Activities: Outward Delegations

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Strong prospects for bilateral relations with Hungary after Brexit

A UK delegation led by Rt Hon John Whittingdale OBE MP visited Budapest from 27 February to 2nd March to meet Hungarian counterparts. Much of the discussion focussed on Brexit and the likely future relations between Britain and Hungary, and the UK and the EU more generally. Hungary regards Britain as a strong ally in the EU.  While sharing many of the UK’s criticisms of the way that the Commission works, Hungary’s attitude to the EU is heavily influenced by the challenge they face from economic migration.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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Opportunities and challenges for Cabo Verde

The UK parliamentary delegation to Cabo Verde was given the opportunity to understand the political, economic (and some of the) sustainability opportunities and challenges facing the country.  It was clear that there was a desire to strengthen formal links with UK but the UK should be prepared to offer much more in terms of technical assistance and capacity support, not just an ever increasing number of tourists which creates good opportunities for growth, but also some risks.

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Joint visit by BGIPU to Portugal and Cabo Verde

From 6-12 November 2016 BGIPU-Chair Nigel Evans MP led a delegation to both Portugal and Cabo Verde. While the 2 days spent in Lisbon focussed mostly on the future bilateral relationship between the UK and Portugal in the context of Brexit, the second part of the visit in Cabo Verde gave the delegation an opportunity to learn more about a small country off the West African coast that is mostly known as a tourist destination, but deserves more credit for its political stability and democratic credentials in an otherwise troubled region.

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Dominican Republic keen to strengthen friendship with UK

From 6-11 November 2016, Gareth Johnson MP led a UK inter-parliamentary delegation to the Dominican Republic.  During the visit, the UK MPs and Peers were greatly impressed by the huge economic potential and charm of the country, albeit also hearing about challenges in managing relations with neighbouring Haiti, including in managing complex border issues.  In meetings with parliamentary counterparts, students and officials the delegation also discussed the future of bilateral trade post-Brexit.

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Timely visit to Philippines highlights bilateral links

From 17-24 September 2016, a cross-party UK Parliamentary delegation visited the Philippines. This was a timely opportunity to enegage with the new government and finding out more about the priorities and plans of the new administration under President Duterte. The main areas of interest included the relationship between the Philippines and the UK following Brexit, trade opportunities, human rights and the proliferation of drugs in the Philippines.

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Uruguay making drug policy reform efforts

Uruguay’s policy of taking national control of all production and sale of cannabis is still in a very early phase of implementation, and it remains highly controversial politically.  Uruguay interlocutors confirmed to the UK Delegation which visited the country in September 2016 that the policy was an experiment and it would be monitored carefully.  It would be changed if necessary and other countries might improve upon it but Uruguay was keen to be seen as a leader in drug policy reform efforts. 

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Productive Uruguay visit beefs up bilateral relations

A five-member delegation of UK Parliamentarains visited Uruguay from 18-23 September led jointly by BGIPU Chair, Nigel Evans MP, and the Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons, the Rt Hon Lindsay Hoyle MP.  The visit provided opportunities to meet Uruguay counterparts and explore key trade and economics aspects of this long-standing bilateral relationship.  This was very timely in light of the UK’s recent decision to leave the EU and Uruguay’s desire to capitalise on this to see trade relations between both countries flourish for the future.