Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy was recently part of a five-person delegation from the European Committee of the Regions to the UK’s Local Government Association and to the Mayor’s Office London to explore the impact Brexit will have on UK towns, cities and regions. The delegation also met British Secretary of State, David Jones, and stressed that it will continue to cooperate with the UK’s local and regional government throughout the Brexit negotiations and beyond. The meeting was also attended by political representatives of the UK’s devolved administrations and local authorities from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Cllr Kieran McCarthy at the meeting commented: “Brexit will have a huge impact on local and regional governments in both the UK and the EU, which is why we will continue to work closely together to understand the local economic, political and social consequences. There is much historic goodwill on both sides, the UK’s and the EU’s. Positive diplomacy is required and not the ‘taking pot shots’ mentality, which has prevailed in certain camps around the Brexit debate todate”. Cllr McCarthy also expressed the impact of a hard Brexit on Ireland and has called for the Committee of the Regions that Ireland’s case to be a priority in the Brexit negotiations.
The delegation visit follows a meeting between the Committee’s leaders and its UK delegation in mid-January with Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, who confirmed his wish to open a channel of dialogue and communication to allow local and regional stakeholders to be informed and heard throughout the process.
The European Committee of the Regions, the EU’s assembly for democratically elected local and regional politicians, has a consultative role in EU policymaking. Of its 700 members and alternates, 48 come from the United Kingdom. President Markkula and the Committee’s delegation which was composed of leaders from its political groups namely: Markus Töns (DE/PES) Member of the North Rhine-Westphalia Regional Parliament; Kieran McCarthy (IE/EA), Member of Cork City Council; Kate Feeney (IE/ALDE), Member of Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council; and Rob Jonkman (NL/ECR), Member of the Executive Council of Opsterland.