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  • Event: Oct 19, 2022 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
    Zoom

    The meeting is to decide on the proposed new constitution for the Liberal Democrat European Group

    Copies of the draft new constitution have been sent to all members.

    If you require a new copy, then please send an email

  • Article: Sep 5, 2022
    By Rob Harrison
    1. Catherine Bearder opened the meeting at 10 am and welcomed the participants
    2. Apologies for absence
      Several apologies for absence were received
    3. Minutes of 2019 AGM and matters arising (web page)
      These were approved
    4. Christine Jardine - currently Treasury Spokesperson - discussed her work
    5. Chair's report (web page)
      There was a brief discussion
    6. Party review of SAOs and AOs (chair verbal report)
      The party is currently carrying out a review of the SAOs and the AOs.
      LDEG will be making an input.
    7. Financial and membership reports (web page)
      These were approved
    8. AOB
      Nothing was discussed
    9. Meeting ended at 11:30 am.
  • David Chalmers with EU Flag in Background
    Article: Sep 5, 2022

    It has been almost two years since the last LDEG AGM, which took place online on 24th October 2020. Unfortunately we had to postpone the AGM from its original date in the Spring of this year as I came down seriously with Covid - which was followed by bouts of illness amongst other the members of our Exec, and coupled with the need to avoid disrupting campaigning in Parliamentary by-elections and the summer holidays, we finally settled on this date.

  • Article: Jul 1, 2022
    By David Chalmers

    Liberal Democrats sign Dublin Diversity Declaration supporting greater LGBT+ representation in politics.

    On 6 June at the recent ALDE Party Congress in Dublin,the Liberal Democrats, alongside 31 of their sister parties from across Europe, signed the Dublin Diversity Declaration, pledging their support and encouraging greater LGBT+ political representation at all levels of government.

  • Article: Jun 11, 2022
    By David N Chalmers

    ALDE Congress in Dublin

    Whilst most of you were celebrating the Queen's Platinum Jubilee last weekend, a number of us travelled to Dublin, as part of the Lib Dem delegation to the ALDE Congress taking place from 2nd to 4th June - the first physical meeting of our liberal and democratic sister parties from across Europe since our last get together in Athens in October 2019.

  • Layla Moran outside in a park
    Article: Mar 13, 2022
    By Robert Harrison

    At the Liberal Democrat Conference, a roadmap was agreed to improve the UK's trading relationship with Europe, benefitting British families and businesses, helping counter the threat posed by Putin's Russia. The motion calls for closer ties in education through the Turing scheme and Erasmus Plus. The UK should seek cooperation agreements with EU agencies and work to reach a UK-EU agreement on asylum seekers. It should deep trade with Europe, including by negotiating greater access for UK food and animal products to the Single Market. Eventually, the UK should place its relationship with the EU on a more formal footing by seeking to join the Single Market.

  • Graham Jones
    Article: Feb 6, 2022
    By Graham Jones

    We are pleased to reprint below a copy of a speech made by our Executive Member Graham Jones to the Oxford Branch of the United Nations Association

    When Daniel suggested I might like to talk about Britain's new relationship with the rest of Europe, as Chair of Oxford Region of the European Movement and a member of the Movements' National Council, I thought it might be useful to focus on one aspect, and to do so in a way that allowed discussion. Half of us wanted to stay in the EU in 2016. Half of us didn't and my side lost. The narrowness of the vote ensures the issue remains historically unsettled, but for now and perhaps for the next ten to twenty years our future lies outside one iteration of Europe, the European Movement. Our involvement in others continues, from the Council of Europe to the European Broadcasting Union. Everywhere our presence is valued, and nowhere more so than in NATO, which for all that it appears dominated from the other side of the Pond is essential, with a very few exceptions, a defensive alliance of the nation states of our Continent.

  • Article: Sep 29, 2021

    The spring 2021 conference instructed the FPC to 'carry out a programme of work, including consulting
    widely within the party, to determine the best possible future framework for the UK-EU relationship across
    all policy areas, with the aims of: (a) demonstrating the benefits to UK citizens and businesses of a much
    closer relationship compared to the government's inadequate measures; (b) recommending roadmaps for
    the UK to rejoin the Customs Union, Single Market and other EU agencies and programmes as appropriate;
    and (c) maximising public support for eventual UK membership of the EU.'
    The FPC has appointed a small group, chaired by Duncan Brack and including representatives of the
    parliamentary party, the Federal International Relations Committee and the Liberal Democrat European
    Group, to implement the conference instruction. We have decided to approach our task through a series of
    conference motions and papers rather than one big one. Since we cannot realistically cover every possible
    relevant topic through conference motions, we are also encouraging our parliamentary spokespeople to
    put forward proposals for closer and stronger relationships with the EU in their spokespersonship areas.
    We organised a consultation session at conference in September, and we are collaborating with the Liberal
    Democrat European Group in organising these regional events, in order to give party members a chance to
    tell us what they think are the priority policy areas we should address, what the possible solutions within
    each area are, and the messages the party should use in promoting closer cooperation between the UK and
    EU. This is our initial list of key topics -

    Cultural, artistic and educational ties
    We thought this was a good topic to begin with, so the FPC submitted a motion to conference on
    'Rebuilding our Cultural, Artistic and Educational Ties with Europe'. The motion called, among other things,
    for the UK to rejoin the Erasmus Plus scheme, to establish a European cultural fund and to improve the
    Youth Mobility Scheme. It was passed without opposition.

