Posted: Fri 18th Mar 2022

First Minister discusses Ukraine with EU Committee of the Regions

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Friday, Mar 18th, 2022

The war in Ukraine and co-operation across Europe will be discussed by European leaders, when the First Minister addresses the EU Committee of the Regions.

The talks, held on Friday at the Senedd, in Cardiff Bay, will see leaders of the EU’s assembly of local and regional representatives meet their UK counterparts.

The committee will include leaders from across the EU, including from Brittany, Flanders, Galicia and Bremen.

During his speech to the committee, the First Minister will talk about Wales as a Nation of Sanctuary and the warm welcome Ukrainian refugees will receive in Wales.

Mark Drakeford will also outline the challenges and opportunities for Wales as it implements the Trade and Co-operation Agreement, which governs the new relationship between the EU and the UK following Brexit.

Welsh and Ukrainian flags will be flying outside the Senedd building to welcome the delegates.

First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford said:

“Solidarity throughout Europe is something we must reaffirm now more than ever.

“Sadly, the challenges that face all of us in the months and years to come, are caused by an unnecessary, unprovoked and brutal invasion of Ukraine by Putin.

“We want to keep building on the solidarity and strong links we have established with European regions over many years of collaboration.

“It is that spirit of shared values which will motivate us to build a better Europe, inside and outside the European Union, to benefit all of our citizens.”

The European Committee of the Regions (CoR) is the voice of regions and cities in the EU.

It represents local and regional authorities across the European Union. Prior to the UK’s exit from the EU the Senedd sent two Members to the institution.

Following the UK’s exit from the EU and with the end of the Brexit transition period approaching, the CoR launched a Contact Group between its members and UK organisations who were members pre-Brexit. The Contact Group’s aim is to preserve links for the future.

On Friday, the Senedd will become the first UK institution to host a meeting of this group.

This will be the Group’s sixth meeting since its formation.

The European Committee of the Regions (‘CoR’) is a political assembly composed of 329 members and 329 alternates from all EU countries.

Members are grouped by political party and headed by the President who has been elected at local or regional level, such as Mayors or Presidents of a region.

In September 2020, the Committee of the Regions UK Contact Group was launched.

The Group is chaired by the President of Brittany, Löig Chesnais-Girard, and is comprised of representatives from:

  • A number of EU Member States including Belgium, Ireland, France, Poland, Germany, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Denmark, Spain and Portugal;
  • UK devolved legislatures and some governments;
  • The government and parliament of Gibraltar;
  • London Assembly and the Mayor of London; and
  • Local government organisations from Wales, England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The Senedd is represented by Alun Davies MS and Laura Anne Jones MS.

The Group will hear from a range of high profile speakers, including the First Minister, the Senedd’s Deputy Presiding Officer, UK and EU parliamentarians and the EU’s delegation to the UK.

They are expected to discuss issues such as the:

  • Senedd’s future engagement with Europe;
  • role of Wales and the Welsh Government in implementing the new UK-EU trade agreement;
  • post-Brexit engagement between legislatures in the UK and the European Parliament;
  • The future relationship between the UK and the EU and how the relationship between UK regions and authorities and EU regions and authorities could be strengthened in future.

Other matters, such as the Northern Ireland Protocol and citizens’ rights, are also likely to feature.

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