International Relations Committee report

Editor’s Note: This report was actually filed just after the meeting ended at Conference but we waited until we were all home to put it up.

Amidst the talk of Brexit and of our future place on the world as a nation, International Relations Committee met in a spirit of determination to do our part.

At the top of the agenda were opportunities to discuss the impact of Brexit beyond our shores, courtesy of Kerstin Lundgren, the Foreign Affairs spokesperson for Sweden’s Centerpartiet, and Joseph Garcia, Deputy Chief Minister of Gibraltar and Leader of the Gibraltar Liberal Party. It was apparent that, whilst our Government is attempting to work out what its negotiating stance might be, there are parallel processes going on already within other national governments.

Naturally, from the Gibraltarian perspective, concerns about the border with Spain, crossed by 12,000 Spanish workers onto the Rock each day, are uppermost, along with the implications for the flourishing financial services industry. Indeed, there has been talk of entry into Schengen for Gibraltar.

Kerstin spoke of Swedish concerns about defence, given her party’s developing stance on NATO membership (Sweden isn’t currently a member) and the unwelcome assertiveness of the Russians. She also noted that, as one of the non-Eurozone member states, Britain’s influence in ensuring that the interests of those states are not overlooked will be lost.

We will clearly need to take a greater interest in policy developments in our sister parties, particularly in terms of their likely stance on Brexit negotiations, and proposals to exchange policy ideas with other ALDE Party members were on the agenda. It was agreed to explore this further, perhaps working with the ALDE Party itself to establish a broader policy exchange for the benefit of all member parties.

Our new International Officer, Harriet Shone, updated the committee on the work that the International Office are doing in South Africa and Georgia, and reported back on her recent trip to Sierra Leone, where the influence of an over mighty Executive has had worrying effects on the ability of Parliament to do its job, lacking even basic resources. Future projects include training for our Kenyan sister party, and work around the COP22 meeting in Marrakech, with a Liberal International meeting scheduled to take place there.

We’re scheduled to meet again in November, in the run-up to the ALDE Party Congress in early December, where the impact of the Party’s governance review will doubtless be high up the agenda.

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This entry was posted in Europe / International.

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