    Trade
    The key topic is obviously the trading relationship between the UK and EU. For next year's spring
    conference we are planning a motion on Single Market and Customs Union membership. This is such a
    complex area, covering, among other things, freedom of movement, social, health and environmental
    standards and the Northern Ireland Protocol, that we'll be accompanying it with a short paper, to be
    published alongside the conference agenda. There is no doubt about the party's commitment to rejoining
    the Single Market and Customs Union - that was made clear at spring conference this year- but there are
    many issues to consider about the practicalities, the phasing and the impacts. Among other things, this
    should provide at least partial solutions to the recent supply-chain problems, including shortages of HGV
    drivers and staff in the transport, farming, food and catering and care sectors.

    Climate change and energy
    The FPC's policy paper on carbon pricing, which was approved by conference, includes the proposal to link
    the UK Emissions Trading Scheme with the EU ETS, thus increasing the effectiveness of emissions trading;
    and rejoining the EU ETS would be a requirement of UK entry to the EU in any case. Other potential areas
    for cooperation include working together with the EU in international climate negotiations; meeting
    emissions reduction targets jointly with the EU (in the same way as EEA countries do); and promoting
    greater interconnection with EU energy networks.

    Natural environment
    Potential areas for collaboration include re-adopting EU standards in areas such as pollution control, water,
    air, chemicals, biodiversity, waste, genetically modified organisms and environmental impact assessment
    (most of this would be required under Single Market membership in any case, but this approach could be
    adopted in advance); working with the EU on its new measures to require businesses to protect the
    environment, and human and labour rights, in their supply chains; and working together with the EU in
    international biodiversity negotiations.

    Rights of EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the EU
    This topic covers guaranteeing EU citizens' rights in law, including physical proof of settled status;
    automatic upgrading for those with pre-settled status; strengthening the Independent Monitoring
    Authority; and reiterating our commitment to the European Social Charter. We could also urge the UK
    government to ensure that EU member state governments are upholding the rights of UK citizens.

    Crime
    Issues under this heading include police and security cooperation, including access to the Schengen
    Information System (information-sharing for security and border management); rejoining Europol and
    Eurojust and the European Arrest Warrant; and arrangements for the reciprocal nature of judgements, for
    example under the Lugano Convention, which clarifies which national courts have jurisdiction in crossborder
    civil and commercial disputes and ensures that judgments taken in such disputes can be enforced
    across borders.

    Science
    Key aspects include alignment and co-operation as far as possible with EU science programmes such as
    Horizon Europe; participation in satellite systems including Galileo, EGNOS (the pan-European satellite
    navigation system) and Copernicus (the EU's Earth observation programme); participation in Euratom; and
    measures to improve access for EU nationals to UK academic institutions.

    Health
    Topics include workforce issues such as recognition of professional qualifications, scrapping the
    Immigration Health Surcharge, improving visa routes; agreement on health insurance cards (EHIC/GHIC)
    with EEA member states; cooperation with the European Medicines Agency; and the possibility of joint
    pandemic preparedness exercises between UK and EU in the future.

    Foreign affairs, security and development
    This heading covers a wide range of issues, including cooperation over security challenges such as those
    posed by Russia or China; the impacts and possible strategies towards unstable regions such as Afghanistan
    or the Middle East; and cooperation over development challenges, including Covid vaccination and climate
    finance. Other possibilities include coordinated use of 'Magnitsky sanctions' targeted on individuals
    responsible for human rights violations or corruption; and the creation of a shared forum for European
    states to address foreign and defence policy issues.

    Comments on this paper are welcome, either in person at the LDEG regional events and conference on 30
    October, or by email to policy.consultations@libdems.org.uk.

  • Wendy Chamberlain (Official Portrait Wendy Chamberlain - https://members.parliament.uk/member/4765/portrait)
    Article: Sep 11, 2021

    North East Fife Liberal Democrat MP Wendy Chamberlain moved a "Westminister Hall" debate (transcript here) on Wednesday 8th September criticising the closure of offices of the British Council, an important cultural institution financed by the British Government. As Wendy noted "the British Council was created [in 1934] in response to a changing global stage: the United Kingdom was losing its traditional forms of influence, extreme ideologies were on the rise around the world and there was a global economic crisis." Wendy continued that "those problems may not sound unfamiliar to the Minister and others here today as he and his Cabinet colleagues seek to re-establish the UK as a global power outside the EU, respond to extreme ideologies at home and abroad, as we have devastatingly seen over the last few weeks, and tackle the economic and social implications of the pandemic and the climate crisis. Clearly, the British Council remains as relevant today as it has ever been."

  • Article: Sep 4, 2021
    By David Chalmers

    The Liberal Democrat Conference on the Future of Europe

    Dear member

    I hope you managed to have a break of some kind this summer and are now, as we head into the autumn, refreshed and ready for our conference and debating season. For those of us for whom Europe is still the most defining issue of our time - and I suspect that as a member of the Lib Dem European Group (LDEG) that includes yourself - the next couple of months are going to be very exciting. You are being offered the opportunity to have your say.