Since the conclusion of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), the CoR adopted positions on the relationship with the UK in its resolutions on the European Commission work programme 2022 and was visible on the matter by dedicating a chapter on post-Brexit in its Annual Barometer and by posting an idea on "Developing links between the EU and the UK with the support of local and regional authorities" on the Digital Platform of the Conference on the Future of Europe .
The opinion therefore presents the first positioning of the CoR entirely dedicated to the relationship with the UK in this new context. Given that the relationship between the EU and the UK is still very much determined by hazards in the implementation of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), which seem to be essentially caused by conflicting agendas at national levels, the CoR opinion is one of the first institutional positions looking beyond the "intergovernmental" relationship.
The CoR opinion has been developed on strong interactions with the CoR-UK Contact Group as well as several CoR commissions, and in particular the ECON commission on matters relating to trade and to the implementation of the Brexit Adjustment Reserve (BAR) as well as with COTER on matters relating to territorial cooperation and transports.
Following the adoption of the CoR opinion, the rapporteur was invited to attend the first meeting of the Parliamentary Partnership Assembly on May 12 2022 as an observer. This is a first step towards the formal recognition of the role of the European Committee of the Regions and of local and regional authorities in the parliamentary dimension of the new relationship with the UK;
during the meeting of the CoR-UK contact group on 6 September, the call to increase the participation of CoR representatives in the meetings of the Parliamentary Partnership Assembly was made to EP Co-chair of the PPA, Nathalie Loiseau (FR/RenewE).
THE EUROPEAN COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS
- regrets that the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) lacks "territorial depth" and does not duly recognise the role of local and regional authorities (LRAs) in the EU-UK relationship;
- stresses that the CoR-UK Contact Group (CG), established in February 2020, is the only institutional channel for providing a forum for continued dialogue and political partnership between the EU and UK LRAs and for exchanging know-how, in particular on territorial cooperation and cross-border issues, and calls for its formal recognition under the TCA in order to provide an assessment of the subnational dimension of the key policy and legislative issues that will have an impact on the UK-EU bilateral relationship;
- and encourages the European Parliament (EP) to adopt a formalised interaction between the CoR and the EP's Delegation to the UK (D-UK) to the EU-UK Parliamentary Partnership Assembly (PPA) to provide territory-based evidence about the implementation of the TCA;
- welcomes the CoR study on New trade and economic relations between EU-UK: the impact on regions and cities which concludes that Brexit effects are asymmetric across sectors and EU regions, impact more heavily on smaller companies, may reduce human capital mobility and cooperation between EU and UK enterprises, and negatively affect regions and communities involved in interregional projects with the UK;
- insists that the provisions of the Brexit Adjustment Reserve (BAR) Regulation relating to the involvement of regions and local communities in the implementation of the BAR and the reporting at NUTS 2 level are fully respected;
- sees untapped prospects for cooperation between EU and UK LRAs in jointly engaging on common challenges, such as providing humanitarian assistance, the sustainable management of the North Sea, the Channel and the Irish Sea, as well as the global fight against climate change, the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals at local and regional level and the shift towards more sustainable and digital tourism.