GMB sign letter of support to keep open East of England Brussels office
GMB call for East of England Local Government Association to keep open region's European Partnership office in Brussels
Europe operates on a regional basis and we need to be in the best position to secure high quality jobs, through joint projects and additional funding, says GMB London
GMB and other trade unions have signed a letter of support to be sent to the management committee of East of England Local Government Association (EELGA), calling on them to rethink their plans to withdraw £159,000 that currently go towards funding the East of England European Partnership office in Brussels. [See notes to editors for letter of support]
The consequence of this withdrawal of funds would be the closure of the office in July, despite ongoing financial support from other organisations including Anglia Ruskin University, the University of East Anglia, Anglian Water, Hertfordshire LEP and the Greater Cambridgeshire Greater Peterborough LEP.
Almost every other region in the EU have an office in Brussels, as do all Norwegian and Icelandic regions which are not in the EU.
Warren Kenny, GMB Regional Secretary said:
“GMB London Region have signed this letter of support calling on the EELGA to keep open their European Partnership Office in Brussels as, although we can appreciate the huge financial pressures on local governments, we also fear this would be a short-termist and backwards step.
“Europe operates on a regional basis and we need to be in the best position to secure high quality jobs, through joint projects and additional funding.
“It would be a wasted opportunity to throw away such a valuable network, as well as specialist knowledge, which have translated into real term benefits for the region, by a premature decision to close the office.”
Contact: Vaughan West 07967 342197 or GMB London Region 07970 114762
Notes to Editors
Letter to East of England Local Government Association
We are writing as regional trade union leaders, representing millions of working people across Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk, concerning the future of the East of England European Partnership LGA office in Brussels. We understand that the office faces possible closure and we are very concerned about this development.
Our members cover a range of views on Brexit, but we believe that it is increasingly likely that Britain will maintain a strong working relationship with the EU after we leave. Furthermore, this will likely mean there will continue to be EU funding opportunities available to the East of England, as there are to other regions in non-EU nations. Many of EU funds British regions may be able to continue to access in the future are currently distributed by councils and other organisations where we have members, and direct beneficiaries of EU funding also employ union members.
We therefore believe an office near the hub of where important decisions may well be made for years to come could put the East of England in a prime position. We know from experience that by pooling resources we can become greater than the sum of our parts, achieving exciting opportunities for our region and keeping apace of other regions who are maintaining their offices in Brussels.
We hope you reconsider this decision.