Month: February 2017

Meeting with Kosovo President Thaci.jpg

Key role for UK in supporting Kosovo’s EU ambitions

Kosovo’s leaders show real desire to reach the governance standards demanded if they are to achieve their aim of EU membership. This will likely be a long process, not least given the potential for tense relations with Serbia to prolong the journey but they were committed to make significant efforts in support of the goal. The UK can have an effective role in supporting and guiding them towards becoming a fully-functioning Western-style democracy and our strong support for Kosovo continues to be important and widely welcomed in the country.

Delegation visiting Bundestag plenary

Reflections on the Domestic Political Situation in Germany

While the understandable primary focus of our visit to Berlin in February 2017 was on matters relating to Brexit, a topical theme for debate was the domestic German political situation in the run-up to the Bundestag elections in September this year. While there was no consensus on the result of September’s election, discussions with a wide range of politicians, commentators and journalists gave us a fascinating insight into the dynamics of domestic German politics and we shall observe the upcoming election campaign from a much more informed position.

Delegation on top of the Reichstag

Visit to Berlin: Learning about German perspectives on Brexit

From 13 to 16 February the Rt. Hon Stephen Timms MP led a delegation to Berlin, accompanied by Mark Hendrick MP (Labour), Iain Stewart MP (Conservative) John Nicolson MP (SNP), Baroness Hooper, Lord Shinkwin (Conservative), and the Earl of Listowel (Crossbench). The aim of the visit was to discuss the future bilateral relationship in the context of the UK’s decision to leave the EU, but also to get an insight into the German domestic political situation ahead of general elections in September 2017, and to discuss current global affairs. 

UK Delegates to the IPU Annual Hearing at the UN in New York.jpg

Outcome of IPU Parliamentary Hearing at UN on SDG Goal 14

The 2017 Annual Parliamentary Hearing at the United Nations held 13-14 February at UN HQ in New York provided parliamentary input into the UN Ocean Conference scheduled 5-9 June 2017. This conference will conclude with a Call for Action which the IPU hopes will reflect many of the recommendations from the outcome document of the parliamentary hearing and recognise the role parliaments play as key actors in the implementation of all commitments on the ocean. UK participants followed up the hearing through action in the UK Parliament.


IPU concerned about ongoing efforts to silence MPs

The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) has again expressed concern about continued human rights violations against MPs worldwide and the lack of respect for their parliamentary immunity.  During its January 2017 session, IPU’s Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians adopted decisions on the cases of 227 MPs from 16 countries. Over 100 MPs are from just three countries, Malaysia, Nicaragua and Turkey.  The Committee has elected a new President in the person of Ms. Fawzia Koofi (Afghanistan).

Chairman of Ways and Means and Deputy Speaker the Rt Hon Lindsay Hoyle MP hosting the delegation

Argentina visit shows improved bilateral relations

During the week of 30 January BGIPU hosted a high profile delegation from Argentina led by the Speaker of the Senate Senator Federico Pinedo who was accompanied by a cross party delegation composed of Senator Carmen Lucila Crexell, Senator Rodolfo Julio Urtubey, Ms Margarita Stolbizer MP, Mr Eduardo Amadeo MP, and Mr Alejandro Grandinetti MP. The visit focussed on the bilateral relationship, particularly with regards to trade, but also how cooperation in other areas, such as science and education, can be improved.