ rights, something the PM did only after he put the deal to the public.”

She added, “I would like to thank all my colleagues for their lovely kind words here today. We will miss you.”

Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party colleagues received a stern dressing down from Parliament’s Vice President Mairead McGuiness when they cheered and waved Union Jack flags as he finished his address.

McGuiness turned off Farage’s mic mid-sentence for disobeying Parliament rules.

“If you disobey the rules, you get cut off,” McGuinness said, adding, “Please sit down, resume your seats, put your flags away. You’re leaving, and take them with you if you are leaving now. Goodbye.”

The cheering Brexit Party MEPs then promptly walked out.

Earlier, in his address Farage, an MEP for over 20 years, said, “So this is it, the end of the road. A 47-year political experiment that the Brits have never been happy with. I can tell you that my parents did not sign up what the EU is today.”

He added, “I am not particular happy with this deal but Boris has been bold and promised there will be no level playing field as the EU wants, so good luck in the next round of talks."

“Today, marks the point of no return. Once we have left, we are never coming back. We are going and shall be gone for good.”

He told members, "The EU says it loathes populism but populism has become popular. The UK will no longer be bullied and talked down to. There will be no more Guy Verhofstadt, so what’s not to like?”

As he declared, “That’s it, we’re going,” his colleagues chanted “hip hip hooray.”

/articles/news/european-parliament-gives-brits-emotional-send-tearful-plenary Thu, 30 Jan 2020 16:34:55 +0100
A strong knowledge base Michael Murphy

Europe’s universities are transnational in outlook, international in their collaborative endeavours and work across borders. However, maintaining our strong universities requires ambitious investment and enabling policies, explains European University Association (EUA) President Michael Murphy

Europe’s universities are transnational in outlook, international in their collaborative endeavours and work across borders. However, maintaining our strong universities requires ambitious investment and enabling policies, explains European University Association (EUA) President Michael Murphy

Photo credit: EUA


EUA works to better connect European research, higher education and innovation – why is this important?

Europe needs a strong knowledge base and effective and efficient knowledge exploitation to meet the many challenges our continent faces, not least climate change, resource depletion, migration and the impact of digital transformation on the way we work and live.

Universities play a dominant role in education, a major role in knowledge creation and a significant role in knowledge exploitation or innovation – the three sides of the “knowledge triangle”.


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A coherent, integrated public policy approach to research, education and innovation enables and supports universities to be more efficient, with greater impact.

The best university education is research informed while strategic education fertilises creativity and innovation.

Universities by their nature are transnational in outlook, international in their collaborative endeavours and work across borders collectively to harness the entire creative capacity of our continent.

 

How do we connect the knowledge triangle in concrete terms?

The announcement of one European Commissioner tasked with connecting the knowledge triangle of research, education and innovation is itself a concrete step. It shows recognition of the strength, importance and interconnectedness of the three elements.

But we need a strong European Research Area exhibiting coherent research policies, complementary strategic investments by the Commission and member states, with a free flow of researchers and new knowledge across the continent.

We celebrate that the European Union also aims to establish a European Education Area by 2025, with the ambition to make Europe’s education systems work better together, with more mobility for learners and staff and closer cooperation between education institutions.

However, in an ideal world, these two initiatives would be subsumed in one grand integrated project.

Given that universities play such a seminal role in the delivery of both education and research it is self-evident that the policy frameworks and the operational practices underpinning both domains should operate under one common governance framework.

If precluded by Treaty limitations then the default position in their design should be uniformity, coherence and simplicity wherever possible and the European Parliament should test all proposals against these criteria.

 

Do you see a link between these visions and the larger vision of the EU?

 Of course. Education, research and innovation are enablers of every single goal embraced by the EU on the Commission’s website.

Excellence in all three missions is a crucial enabler for the Union’s policy priorities - from leading the ecological transition through new technologies and strengthening European technological sovereignty, to fostering sustainable development and making people and societies fit for the digital age.

“Strong universities in the future will require ambitious investments and enabling policies at both European and national levels, at least commensurate with those enjoyed by competitors around the world”

Europe will only be as strong as its universities. Universities clearly have a key role in advancing knowledge, empowering people through skills and critical thinking, and through their work with partners in society, policymaking and the economy.

Universities foster social inclusion, regional development and social and technological innovation. They also promote values such as openness, tolerance and international collaboration, which are all central to the European project.

However, strong universities in the future will require ambitious investments and enabling policies at both European and national levels, at least commensurate with those enjoyed by competitors around the world.

 

Are there areas where Europe has an advantage?

Europe is without doubt a global leader in transnational research collaboration and in inter-university cooperation in education.

The Erasmus+ programme and Horizon 2020, the EU’s research and innovation funding programmes, are envied around the world.

The Bologna Process is an exemplar in promoting common high-quality standards across national boundaries, in enabling transnational qualifications recognition and facilitating student mobility. ASEAN, Latin American and African regions are currently endeavouring to emulate us.

But we have another crucial advantage deriving from our value system; we embrace excellence, not elitism.

Europe enjoys “distributed excellence” in research, education and innovation; high performing institutions can be found in most parts of Europe and we display continent wide commitment to diversity and inclusiveness. The consequence is a fairer more equitable society.

 

Is funding where you see risks or downsides?

Yes, insufficient investment is a major challenge. We are failing to live up to commitments made repeatedly over the past 20 years at both EU and member state level.

Most worrying is our failure to match the levels of investment being made in other world regions and countries. The current EU research programmes are underfunded.

“We cannot afford to invest less than €120bn in the upcoming Horizon Europe programme. Anything less is a statement of disinterest in the future of Europe’s young people”

More than three quarters of excellent project proposals are denied support and most worrying, the costs of developing these proposals are enormous; denial of funding results in wasted effort and enormous inefficiencies.

To stand still, making no dent in the gap between us and our competitors, we cannot afford to invest less than €120bn in the upcoming Horizon Europe programme. Anything less is a statement of disinterest in the future of Europe’s young people.

