Europe and International Panel
Europe and International Panel
Friday 4th July, Peterborough City Council,1. / Welcome by the host, / Members were welcomed by Cllr Marco Cereste
2. / Welcome by the Chair / Cllr Graham Butland
3. / Apologies and substitutions
Cllr Graham Butland, East of England LGA (chair)
Cllr Marco Cereste, East of England LGA
Michael Large, EEBG
Sarah Murray, East of England European Partnership Brussels Office
Richard Howitt MEP
David Campbell Bannerman MEP
Mike Barnes, GCGP LEP
Cllr John Lamb, East of England LGA
Cllr Darren Fowler (substitute for Cllr Sue Carpendale), EELGA
Natalie Moll, Suffolk County Council, representing Deborah Cadman, Honorary Secretary of EIP
Cllr Budge Wells, East of England LGA
Cllr Sandy Martin, East of England LGA
Matt Sowrey, DEFRA
Cllr David Bills Everett, East of England LGA
Ian Beggs, UEA, representing innovation interests
Aimi McCormac, Anglia Ruskin University, representing universities
Cllr Roy Davis, East of England LGA
Phil Lakin, National Trust, representing environmental sector
Julia Smith (representing Vicky Ford MEP) / Apologies
Stuart Agnew MEP
Tim Aker MEP
Patrick O’Flynn MEP
Deborah Cadman, Honorary Secretary
Vicky Ford MEP
George Kieffer, SE LEP
Cllr Robert Bucke, East of England LGA
Cllr Kathy Pollard, CoR
Chris Parkhouse, IOD
Cllr Sue Carpendale, East of England LGA
Cllr Ann Stewart, East of England LGA
Cllr Kay Twitchen, CoR
Cllr Robert Gordon, East of England LGA
David Morrall, DCLG
Cllr Stephen Robinson (Substitute), EELGA
Cllr Sherma Batson, CoR
4. / Minutes of the meeting of 4th April /
- The minutes were agreed as read
- Presentations circulated on16/04/2014
- All actions have been followed up except follow up to discussion about national LGA linkages. Meeting scheduled on 8/7 at national LGA to discuss.
5. / Presentation / Building Bridges Project, presented byNatalie Moll, Suffolk County Council
This project is an ERDF technical assistance funded project to support the pipeline of projects into the new programme based on evidence and learning from the 2007-2013 programme. The current project covers Norfolk, Suffolk and New Anglia LEP. It is due to be extended to GCGP LEP soon.
ACTION: Presentation to be circulated.
Discussion: Michael Large asked about SME support urging this focus to be prioritised
Mike Barnes – uncertainty over match funding for business support. MAS opt ins etc. is still unconfirmed
Phil Lakin underlined the importance of the voluntary sector
6. / Hearing
The chair welcomed David Campbell Bannerman and Richard Howitt MEP and congratulated them on their election. They were invited to speak about the challenges and opportunities for the new mandate.
The new members only took up their seat on Tuesday of that week; therefore it is very early to have any detail on the new arrangements for the Parliament for 2014-19.
David Campbell Bannerman MEP will sit on the trade committee, his main interest. He informed members that Vicky Ford is to be chair of the IMCO committee (internal market) to be confirmed the following week. He also confirmed that Geoffrey Van Orden will be on the defence committee once again.
The ECR group, in which the Conservatives sit, is now the 3rd largest group. He regretted the loss of Andrew Duff from the Parliament. Key priorities for the group include the cutting of red tape and securing reform. There is to be a hearing of Commission President designate Junker with the ECR group next week.
Richard Howitt MEP welcomes role of this panel and opportunity to engage and also with Brussels Office. Key priorities include the Growth Agenda – growth vs stability. Renzi called for more flexibility – some member states fear this
Environmental and climate change issues are high on the agenda, however the new global climate change agreement has been delayed but EP hopes to play a key role next year.
Regarding economic issues, work on financial transparency and tax havens, Richard argued that a level playing field is in everyone’s interests.
Richard expects to stay on the Employment and social affairs committee (covering ESF) as well as the Human Rights Committee. He is also staying on the External Relations committee as there is a tangential link to issues in the region.
Should the UK Commissioner nominee be Andrew Lansley MP, this could be a great asset for our region.
