The North Sea Commission was part of a CPMR delegation meeting Michel Barnier, the European Commission’s Brexit Chief Negotiator, on December 19 in Brussels to discuss preparation for Brexit and impacts in the regions of the UK withdrawal. 

With 100 days left to the UK’s withdrawal from EU, six regional politicians from CPMR, and its North Sea and Atlantic Arc Commissions met with EU’s Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier to discuss the impacts of Brexit. The North Sea Commission was represented by President Kerstin Brunnström (Västra Götaland, SE), Vice President Andreas Lervik (Østfold, NO) and Chair of Brexit task force Michiel Rijsberman (Flevoland, NL). The delegation highlighted the importance of continued cooperation after Brexit between regions from EU27, UK and Norway 

From left to right: Andreas Lervik (Østfold, NO), Adam Paynter (Cornwall, EN), Kerstin Brunnström (Västra Götaland, SE),
Michiel Rijsberman (Flevoland, NL), Michel Barnier, Loig Chesnais-Girard (Brittany, FR), Rosa Quintana (Galicia, ES), 
Eleni Marianou (CPMR)
Photo by: Andrew Kennedy

Message from the delegation

The most important message from the NSC delegates was that EU in every way must work to minimise the damaging effects of Brexit on the regions in Northern Europe, the regions with the most exchange with the UK today. The delegates also highlighted the importance of British participation in EU programmes for future transnational cooperation and research/innovation. NSC President Kerstin Brunnström emphasised the importance of the North Sea Region for energy production, fisheries and external trade, and that a well-functioning cooperation is in the best interest for all of Europe. Brunnström expressed a hope that Brexit could be the catalyst for new forms of cooperation between different countries, sectors and levels of government in the North Sea Region.

‘No deal’ Contingency Action Plan

The same day as the meeting, the European Commission announced its ‘No deal’ Contingency Action Plan as a response to the continued uncertainty in the UK surrounding the withdrawal agreement. The Contingency action plan includes 14 measures where a ‘no deal’ would create major disruption, including financial services, air transport, customs and climate policy, amongst others. One of the focus points of the Commission is to put citizens first, this by inviting the member states to take a generous approach to the rights of UK citizens in the EU.

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