 

Would you describe threats to academic freedom as another risk?

Certainly. If you had asked me ten years ago, I would not have imagined myself saying this. But, in recent years academic freedom has come under pressure in parts of Europe, to the point that a university has been forced out of an EU member state.

This is a serious contravention of European values, set out in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. Research and teaching must be free from political interference; societies that encourage their universities “to hold a mirror up to power” derive strength from that wisdom.

 

For more information about the European University Association, you can visit their website at: www.eua.eu

You can also follow them on Twitter @euatweets, Facebook /EuropeanUniversityAssociation and LinkedIn /european-university-association/

/articles/interviews/strong-knowledge-base Thu, 30 Jan 2020 15:31:44 +0100
Auld Acquaintances Brian Johnson

Brian Johnson reflects on British MEPs' time in the European Parliament as they prepare to leave their offices for good.

Brian Johnson reflects on British MEPs' time in the European Parliament as they prepare to leave their offices for good.

Photo credit: European Parliament Audiovisual


You may not remember Struan Stevenson or Catherine Stihler, but the two Scottish MEPs - along with London-based Claude Moraes - were some of the first MEPs I met as a young journalist.

Taking me under their wing to an extent, they were enthusiastically pro-European, focussed on doing the best for their constituents and sharing an enthusiasm for positive, cross-party politics seemingly long gone in the UK.

As British MEPs prepare for their curtain call, I’ve been reminiscing on some of the current and former members that we’ve worked with over the years.


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For sheer expertise and depth of EU knowledge, Socialist Group deputy Richard Corbett literally wrote the book on the European Parliament (it’s now in its 9th edition).

He and his liberal colleague Andrew Duff were the go-to people if you needed to know how the EU institutions actually worked.

Glenys Kinnock was one of the most formidable MEPs I ever interviewed. Hailing from the thick-skinned, hard-nosed 80s and 90s Welsh Labour politics, she could and would shred unwary journalists for breakfast.

However, she also had a great sense of humour and could always be relied on for a quote whatever the circumstances.

Tory Grandee Malcolm Harbour also never missed the opportunity for a chinwag on the merits of the Single Market.

Despite the Conservative Party leading the UK out of the EU, British Tories such as Malcolm Harbour, Julie Girling and Charles Tannock were always recognised as constructive and hard-working deputies.

For pure passion and rhetoric, few MEPs, British or otherwise, could match the likes of Alyn Smith, Graham Watson, Chris Davies or Caroline Lucas in full flow.

Smith’s rousing “Chers collègues” speech is a fine example – and did his political profile no harm. Meanwhile, Davies’ inimitable style can be found in pages 28-30 of this issue.

Special mentions must also go to Jill Evans, Baroness (Sarah) Ludford, Jean Lambert, Arlene McCarthy, Edward McMillan-Scott, Bill Newton Dunn, Michael Cashman, John Bowis and Liz Lynne.

There are also many more practical, professional and personable European policymakers who will be sorely missed come 1 February.

Let’s hope their absence is purely temporary; Brussels will be a lesser place without them.

/articles/opinion/auld-acquaintances Thu, 30 Jan 2020 12:18:08 +0100
An alternative solution for climate neutrality? Jon Benton

Low-carbon fuels made from anything from wood pellets to garbage could hold the key to reducing CO2 emissions in the transport sector. Jonathan Benton reports on a European Parliament event looking at the potential benefits.

Low-carbon fuels made from anything from wood pellets to garbage could hold the key to reducing CO2 emissions in the transport sector. Jonathan Benton reports on a European Parliament event looking at the potential benefits.

From left to right: Maria Spyraki (EL, EPP), John Cooper, Director-General of FuelsEurope, and host Elissavet Vozernberg-Vrionidi (EL, EPP) | Photcredit: European Parliament Audiovisual


Climate change has become the defining issue for the European Union as it enters the new decade under the new leadership of Ursula von der Leyen’s European Commission. The recently unveiled ‘European Green Deal’ calls for bold action across Europe to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

FuelsEurope, which represents the EU’s refining industry, believes that the alternative low-carbon fossil fuels that its members are developing could play a key role in Europe’s transition to a post-carbon future, especially in the transport sector.

This was one of the main messages from an event in the European Parliament last November entitled “Vision 2050: Alternative low-carbon technologies, the role of liquid fuels.”


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Greek EPP MEP and host Elissavet Vozemberg-Vrionidi set the scene, saying, “climate change concerns all of us and everyone can and should take action for the climate.”

She added, however, “there is not one single solution” but many – including low-carbon liquid fuel technologies that “can reduce emissions and could be part of the solution for the transport sector.”

Marta Yugo, a modelling science executive from refining research institute Concawe, explained that low-carbon liquid fuel technologies are “sustainable, liquid fuels produced by different types of feedstocks” such as biomass, instead of oil, for example.

“We know how to make petrol, diesel, jet fuel, very low-carbon on its lifecycle. You put this into a modern European internal combustion engine car, it becomes a near zero-emission car. We think we should recognise this as a technology; it’s part of the future” John Cooper, Director-General of FuelsEurope

But, she noted, “the key point is being able to really reduce CO2 emissions across the whole value chain, from the production to the final use of these fuels across all transport segments.”

She explained that what also separates them from conventional fuels is their ability to store energy more efficiently by taking advantage of increased energy density, and the fact that they can be produced from just about anything.

Another advantage is that vehicles would neither have to be renovated, nor their powertrains changed for the fuels to work. In fact, the fuels can be put into vehicles in the same way you would fill up with petrol or diesel. Second-generation low-carbon fuels can now be made by processing biomass from agricultural and forestry residues and specific crops that do not compete with food.

Meanwhile, plastic and municipal waste are also being converted into low-carbon versions of diesel, kerosene and other fuels in a number of sites across Europe.