Structural Funds programming for 2014-2020 is at a crucial stage – Richard has concerns and wishes to stay engaged
He is engaged with LEPs and pleased that they engaging with MEPs
TEN-T remains an important source of investment for the region’s infrastructure; Richard has supported lobbying to date and urged partners to continue to press for this.
Migration issues- will continue to be high on the agenda both at the EU level as well as in the UK. UKs role in the EU and potential impact on business and the recruitment from abroad is of concern to business.
Discussion – Michael Largeasked David Campbell Bannerman about the impact of the free trade agreements delays on business followingthe last EIF discussion. David replied that the Transatlantic trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is of concern regarding services. He reminded members that the pace of negotiations very slow – 7 years for EU-India trade agreement, 2 years for the signing of the EU-Canada agreement,and the EU China not there yet. Richard commented on mis-information on TTIP and impact on NHS.
Cllr Marco Cereste stated that procurement has a major impact on local authorities. Called the MEPs to simplify and reduce burden on LAs since it would impact positively on local businesses. Economic migration is a local need – cited NHS recruiting for skills gaps in Italy for local hospitals. No recognition by EU on cities with significant impact from migration.
Cllr Darren Fowler asked the MEPs what would be the one issue that they would be looking to reform. David commented on public procurement challenges on local government -he was due to speak with Eric Pickles to address procurement.
Discussions underway with Switzerland post migration referendum to reach agreement. Regarding reform, immigration is no1 issue according to MORI polls. Freedom of workers but not freedom of benefits of no1 interest in UK.
Richard referred to the procurement directive – much work has been done in the last few years. He challenged local government to exploit new reforms – felt lawyers are too risk averse and not making use of new roles. He also cited examples of where EU funding is helping address skills gaps; Anglia Ruskin University retraining nurses using EU funds. The EU Asylum, Migration and integration fund being exploited and used in Peterborough and could be used more. He stated that MEPS are reforming the EU on a daily basis – reprioritisation of budget is the main job.
Cllr Roy Davis – warns against race to the bottom for trade protectionism. E.g. car certification systems in US vs EU. Consumer protection is not something to give way on.
Apologies were received from Patrick O’Flynn, Tim Aker, Stuart Agnew (all UKIP) and Vicky Ford (Conservative).
Chair – recommended note from this commit to thanks Andrew Duff for his contribution to this committee
7. / EU Growth Programme
Sarah Murray presented a paper update.
ESIF update included the consultation for ESF and ERDF; notional figures have been allocated to LEP geographies with an allocation additionally for Thurrock from the Youth Employment Initiative. Partnership agreement has been submitted and is under discussion. Now the operational programmes are being developed for ESF and ERDF, due to be submitted in July, and thatof EMFF later this year. The use in England of one of the new instruments, community local development, had some concerns from the EC. Generally the mammoth changes including a single programme across all priorities from the previous nine in ERDF is still giving cause for concern to the Commission. The informal local governance arrangements make the EC uncomfortable andassociated issues to do with technical assistance usage by local partners need to be resolved.
The detailed architecture for these programmes is being considered and it's important that local voices are strong and the managing authorities respect the local focus in this new governance arrangements. This is important to ensure that the investments are compliant and the opportunities for locally focused programmes are maximised. LEP local area partnerships (39) will be sub committees of the national growth board. These sub committees will be accountable for delivery even though they are not the managing authority.
Cllr Budge Wells from Central Bedfordshire Councilasked about the ESF element, localism and now the SFA and other opt ins can ensure no duplication and safeguard local delivery, Mike Barnes (GCGP) shared the concern that SFA/DWP tended to deliver with a national filter. However the SFA in the discussion to date has been extremely flexible to pick up gaps in DWP provision. Does require local capacity to ensure that the steer is strong.
There will be a MOU between local sub-committees and the ‘opt in’ organisations which will be responsible and accountable. However there is an issue around capacity of smaller LEPs areas to engage fully.
Natalie Moll from New Anglia LEP is make resource available to ensure the SFA offer is tailored to local needs. NA LEP has found also the SFA to have been very open to defining local needs. Tender writing can be done by local organisations if they have the capacity.
Cllr John Lamb referred to SE LEP which has a federated model of decision-making and consequently should have more local focus as a result.
