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Chamber and committees

Constitution, Europe, External Affairs and Culture Committee

Meeting date: Thursday, May 19, 2022

Agenda: Parliamentary Partnership Assembly, Legislative Consent after Brexit


Contents


Parliamentary Partnership Assembly

The Convener (Clare Adamson)

Good morning, everyone, and a very warm welcome to the 13th meeting in 2022 of the Constitution, Europe, External Affairs and Culture Committee.

Our first agenda item is an update on the meeting of the Parliamentary Partnership Assembly that the deputy convener and I attended last week in Brussels. It was the first meeting of the assembly. The agenda was very much a scene-setting one on deciding a way forward and possible future topics. A note of the meeting has been prepared by the clerks and will be distributed to members and published on the Parliament website, so I will not spend too much time talking about it.

There was a very good debate on the Friday afternoon on Ukraine, with a lot of consensus across Europe about the work that is being done by the United Kingdom and the European Union in that respect. There was also a very interesting discussion on energy co-operation and energy security going forward. However, on the first day it was absolutely clear—and I will invite Donald Cameron to say a few words on this as well—that there was a complete impasse between the UK and Europe in relation to the Northern Ireland protocol. As an observer—colleagues from the Welsh Senedd were represented as observers as well—my observation was that the issue dominated the two days and it was very disappointing that there was not a Northern Irish voice in the room. If our Northern Irish colleagues had been there, they would not have had speaking rights at it. Everybody was talking about them but we heard very little about the actual experience of the people who were being talked about.

The assembly meeting was very interesting and I am looking forward to seeing how the assembly develops. I invite Donald Cameron to say a few words.

Donald Cameron (Highlands and Islands) (Con)

I do not have much to add. I will reinforce what the convener said about the events, certainly on the first day, being overshadowed by the dispute about the Northern Ireland protocol, which I think was a great shame. However, it was good to be there in person and to be in the same room as delegates from the UK Parliament and the European Parliament.

There were some practical suggestions about how things might develop thereafter, rather than just a general discussion. There was talk about working groups being set up to look at specific policy areas, which would be a good thing from my point of view.

As the convener said, there were two very good sessions, one on EU-UK co-operation on defence and intelligence in relation to Ukraine, and another excellent session on energy and co-operation, particularly around things such as new energy technologies.

All in all, it was a worthwhile and fascinating visit.

As I said, a note of the meeting will be published on the website for anyone who has an interest and committee members will have the opportunity to read that.