There is even a project in Germany that uses CO2 as a feedstock to produce fuel, which, when combined with hydrogen, produces between 70 and 90 percent less greenhouse gas emissions than conventional diesel and gasoline.

Yugo said that the main challenge now is being able to ensure that “the supply chain is there” for these fuels to be produced and delivered, adding, “in order to do so it’s clear that cooperation is key.”

“The key point is being able to really reduce CO2 emissions across the whole value chain, from the production to the final use of these fuels across all transport segments” Marta Yugo, Modelling and Science Executive at Concawe

For FuelsEurope Director-General John Cooper, when it comes getting these fuels onto the market, “Road transport is the place to start and we can make it work” because of the abundance of existing legislative framework that simply does not exist in other sectors such as aviation.

However, before approaching policy, there is a lack of political consensus on the issue to contend with first, he argued.

Cooper quoted each of Parliament’s biggest political groups and remarked that none of them shared the same view on what the future of cars should be - including whether to go for zero-emission vehicles or cars that do not run on fossil fuels.

Cooper highlighted that there is variation in the wording as to what vehicles should be and by when.

He pointed out that, “We know how to make petrol, diesel, jet fuel, very low-carbon on its lifecycle. You put this into a modern European internal combustion engine car, it becomes a near zero-emission car. We think we should recognise this as a technology; it’s part of the future.”

But for this to be successful, Cooper said, “We need to work this at European level, keep the Single Market, and have a consistent approach.”

A good place to start would be fuel tax, he said. Current legislation treats all liquid fuels equally, whether they are renewable or not, and this is something Cooper took issue with, saying, “If we put a liquid fuel into a car, whether it is made of 100 percent petroleum or a 100 percent from renewables with really a zero-carbon footprint, it is fully taxed. We think that that’s wrong.”

“Climate change concerns all of us and everyone can and should take action for the climate” MEP Elissavet Vozemberg-Vrionidi (EL, EPP)

He also highlighted the cost to the consumer being a factor, saying that when you pay for petrol at the pump, as much as 55 percent of the cost is tax, therefore a tax reform that would enable these fuels to be affordable at competitive prices would be “attractive for the investor and for the consumer.”

Cooper also argued that low-carbon fuels could realistically help Europe achieve greater emissions reduction more quickly in vehicles than electrification, pointing to 2018 and 2019 European car sales – of which between 2 and 2.5 percent of the total were electric vehicles and all of which were purchased in just the six wealthiest countries.

However, he explained, “if you start to introduce low-carbon liquid fuels it goes into all the vehicles, not only the new vehicles.” Another concern highlighted by several MEPs was the issue of Sustainable Finance and whether these fuels would be included in the taxonomy file.

Cooper defended the fuel industry saying, “as it invests in renewables, it is still somehow stigmatised because it is continuing to supply the remainder of petroleum, then we think that is unfair. The electricity industry is also evolving and has a mixture of renewables and fossil-powered electrification. With the scale of our industry, that kind of a transition is key.”

Closing the event, Greek MEP Maria Spyraki warned, “you have to consider then what you do because as an industry you face a danger of being marginalised in terms of legislation and in terms of the market as well,” to which Cooper replied, “We agree and that’s exactly why we are reaching out to you to make the case that these solutions are needed.”

Sponsored event by FuelsEurope

/articles/event-coverage/alternative-solution-climate-neutrality Thu, 30 Jan 2020 11:33:35 +0100
British Labour MEPs bid tearful goodbye to Parliament Martin Banks

The special ceremony held for UK Socialist members on Wednesday heard British MEPs vow that the UK will “one day” return to the EU.

The special ceremony held for UK Socialist members on Wednesday heard British MEPs vow that the UK will “one day” return to the EU.

Photo credit: Adobe Stock


As MEPs prepare to vote on the deal that will take the UK out of the EU this week, a highly-charged event in Parliament’s main chamber heard Richard Corbett, who leads the Labour delegation, recall the contribution his party had made to parliamentary and EU life over the years.

This includes Roy Jenkins, a former Commission President, Pauline Green, former leader of the Socialist group in Parliament, Julian Priestley, a former Secretary General of Parliament and David Martin, one of the longest-ever serving MEPs.

Wearing a Labour scarf and noting that it was the “first time” he had been given a standing ovation even before a speech, Corbett spoke of the “heartbreak” of Brexit.


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He said, “Today is especially moving and am I feeling this very deeply.”

He recalled his first experience of the EU when, in 1975, he joined a demonstration outside the Council in support of direct elections to the Parliament.

These came about in 1979 and he said that since then there had been a “transformation” in parliamentary proceedings and policies.

“At first this was just a consultative Parliament but, now, no EU legislation can be adopted without its agreement.”

“There is no wholehearted support for Brexit in the UK, especially among the young and I believe that, over time as the promises don’t materialise and people realise Brexit is not working, the public may get the chance to have another say” Richard Corbett MEP

He told the packed audience consisting of Socialist group staff that 53 percent of those who voted in the recent UK election had voted for parties seeking a second Brexit referendum.

“There is no wholehearted support for Brexit in the UK, especially among the young and I believe that, over time as the promises don’t materialise and people realise Brexit is not working, the public may get the chance to have another say.

“That is why we are not saying goodbye but merely au revoir today. Until then, though, you will have to go on fighting without us, at least for some time.”

His comments were echoed by colleague Rory Palmer, who said he feared for young people, adding, “I have two kids, aged 2 and 4, and I want them to grow up feeling proud Europeans.”

“It may take some time, maybe their generation, but I do believe we will be back one day.” 

Julie Ward, another Labour member, said, “I have a British/Belgian family and I too feel sad for our children. This should not be about national dividing lines. All we have achieved here is now at risk.”

EU Commissioner Frans Timmermans agreed that the British may return to the EU “where they belong.”

“The British, like all human beings, are entitled to change their minds” Frans Timmermans

He said, “The British, like all human beings, are entitled to change their minds.”

