|My last day at the EUCommittee of the Regions|
It has been 4 years and I've got to say I've enjoyed it. Are politicians supposed to admit they enjoy things? Well one of the things that I particularly like doing is getting to understand political institutions and seeing how they work and using them to get some positive change. So I understand that is not everybody's cup of tea but it is mine.
It was 4 years ago when I was offered a place on the EU Committee of the Regions by Councillor Marianne Overton, Leader of the Independent Group on the Local Government Association I was part of the 24 strong UK delegation giving a voice from the local level into EU policy making. As a representative of the European Alliance group I have participated in 4 United Nations COP Climate Talks, lead on 2 policy documents (opinions) and seen best practice on mainly environmental initiatives across the EU. By it's very existence it demonstrates the lie that we have no influence over EU policy.
It has been a part of my working life for the last 4 years and I've reported on my activity fairly regularly on my Blog. The last few years, for have been blighted by the Brexit vote in 2016 for me. Just as UK MEPs have continued to go to the European Parliament I have continued to go to the Committee of the Regions and provide my views from a Green and UK perspective on EU policy.
Today I made my last contribution. We heard from Jacob Werksman, Principal Adviser for International Aspects of EU Climate Policy, European Commission, who is the EU's chief climate negotiator to the UNFCCC COP25. He explained how he was working on something called the 'Climate Pact' a process by which National Governments would make agreements with local authorities on how they could work together on climate action. My suggestion was that the EU Committee of the Regions, as the body representing Local and Regional Authorities, should be involved in the design of the Climate Pacts. This seemed to go down well and I'm hopeful that we will get a better document as a result. Depending on the outcome of the UK General Election, UK Councils may or may not be involved in climate pacts with National Governments to address the climate emergency we face.
So farewell talented employees of the EU Committee of the Regions who guided us through EU policy and helped me achieve some of my policy ambitions, farewell colleagues and now friends who I worked with and some who I'll continue to work with.
Is it the end? Who knows what the next few weeks will bring.