This week we sat down with Chair of the UK-EU Relations Committee, Tom Parker, to gain an insight into what the upcoming plans are for the committee.
What are the UK-EU Relations Working Group’s plans for the next year?
Our plan is to remain at the heart of the Brexit discussion, recognised by our members and both sides of the negotiating tables as a bringer of valuable insight and content. We will continue our programmes of events, focused on key aspects of the Brexit discussion, such as customs arrangements, access to the EU internal market, and skilled labour. We also intend to keep dialoguing with business groups and other organisations from across Europe and beyond to build out greater understanding of the impact of Brexit to business.
Going forwards, what work are you most excited about being undertaken by the Committee?
The work which puts the Chamber slap bang at the heart of the Brexit debate. For example, recognising that the complexities of a future arrangement between the UK and EU are so great that it is unlikely it will be completed by March 2019, the Chamber has called for a transition deal to be agreed once the details of separation have been settled. In the autumn we will launch discussion around the detail of such an arrangement, a topic which has as yet not been covered in any depth but which is critical to business and ultimately the success of future EU-UK relations.
What have you enjoyed most from being the chair of the UK-EU Relations Committee?
Given the scale and scope of the Brexit challenge, I have particularly enjoyed working with our members and learning from their different perspectives and detailed insights on the consequences of Brexit. Whether that be the legal minutiae of adopting a transition deal, to the challenges of customs and rules of origin for those in manufacturing, to equivalence in services, there are so many details that do not make the headlines but that cannot afford to be missed in these negotiations.
What are you most proud of during your time so far as chair of the Committee?
I think the British Chamber of Commerce in Belgium can be proud of the fact that it has become a reference on Brexit because of our related activity, knowledge and insight. Over the past 12 months we have been interviewed by the BBC, RTBF, Sky, Politico to name but a few, made key note speeches at events like the European Business Summit and seen an expanded membership interest as a result of our Brexit related activities.
Why are the work and events run by the Committee beneficial to someone in a business?
As with the wider Chamber, we provide a platform for discussion, sharing of insight and networking. With a topic as big as Brexit, working, talking and learning from others is key to meeting the challenge and seizing the opportunity of future UK-EU relations.
If you would like to learn more about the work by the UK-EU Relations Committee click here