Theresa Griffin, another Labour deputy, told the hour-long event that returning to the EU fold “will not be easy but we must expose this uncaring Tory Brexit.”

PES president Sergei Stanishev told the meeting that that “millions have marched to demonstrate against Brexit and this should give us optimism.”

He added, “We have cherished the presence of Labour colleagues here but life does not end today. Labour was a founding member of PES and the fight continues.”

Several other colleagues voiced similar sentiments via video links with the UK Labour delegation getting a two-minute standing ovation at the end.

/articles/news/british-labour-meps-bid-tearful-goodbye-parliament Wed, 29 Jan 2020 16:54:11 +0100
Au revoir Europe Martin Banks

As almost five decades of UK membership of the EU draw to an end, some of Parliament’s longest-serving British MEPs share their thoughts and memories with Martin Banks.

As almost five decades of UK membership of the EU draw to an end, some of Parliament’s longest-serving British MEPs share their thoughts and memories with Martin Banks.

Photo credit: Press Association


To mark the end of an era, The Parliament Magazine asked British members to reflect on their time in Parliament.

Socialist MEP Claude Moraes told this website, “With so much going on in world affairs at the moment and with so many false dawns, it’s hard to think that 31 January will be the moment that the UK physically finally leaves the EU - and it will be the last time that UK MEPs sit in the European Parliament. So, it will be the first real visible signal that we have left, and I think for UK MEPs who have contributed positively it will feel deeply sad.”

Moraes, who chaired the Civil Liberties Committee for five years, added, “British MEPs, officials and staff have, over the years, made a big contribution to important areas of EU influence like justice and home affairs, employment rights, development and the environment. While there has been a loud, destructive group of British MEPs who haven’t contributed anything positive, I hope there will be some legacy remembered of us who have legislated and contributed positively to EU institutions to help change the lives of the people we represent.”


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“Of course, politics and life move on, but it is a big and deeply sad moment when such a big Member State finally leaves the EU in the way it has. UK MEPs, over many years, have made good friends across countries - a unique experience in a Parliament unlike any other in the world.”

Another long-serving UK MEP, Bill Newton Dunn, also looked back on his time in Parliament and, at the prospect of the UK’s departure, voiced “enormous disappointment for my country.”

The Renew Europe deputy added, “Leaving is a profound mistake because it surrenders Britain’s say in European decisions which will still affect us, and it also threatens the break-up of the United Kingdom because Brexit makes it easier for Northern Ireland and Scotland to leave.”

On his time as a parliamentarian, the veteran MEP noted, “Being an MEP has been a huge privilege - to have been elected at the start in 1979 and to still be an MEP, 40 years later, and the last survivor from 1979. It’s the pride in helping construct a united Europe but also in working with and knowing exceptional people from all across Europe and beyond.”

"British MEPs, officials and staff have, over the years, made a big contribution to important areas of EU influence like justice and home affairs, employment rights, development and the environment" Claude Moraes (S&D)

Turning to Brexit, Newton Dunn predicts that this will result in UK “withdrawal from the mainstream world.” Leaving the EU will, he believes, also mean an “increasing lack of influence, loss of veto at the UN Security Council and a lack of investment from international businesses.”

He adds, “Britain’s brightest kids will leave to pursue their careers where prospects are better.”

Looking at his own personal plans, he said, “Being now in my 79th year, I shall enjoy my family and my grandchildren, the next being due in March, and continue my creativity, singing and writing.”

Long-serving Labour MEP Richard Corbett told The Parliament Magazine, “For 47 years, British MEPs have contributed to strengthening democratic accountability in the EU through a stronger Parliament and to improving EU policies. Now, that work will continue without a British voice.”

The constitutional expert added, “There will be many laws and policies affecting Britain without anyone to represent British voters. There will be a major gap in the range of views represented in the European Parliament. There may even be less humour in the debates. It is a sad loss for Europe as a whole, but a devastating loss for Britain.”

Corbett, who has played a key role in steering significant institutional changes through Parliament, including the co-decision procedure between Parliament and Council, said, “This is a fascinating Parliament and it is the end of an era.”

Greens MEP Molly Scott Cato described Brexit as “tragic” and also told us, “British MEPs have been so central to European policymaking for decades that it feels like a tragedy to be losing our power to influence the evolution of the European Green Deal, the regulation of the digital world, carbon-friendly farming and a wealth of other pressing problems."

"British MEPs have been so central to European policymaking for decades that it feels like a tragedy to be losing our power to influence" Molly Scott Cato (Greens/EFA)

"As a Green, it feels particularly painful and destructive that we are losing the seven parliamentarians that a fair voting system delivered for us in the spring; voices that are so vital in addressing the climate emergency and that will now be diminished.”

Veteran Liberal member Chris Davies said, “I loved the Parliament from the moment I arrived more than 20 years ago. I had had two years’ experience in a House of Commons where the role of opposition politicians was confined to making a noise. But the Parliament is a place where ideas can gain momentum."

"I’ve worked across parties and across nationalities and felt able to forge alliances to introduce some positive improvements. The Parliament has many faults, but it has always felt to me like a more grown-up place of work than the Commons.”

He added, “It has been great to finish on a high note, as chair of a parliamentary committee. In the short time I have had in the role, I have shaped the agenda of our fisheries meetings, highlighted issues that were previously ignored, and made sure that MEPs have had a proper opportunity to do their job of holding Commission officials to account.”

Reflecting on his accomplishments as an MEP, Davies said, “When I am asked what I have accomplished, I like to mention that I introduced the principal financial mechanism for supporting innovative low-carbon technologies, particularly carbon capture and storage (CCS). It was known as the NER300 programme, which now becomes the Innovation Fund."

"I introduced the legislation that has led to pictures being used to support health warnings on cigarette packs, and I hope this has saved lives as a result. And I set up the cross-party campaign group, Fish for the Future, which played a small part in ensuring that sustainability became central to the revised Common Fisheries Policy."

