Anneliese Dodds MEP

The South East's Voice in Europe

Anneliese's News- April 2017

 

Since my last update, I have been busy in the European Parliament and across the South East trying to mitigate the impact of the government’s extreme approach to Brexit.

At meetings, events and on the doorstep, from Tunbridge Wells to Bexhill to Witney, I have heard a chorus of concerns from my constituents who are appalled by the Conservatives’ use of EU nationals as ‘bargaining chips’ in the negotiations. Not only is such a position morally questionable, it is also costing the UK valuable goodwill when we need to start the Brexit negotiations from the best possible position. I have campaigned consistently for a cast-iron guarantee from the Government which promises that they will stop playing politics with people’s lives and assure the status of current EU residents in Britain.

Another major concern is the impact that the government’s approach could have on universities and science in the South East. So far the government has failed to prioritise higher education and science in the negotiations, despite the fact that the referendum result is already impacting on recruitment and science funding.

A tenth of British universities’ research funding comes from the EU, which also supports major projects in the South East like the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy. We have so far had no clear commitment from the British government that it will fight for Britain to remain part of essential funding programmes like Horizon 2020.

Many higher education staff and students also come from the EU, particularly within the South East; and the government’s failure to provide a clear guarantee to EU nationals currently living in the UK, and for EU staff and students in the future, is causing considerable concern.   

Over the last months I have met with institutions from the Open University to Oxford University, and from the University of Portsmouth to the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy, to discuss the best way forward. I have also used my position as a South East MEP to do everything I can to highlight to my European colleagues the value that British institutions bring to global scientific progress.

It is essential that during the negotiations we maintain an open dialogue between the UK and our European Union partners. It is especially critical to maintain relations with those pragmatic politicians who want to see an approach to Brexit which does not cripple the European – or British – economy. In this regard, I was pleased to speak alongside both the German MEP Jakob von Weizsacker and the Portugese MEP Ana Gomes at well-attended public meetings, both in Oxford.  

Finally, some have seen the Brexit vote as an excuse for a race to the bottom in financial regulation. This is despite the massive impact of the last financial crisis, which partly arose due to a lack of transparency and accountability in financial markets. I have produced a paper on how a ‘new deal’ for the City from the Brexit negotiations could preserve market access to the EU, thus preserving British jobs, whilst upholding high regulatory standards. 

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