Brussels Office has an important place for the East of England after Brexit

18th August 2016

A vital role awaits the Brussels Office for the East of England following the referendum vote to leave the EU. That was the clear message from leading local council, university and local enterprise representatives from the region at a key meeting recently.

The East of England office in Brussels has for the past 18 years offered a critical service for local authorities, universities and local enterprise partnerships providing opportunities for funding and economic opportunities. The Government has now indicated that such funding will now be available after Brexit but the Brussels Office still has an important role during and after the negotiations for the UK to leave the EU. The meeting was held in Cambridge and was chaired by Cllr Kevin Bentley who is the Chair of the East of England Europe and International Panel and Deputy Leader of Essex County Council. Cllr Bentley said:

“Given the huge complexities of Brexit, our region needs a presence in Brussels more than ever. Brussels and the EU haven’t gone away, but we have to ensure that we take advantage of the opportunities that are in Europe as we establish a new relationship. We have learned from the Norwegian and Swiss regional offices that we work very closely with that there are many benefits to maintaining a strong presence in Brussels. The East of England is known for its entrepreneurship and growing business economy and it is important that our Brussels office is there to support them in trading with the EU in future."

Cllr Bentley continued, “We shall be looking to increase business membership and ensure that they have a leading voice at the heart of the EU to enable businesses in the East to be ahead of the game in trade and help to increase jobs and contracts with the EU as well as the rest of the world.”

This is one of several such announcements across the country as Cornwall, Birmingham and Bristol have all committed to keeping their offices open in Brussels in recent weeks.

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