"Outside the EU we can expect the UK government to spend their time pretending that Britain is in charge of its own policies, when in reality I am sure we will sign up to a host of EU agreements and ‘Brussels’ will continue to set much of the real agenda. It will be sham sovereignty, and such a waste of time and effort. I want my country to be shaping EU policy not trying to avoid it; I want Britain to be an EU leader not a leaver.”

"There will be a major gap in the range of views represented in the European Parliament. There may even be less humour in the debates. It is a sad loss for Europe as a whole, but a devastating loss for Britain" Richard Corbett (S&D)

The MEP went on, “I’m 65, and I shall leave the Parliament not because I have lost an election but because my country is stupidly leaving the EU. Maybe retirement beckons, but if someone has a role for an outspoken former MEP who has no time for fools and is in a hurry to make a difference for the better, they can no doubt track me down.”

Elsewhere, Sinn Fein MEP Martina Anderson said, “For the North of Ireland, Boris Jonson’s “deal” is not a miracle long-term cure - it barely gives the North a crutch to lean on. The reality is that we are still being dragged out of the EU against our democratically-expressed wishes.”

The Northern Irish member added, “It is now clear to many that there is only one long-term solution - one that has already been legislated for through the Good Friday Agreement. Irish unity provides the ultimate solution to reverse the negative impact of Brexit on Ireland and offers citizens in the North a pathway back to EU membership."

"I have been an Irish Republican activist all my life; that has never been conditional on holding elected office. I will continue to work to ensure the peaceful and democratic reunification of my country and the creation of a united Ireland of equals within the EU.”

She added, “Irish Republicans do not retire or put down tools, we just change tack. I will apply myself to the Republican struggle until the day I die.”

Liberal Democrat Caroline Voaden said, “We have to face the reality that we have to go home even if we do not want to”, while party colleague Luisa Porritt said she was “sad but grateful for every extra day I had here.”

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage, first elected in 1999 and who saw 24 candidates elected last May, said he will miss Parliament’s “drama”, while colleague Robert Rowland said he and his colleagues “had to come to the institution which we want to leave in order to change the course of history.”

On the invitation from Parliament President David Sassoli to attend a farewell party in Parliament later today, Chris Davies, joked, “Remain and Leave MEPs coming together for a grand love-in? Hardly! There had better be extra security to keep them apart.”

/articles/feature/au-revoir-europe Wed, 29 Jan 2020 14:54:55 +0100
Nigel Farage predicts EU’s collapse ‘within ten years’ Martin Banks

Speaking in Parliament on Wednesday, the Brexit party leader told this website, “If we get Brexit half right then these institutions will not be here within ten years.”

Speaking in Parliament on Wednesday, the Brexit party leader told this website, “If we get Brexit half right then these institutions will not be here within ten years.”

Photo credit: European Parliament Audiovisual


Farage said he will continue to campaign “all over Europe” against the EU in the coming months and years and identified three countries - Italy, Denmark and Poland - as being among those most likely to next exit the EU.

“They are the frontrunners,” he declared.

Farage, whose party won 29 seats in the last European election, believes the UK departure will prove a “hammer blow” to the EU, adding, “and that is a good thing.”


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“I want to stress that we are not anti-European. I love Europe but I loathe the EU.”

The EU, he said, had discovered that the “UK is too big to bully”, adding, “If, in ten years, what we have achieved is a catalyst for change elsewhere then I will be absolutely delighted.”

Farage lambasted the European Commission which, he said, was putting preservation of the European project ahead of issues like workers’ rights.

He said, “I really do not think the EU and its institutions will last”, going on to say that, even so, he hopes its demise will be “peaceful and sensible.”

“I want to stress that we are not anti-European. I love Europe but I loathe the EU” Nigel Farage MEP

He also scoffed at the EU’s claim to be an economic superpower, adding, “The euro currently represents only 15 percent of global GDP and this figure is going to fall dramatically in the coming years.”

He also warned UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, about to embark on what many predict will be the hardest part of the Brexit negotiations, that he and his party “are going nowhere.”

He told reporters at a packed press conference, “We may be leaving the battlefield but we are not going away, that is for sure.”

Farage, who will deliver his last speech in Parliament later on Wednesday, said, “He has to deliver on Brexit.”

“A lot of people have lent their support to him and the Tories and if he breaks this trust this support will fall off an edge.”

Farage was speaking just ahead of a historic vote by Parliament on the Withdrawal Agreement later on Wednesday. This will pave the way for the UK to quit the EU on Friday.

The former UKIP leader admitted that Brexit is “unlikely to have happened” but for that fact that he was elected as an MEP to Parliament back in 1999.

"The euro currently represents only 15 percent of global GDP and this figure is going to fall dramatically in the coming years" Nigel Farage MEP

“No, it would not have happened if I hadn’t come here.”

“It gave me a platform to be invited on programmes like Question Time and speak at the Oxford Union.”

But he admitted the “irony” in his job in Parliament “over four decades” and being the principal cheerleader in the UK against the soon-to-be EU27.

Farage, who has been inundated for media interviews this week, also took aim at those in the UK who support EU membership, saying, “Remainers are looking more like members of the flat earth society.”

“There has been a remarkable coming together of people, including Remainers, in the UK. Even the FT [Financial Times], which is an ardent EU supporter and wanted the UK to join the euro, says now that this has happened and people have to accept it.”

Farage took the opportunity to ridicule the SNP and leader Nicola Sturgeon, saying, “Even one third of SNP voters supported Brexit. She is campaigning for Scotland to become a region of the EU. This is totally bonkers.”

He predicts Italy, Denmark and Poland could be next to leave, saying, “The way the Poles have been insulted by the EU is probably more than they can bear. A poll in Poland last year said, for the first time, that Poles believe the EU has a negative effect on their lives.”

“Of course, Denmark didn’t join in the first wave of enlargement and has always opted out of the euro and arrest warrant. I also think that the next financial crisis will be too much for Italy to bear.”

