EU-UK Forum: new initiative launched to help tackle issues raised by Brexit

The UK has now finally left the EU but problems have already emerged, just weeks after the much-vaunted trade and security agreement was thrashed out between the EU and UK on Christmas Eve.

One such problem has been trade, which has been disrupted this year by the extra paperwork and border checks required after Brexit.

British supermarkets that have stores in Europe are facing supply problems because of post-Brexit rules on exports to the EU.

Stonemanor

This is affecting fresh produce at 20 Marks and Spencer stores in France, Morrison's in Gibraltar, and Stonemanor, a small chain of supermarkets in Brussels, which has been forced to close, albeit temporarily, with no deliveries since December.

Indeed, according to UK cabinet minister Michael Gove, the EU's threat to restrict vaccine exports to Northern Ireland has opened a "Pandora's Box" regarding post-Brexit arrangements.

While the new “EU-UK Forum” does not claim to be able to resolve such weighty matters it does hope to help foster good relations between the two sides in the coming months and years.

The man behind the just-launched body is Briton Paul Adamson, a well-known and respected personality in Brussels who is credited with helping to promote a better understanding of the EU.

In 2012 Adamson was made an OBE for services to promoting understanding of the EU and, four years later, was made chevalier in the Ordre national du Merite by the French government.

Adamson explained, “The United Kingdom has left the European Union but the UK will need - and want - to maintain a constructive and informed dialogue with its European neighbours (and vice versa). The EU-UK Forum aims to facilitate and nurture that dialogue.

“There is a growing appreciation that ‘Brexit’ is a process, not a final destination, and that this process will mean ongoing discussions and negotiations for many years to come. There is no precedent for this state of affairs. Politicians and civil servants will be challenged to create and sustain the many kinds of dialogue that will inevitably flow from the UK’s departure from the EU.

“The EU-UK Forum seeks to serve as a support to the official deliberations that will now become an everyday reality. It will be non-partisan and will have as its primary objective to contribute to making future EU-UK relations as mutually beneficial as possible”.

The Forum is seen as a platform for discussion, debate and information exchange where, Adamson states, participants will have the opportunity not just to stay informed about ongoing EU-UK relations but also offer insights, expertise and ideas on how that relationship could evolve in the future.

Given current restrictions on large–scale ‘in-person’ gatherings the Forum’s initial events will be virtual via its fully interactive online platform and they will also be live-streamed to its YouTube channel and to Twitter.

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Martin Banks

Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a highly qualified journalist with many years experience of working within the EU institutions. He is an occasional, and highly valued, contributor to EU today, writing on a wide variety of issues.

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