8. / European Maritime and Fisheries Fund
Matt Sowrey, DEFRA made a presentation on the arrangements for the 2014-2020 European Fisheries Fund
€243 million for EMFF confirmed 2 weeks ago. Regulations published on 6 June
€138m for industry (Data collection €20m – scientific research & control /inspections20m)
Split between devolved administrations agreed already – England will get 36% of the pot based on size of fisheries sector in UK.
Draft to be submitted August/September. 3-6 months required for negotiating and agreeing the operational programme.
1 Jan 2015 ideally start date, more realistically March/April 2015
Current programme still running through this year.
Major changes to address CFO reform such as discards and overfishing.
Spend: 40% for fostering growth in the industry – new kit – larger nets to make sure that right species and right sized fish are caught plus investment in key side developments. Skills for retraining fisheries. Looking at use of financial instruments and loans as a means of support to the sector. However this will not be funded out of EMFF, but looking to LEPs to use other EU funds.
Currently 6 FLAGS – there will probably be a similar number for the new period. Looking to set up multi-purpose LAGs using other EU funds.
52% for CFP reform and sustainability
Cllr John Lamb remarked that enforcement of regulations is essential. Bemoaned the small size of the budget. Please to see that discard issue being addressed through budget.
Richard Howitt MEP – asked about inshore fisheries in the new programme. Matt replied that there will be big focus on management and control. There is more money for enforcement. Large focus on SMEs. Most of the small fleet in the UK is English. Better financing rate for SMEs. EMFF allocation wasn’t taken up in this period – issue of match funding was an inhibitor to draw down.
9. / North Sea Commission update
Cllr John Lamb, Southend on Sea and Vice President of the North Sea Commission (NSC)
Annual business meeting took place last week in Aberdeen. 38 members – lacking English members, only Southend is a member for England.
Preparatory actions to develop a macro regional strategy underway. Action: Circulate link to strategy
Discussion – Cllr Sandy Martin regretted lack of English authorities on NSC.
10. / LEADER proposals for Suffolk/North Essex
Natalie Moll, Suffolk County Council, presented a paper on the work underway to create a new LEADER Local Action Groups in Suffolk and North Essex. This item follows up an earlier discussion in February on the rural proposals.
Action: Circulate presentation.
£1.7m-£2.5m notional allocations for the two LAGs – Assuming a Jan 2015 start
Discussion – Michael Large asked why certain areas were excluded. Population for certain hub towns exclude them due to pop thresholds.
Cllr Graham Butland – wasn’t aware of ‘wool towns’ proposals. Natalie informed members that the areas were developed off the back of consultation event.
Cllr Sandy Martin commented on the dynamic of travel to work areas.
11. / International trade update
Paper update circulated from UKTI. Apologies from Liz Basing that nobody from her team could attend and present
12. / TEN-T/CEF developments
Sarah Murray presented an update on the TEN-T Corridor platform and a proposal for a letter proposing a pragmatic arrangement to ensure East of England stakeholders are represented on the platform. Helpful comments had been received from Cambridgeshire County Council which would be incorporated into the draft letter.
The recommendations were agreed.
13. / Brussels Office Annual Report 2013-14 / Due to time constraints, these were taken as read
14. / Brussels Office Business Plan 2014-15 / Due to time constraints, these were taken as read
15. / Air quality legislation and implications for local authorities / Sarah Murray presented this update paper and highlighted potential concerns that local authorities may have with the Commission proposals. Members suggested that this issue is brought to the attention of all local authorities.
Action: to circulate to all local authorities
16. / Assessing the impact of EU research funding on growth and jobs / Sarah Murray presented this update paper on the question of the impact of EU research and innovation investment that comes to the region, particularly on business.
Action: MEPs suggested the Brussels Office draft a PQ on this
17. / AOB / EU Connects event – 14 July. Only 20 places left
Open Days registration – 8 July
18. / Date of next meeting / November 7th
Venue sought (free) – Anglia Ruskin University kindly offered a venue
Information items / Not for discussion
19. / ERDF competitiveness Programme 2007-2013 delivery update / Sarah Murray, Brussels Office
20. / 2014-2020 EU funding programme table (updated June 2014) / Sarah Murray, Brussels Office
21. / East of England LGA EU engagement Brussels training session / Sarah Murray, Brussels Office