His MEP job, he said, had offered the chance of “endless dinner invitations, chauffeur-driven cars” and “more money that some could dream of.”

“It is worth noting that less than two miles from this place there are 10,000 people earning more than the British Prime Minister.”

When asked, years ago, if he thought his life as an MEP would “corrupt” him, he said he’d replied, “No.”

The “turning point” for him, he said, was in 2005 and the attempt to introduce a constitution for Europe.

This, he noted, was then rejected by the French and Dutch “ but the EU, rather than rowing back on such further integration, did the opposite.”

“They rebranded the constitution the Lisbon Treaty," said Farage, who faced a barrage of tv crews jostling for his attention.

He called Brexit the biggest historical event since Henry VIII “took us out of the church of Rome.”

He added, “We are now about to leave the Treaty of Rome.”

Looking to the future, he revealed he would play an active role in the presidential campaign in the US this year, adding, “Instead of going to Strasbourg once a month I will be over on the east side of the States each month.”

He said he would “miss the drama” of parliamentary life and, when asked by this website, if there was a “souvenir” he would take back to the UK he paused and said, “Well, there are papers and photographers but the biggest thing I will take back is a big smile.”

/articles/news/nigel-farage-predicts-eu%E2%80%99s-collapse-%E2%80%98within-ten-years%E2%80%99 Wed, 29 Jan 2020 13:51:11 +0100
Dacian Cioloș: Reinventing Europe The Parliament Magazine

Having endured a series of crises over the past decade, the European Union is ready to make sweeping changes in line with the green and digital transformations. But citizens must play a key role in designing the blueprint for the future, writes Renew Europe leader Dacian Cioloș.

Having endured a series of crises over the past decade, the European Union is ready to make sweeping changes in line with the green and digital transformations. But citizens must play a key role in designing the blueprint for the future, writes Renew Europe leader Dacian Cioloș.

Dacian Cioloș MEP | Photo credit: Natalie Hill


As leader of the Renew Europe group in the European Parliament, what do you see as your group’s main priorities for the next couple of years?

Our Union is at a crossroads. Brexit has shown that EU membership is reversible, and the political forces of populism and nationalism are far from defeated.

We need to learn the lessons from Brexit and move Europe forward so that it is more capable, not only to deliver peace, prosperity and security for all of its citizens, but also to make sure our continent is at the forefront of the great transformations of our time.

We want Europe to be firm on the rule of law and in protecting and developing individual rights, not least in the field of Artificial Intelligence and new technologies. Access to data will be critical in this endeavour and we need to define the European way of doing it.


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At the same time, we have to define a path for growth that delivers both prosperity and climate neutrality - good jobs in a healthy environment. Some sectors of the economy will have to reinvent themselves, such as energy, mobility and agriculture.

Research and innovation and investments in a just transition will be decisive in achieving our ambition of a climate-neutral Europe. The Green Deal is not only a challenge, it’s also about opportunity.

 

This year another conference on the Future of Europe will take place. What are the most important issues the conference needs to address and how do you ensure its outcomes are relevant to EU citizens?

This is not just another conference. It is a much-needed platform to discuss how we can do Europe better.

My political family has been waiting for many years to launch this initiative, which must be widely opened to citizens.

I am glad that the conference is now on the right track. Debates on the future of Europe should not be ‘Brussels bubble-centric’ or the prerogative of the elite; on the contrary.

I am convinced that representative democracy can be strengthened by participatory processes and direct engagement with Europeans.

“I am convinced that representative democracy can be strengthened by participatory processes and direct engagement with Europeans”

The 2010s were marked by a series of crises for the European Union. This Conference is a chance to listen, to reflect, to identify shortcomings in the Union’s policies and institutions and establish ways to reform. And, of course, to deliver change. We have two and a half years to do so.

 

What impact will the loss of your 17 UK MEPs have on the structure and strength of Renew Europe and more generally what are your thoughts on the loss of UK policymakers from the European Parliament and the other EU institutions?

For me, there is no doubt: Brexit is a terrible, terrible mistake. But as Europeans, it was not, and is not, our choice; it is the result of a democratic process that we have to accept.

And we all have to move forward. Now, the European Union must defend its interests in the negotiations ahead of us.

The UK is not geographically moving further away from Europe; it is only a political distance. Therefore, I do hope for the closest possible future relationship.

Whatever the outcome will be, I am confident Britain will remain a close ally and a strategic partner.

At a political level, Renew Europe will ensure that the bonds between us and the Liberal Democrats remain very strong. I have been deeply impressed by their work ethic and determination from day one.

They have helped to create one of the largest pro-European movements and I have no doubt that, one day, a young British leader will once again bring Britain back to the heart of the European family, where it belongs.

For Renew Europe, in the short term, Brexit will also be accompanied by new MEPs joining after January 31. We will remain a central force in the post-Brexit Parliament, determined to use our strength to transform Europe and deliver reforms.

 

What hopes do you have for the Ursula Von der Leyen Commission? Where should its priorities lie?

Renew Europe has played an important role in shaping the priorities and composition of the new College and it is for this reason that we also supported it.

However, as I said at the time of the election of the Commission, our support is not a blank cheque.

Each Commissioner has a key role to play in restoring Europeans’ trust in the EU, with a vision, ambition and passion for Europe. From East to West, from North to South, all of us here have a clear mission, that of reinvigorating the European project.

We will not achieve this with declarations or fancy promises, but with facts and measures that make Europe concrete, understandable and useful in the daily lives of our citizens.

“For me, there is no doubt: Brexit is a terrible, terrible mistake. But as Europeans it was not and is not our choice; it is the result of a democratic process that we have to accept”

The Green Deal and the Digital Agenda are two priorities where the EU must not only set targets and ambitions but also a political and policy path to make them a reality.

As a former European commissioner, what advice, if any, have you given to the six Renew Europe commissioners?

I am not at that stage in life where I feel entitled to give advice and talk from experience. We have a team of dynamic and very experienced Commissioners.

They know that the Parliament will be an ally to find the best European solutions to European challenges and they also know that Europe is not Brussels.

For me, it is absolutely key to reconnect the European project to people in our Member States and regions. This is not advice, but an objective.

The Conference on the Future of Europe will certainly play a role and each one of us in the Parliament as well as every Commissioner will have a responsibility to connect our political and policy priorities to our European roots, discussing and exchanging with citizens.

 

As an agricultural expert, what are your thoughts on the farm to fork strategy, and what should Janusz Wojciechowski’s priorities be as the new agricultural commissioner?

I welcome the ambition of the new Commission to put forward a new comprehensive strategy for our food and our agriculture. New priorities and traditional policies should not be opposed.

On the contrary, traditional policies like the Common Agricultural Policy should be revisited, so that they match today’s challenges.

There is a broad consensus, both within the farming community and society as a whole, for a serious reform of the Common Agricultural Policy, not just an administrative facelift.

We want to strengthen the ‘common’ part of the Common Agricultural Policy and to deliver a policy that helps farmers to invest and transform their farms, so that they are more sustainable and more economically viable.

“Climate change is an existential challenge and biodiversity loss is reaching catastrophic levels. As citizens, we all have a duty to take our responsibilities and make changes to our lifestyles”

The Farm to Fork Strategy needs to build on the capacity of the CAP to provide a new impetus to our farming sector.

 

What, in your opinion, are the biggest challenges currently facing the EU and what can Parliament do to address them?

Climate change is an existential challenge and biodiversity loss is reaching catastrophic levels.

As citizens, we all have a duty to take our responsibilities and make changes to our lifestyles. As politicians working for citizens, we have the responsibility to do much more than that.

To me it is clear that European countries are stronger if they confront this challenge together. At the same time, within the EU, regions are not equally developed; some have to work harder than others.

This is why we need a just transition and we must look carefully at the impact that our policy proposals have on people’s lives, jobs and businesses.

Some parts of the economy will have to reinvent themselves and we have to ensure that no one is left behind.

 

Following the disappointing outcome of COP25, what does the EU need to do ahead of next year’s COP26 in Glasgow?

I believe that with the right preparation and a common vision, the European Union can once again take a global lead in the run-up to COP26.

Renew Europe will be a strong partner for international action on climate change. I think the dramatic fi res in Australia should be a wake-up call for many leaders in the world.

Climate change is not something for the future. It’s happening now.

 

At a time when the rule of law and democracy is under threat in certain parts of Europe, including Romania, how would you like to see the EU put pressure on the governments of these countries to change, and can the upcoming MFF negotiations be used as a tool of influence?

I am confident that with the current Government, the rule of law is no longer under threat. The Romanian Alliance 2020 USR PLUS, our delegation in Renew Europe, remains vigilant and I assure you that if there are any worrying signs, we will be the first to voice our concern and take action.

More importantly - and I have seen this major shift in Romanian society in the past few years - tens of thousands of Romanians will take to the streets to defend the rule of law, as it was when the previous PSD government was trying to bend the law.

The Rule of Law is a priority for Renew Europe and we were key in making this one of the Commission’s priorities. We need to develop an EU mechanism on democracy, rule of law and fundamental rights, as proposed by Parliament in the last mandate.

Too many EU leaders are challenging the values of the Union and this has to change. This is also why we have pressed for reforms so that EU funds are more closely linked to the rule of law under the MFF.

We say to those governments that refuse to abide by the rules: If your citizens cannot enjoy fundamental rights then you cannot benefit from EU subsidies. We are determined to defend liberal democracy.

This must also come hand-in-hand with a recognition that for some countries, the benefits of the European project need to be communicated more clearly and in a more accessible manner.

This is why I want to find a permanent way to include Europeans in the EU decision-making process. Our citizens should feel part of a common project and a common dream, not part of a system that imposes a doctrine on them from above.

/articles/interviews/dacian-ciolo%C8%99-reinventing-europe Tue, 28 Jan 2020 18:07:37 +0100
Candlelit vigil for citizens' rights outside European Parliament as UK exits EU Martin Banks

The vigil is planned to coincide with a “silent” march and similar vigil in central London on Friday, where campaigners say they will make the case for the protection of citizens' rights post-Brexit.

The vigil is planned to coincide with a “silent” march and similar vigil in central London on Friday, where campaigners say they will make the case for the protection of citizens' rights post-Brexit.

Photo credit: Flickr


Campaign groups say they want to “remind those watching as Britain leaves the EU that many of the citizens' rights issues are still unresolved.”

Roger Casale, of the New Europeans group, said, “Brexit is not an invitation to compromise the rights of the 5 million. The silent procession will be our way of showing that the rights EU citizens in the UK and Britons in the EU are not yet fully guaranteed.”

People around the UK and in Europe will also be asked to light a candle and “to think about the rights of #the5million.”


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This is a reference to the 1.5m Britons in Europe and 3.5m EU citizens in the UK, many of whom say they still fear for their future after Brexit.

In Brussels at around midday on Friday outside the European parliament scores of people will each hold up signs spelling out the words: “Don’t make citizens pay the price of  Brexit.”

Casale explained, “At exactly the same time we will holding up the same signs at the Millicent Fawcett statue at Parliament Square. We will combine this with a call for people to light a candle in the evening to symbolise the rights of the 5 million which should never be extinguished.”

British MEPs have spent last week and this week clearing their desks at their offices in Strasbourg and Brussels for the last time. The Union Jack will be lowered from outside the three main EU institutions - Parliament, Commission and Council, on Friday.

“The silent procession will be our way of showing that the rights of EU citizens in the UK and Britons in the EU are not yet fully guaranteed” Roger Casale, New Europeans

Casale added, “This Friday is an historic day for Britain and for Europe. We do not want to let it pass, including in Brussels, without reminding those watching that the rights of #the5million must never be extinguished.”

“For all those who can't be with us on Friday, they are asked to light a candle at 11pm for #the5million and for all the British people and the generation to come who will lose their rights because of Brexit.”

“By doing so you will help give meaning and hope to an occasion which for many of us will also be filled with anger, disappointment and sadness.”

The UK will leave the EU at midnight on Friday.

MEPs, meanwhile, are set to approve the Withdrawal Agreement in a vote at 6pm on Wednesday.

Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, European Council President Charles Michel, European Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič and the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier are expected to participate in the debate with political group leaders that will precede the vote.

The vote comes after the completion of the ratification process in the UK and the vote by the constitutional affairs committee last week.

To enter into force, the Withdrawal Agreement between the European Union and UK needs to be approved by the European Parliament by a simple majority of votes cast before being subject to a final vote (by qualified majority) in the Council later this week.

A Parliament spokesman said, “After the vote, Parliament’s President David Sassoli will make a statement to the plenary, following which UK MEPs and group leaders will be invited to mark this moment in a ceremony in the Yehudi Menuhin area.”

The Socialists are also holding a ceremony in Parliament on Wednesday “in honour of the hard work of UK Labour MEPs for more than 45 years in the European Parliament and their significant contribution to making peoples’ lives better all across Europe.”

Richard Corbett and Theresa Griffin will be speaking on behalf of UK Labour MEPs alongside S&D leader, Iratxe García Pérez, and David Sassoli.

There will also be contributions from Vice-President of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans, and PES President, Sergei Stanishev.

/articles/news/candlelit-vigil-citizens-rights-outside-european-parliament-uk-exits-eu Tue, 28 Jan 2020 17:02:04 +0100
Claude Moraes: Brexit should not be at expense of asylum seekers Martin Banks

UK MEP Claude Moraes has criticised UK Home Office plans to “send people back to Europe” after Brexit.

UK MEP Claude Moraes has criticised UK Home Office plans to “send people back to Europe” after Brexit.

Photo credit: European Parliament Audiovisual


Speaking in a parliamentary committee on Monday, Moraes said “Brexit should not be at the expense” of asylum seekers and their children.

His comments came during a committee debate on the report, "Refugee protection and asylum policy", drafted by the EU Affairs Committee of the House of Lords in the UK. The UK is due to leave the EU at the end of this week.

Moraes, a Labour member, said he believed that the UK department would have to share responsibility if it wanted Europe to take back asylum seekers from the UK.


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He said, “If Home Secretary Priti Patel wants to send people back to Europe, then the UK will have to think about compassionate responsibility sharing for vulnerable child migrants. In this sense, the UK is not an island.”

The Home Office is preparing to end the current system of family reunification for asylum-seeking children if the UK leaves the EU without a deal at the end of this year.

Moraes warner, however, that a no-deal Brexit in December would mean no new applications after 1 November from asylum-seeking children to be reunited with relatives living in the UK.

He fears that the impact on migrant children stranded alone in countries such as Greece and Italy could be “fatal” as more head for the Channel to try to cross to the UK irregularly.

“If Home Secretary Priti Patel wants to send people back to Europe, then the UK will have to think about compassionate responsibility sharing for vulnerable child migrants. In this sense, the UK is not an island” Claude Moraes MEP

Moraes, speaking at a meeting of the civil liberties committee, said, “Brexit has attracted much attention on the future of trade relations between the UK and the EU, but most debates largely overlooked JHA-related issues, which are hardly mentioned in the Withdrawal Agreement itself.”

“One striking example of this is the fact that already next week, the UK will face restrictions from some EU Members States on the use of the European Arrest Warrant with a third-country.”

“With regards to migration, asylum and border management, the status quo should be protected during the transition period but the level of cooperation after December 2020 still remains to be seen.”

The last time he will speak in Parliament, Moraes said, “Brexit should not be at the expense of children and families who embarked on perilous journey to seek safety and lost each other on the way. It should not prevent a child who is living alone in a hotspot in Greece or sleeping rough on the streets of Paris or London to be reunited with his parents or siblings.”

In a debate with other MEPs and the UK Red Cross, the veteran MEP added, “This is not only morally unacceptable but could also have fatal consequences. Without the possibility of a safe way to reach the UK, these young people will simply vanish to try to cross the Channel at Calais on lorries or boats or fall prey to human traffickers who target vulnerable children.”

Moraes noted that the UK House of Commons had approved the Withdrawal Agreement, adding, “the scenario of a no-deal Brexit has been avoided for now and therefore the UK will remain part of the Dublin System until the end of the transition period.”

He warned, “However, serious concerns remain both during the transition period and after December 2020 when the Dublin regulation will be revoked in the UK.”

During the transition, he told the committee that it is “essential” that “as many family reunification claims as possible” are processed.

He asked, “How is the Commission supporting EU27 Dublin units to speed up the processing of all take-charge requests to the UK as soon as possible and not later than December 2020?”

After December 2020, under section 17 of the Withdrawal Act, he said the UK government is committed to seek to negotiate the retention of the provisions that allow separated children who have applied for asylum in the EU to join family members in other Member States.

He went on, “However, the commitment only covers separated children and not other refugees and people seeking asylum who would currently be able to be reunited through the Dublin System.”

Moraes told the meeting that “significant gaps remain” between the provisions of the Dublin system and those of the UK’s domestic legislation.

“This will ultimately make it harder for asylum seekers present in the EU to access family reunification under the UK’s domestic law than it was under Dublin III.”

He concluded, “It is therefore crucial for the UK and the EU to find an agreement as part of the negotiations of the future relationship that allows any individuals, children and adults, who have claimed asylum either in the UK or in the EU to be reunited with family members, in the same way that are able under the current Dublin regulation.”

/articles/news/claude-moraes-brexit-should-not-be-expense-asylum-seekers Tue, 28 Jan 2020 15:50:03 +0100