Region: Europe

The delegation arrives in the Polish Parliament which was celebrating 550 years since it was created..JPG

APPG Poland underscore commitment to a vital relationship for UK

Against the backdrop of recent legal reforms in Poland, Brexit, Europe’s migrant crisis and the re-emergence of Russia as a threat to NATO, the APPG visit this July was timely, very interesting and immensely valuable.  The APPG was able to ensure our Polish counterparts knew of the United Kingdoms’ gratitude for their friendly voice during the Brexit process as well as assure them of our commitment to them, their diaspora and our longstanding friendship.

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Austrian MPs get timely update on UK Brexit plans

On 2-3 July BGIPU hosted a small cross party delegation from Austria for a timely visit to see a snapshot of the state of the UK’s Brexit process moving forward and hear a wide variety of perspectives on the likely end state for a post-Brexit Britain. It was equally useful for UK members to hear about the key issues and challenges being experienced by Austria including the socio-economic impacts and political changes being created by migration pressures on Europe.

UK delegation visit the historic Mostar Bridge.JPG

UK commitment to Balkans to the fore in visit to Bosnia & Herzegovina

A BGIPU delegation, led by our Chair Nigel Evans MP, visited Bosnia & Herzegovina during the Whitsun Recess (27th May – 1st June) to meet with parliamentary counterparts.  This visit consolidated the close links between the UK Parliament and the various Parliaments of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and was an important precursor to BGIPU’s upcoming International Seminar on the Western Balkans in September.

Chairman of the Council of the Republic, Mr Mikhail Myasnikovich, explaining features of Belarus

Belarus – A Country That Defies Neat Categorisation

Belarus is a country of contradictions. On this visit I had expected to be see a drab, dour and austere country, redolent of so many east European countries after the fall of the Berlin Wall. What I found was an attractive country and a well maintained and occasionally picturesque capital city. There is, however, another side to Belarus, which at first glance is not so apparent, but is very real. Below the ‘skin’ of Belarus, there is a country that is still a presidential dictatorship.

Delegation in front of the House of Deputies (Lower House)

BGIPU visit explores stronger links with Belarus

From 28th May to 1st June BGIPU Vice-Chair Rt Hon John Whittingdale OBE MP led a cross-party delegation of six MPs to Belarus, the second only since Independence. The programme was busy and varied, including meetings with counterparts, government representatives, and visits to manufacturing facilities, the Opera House, Nesvizh Castle and meetings civil society. The delegation left with the impression that Belarus is a country somewhat overlooked by the UK both politically and economically and were determined to change that.

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APPG find UK/Romania relations strong at every level

With more than 400,000 Romanians currently living in the UK – amongst the largest communities of non-British resident nationals – APPG Romania paid a five day visit to Bucharest (28 May-1 June) to strengthen inter-Parliamentary relations, and find out how best we can support the Romanian diaspora and work together to address challenges. Our visit came also in the country’s centennial year, and a few months prior to it assuming the presidency of the European Council, an office Romania will hold as the Article 50 process expires.

The Lithuania delegation meet the Chair of the Exiting the EU Committee, Hillary Benn MP, and BGIPU Vice-Chair John Whittingdale MP.JPG

Insights on Brexit as Lithuania reaffirms partnership with UK

From 14-18 May a cross-party parliamentary delegation from Lithuania led by former Prime Minister Mr Andrius Kubilius MP from the opposition Homeland Union and five colleagues visited UK Parliament and the Welsh Assembly.  The delegation visited at a pivotal time in parliamentary consideration of the EU Withdrawal Bill and was able to gain significant insights into not only the process but many of the motivations behind Brexit.  They also shared common perceptions with UK counterparts on the hybrid and multi-dimensional threat posed by Russia.

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World’s MPs to tackle global migration reforms and refugee protection

Parliamentarians from over 137 countries will seek to identify and agree upon parliamentary inputs to the UN-led reforms on the rights and protection of migrants and refugees.  Meeting at the 138th IPU Assembly in Geneva more than 740 MPs, including 65 Speakers of Parliament and 216 women parliamentarians, will look in detail at their contribution to ensuring domestic enforcement of the two related Global Compacts expected to be adopted by the UN community later this year.

Nearly 750 MPs worldwide condemned the discrimination and abuse of refugees and migrants at the 138th Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly in Geneva. © IPU.JPG

MPs condemn hate crimes against migrants and refugees

Nearly 750 MPs worldwide condemned the discrimination and abuse of refugees and migrants at the conclusion of the 138th Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly in Geneva.  The Assembly Declaration emphasized the critical role of parliaments in transforming the aspirations of the two Global Compacts – one on migrants and the other on refugees – into national laws.

The delegation had a tour of Parliament with Shadow Minister for Peace and BGIPU ExCo member Fabian Hamilton MP.JPG

MPs from Estonia welcome exchanges with UK counterparts

BGIPU hosted a parliamentary delegation from Estonia, led by the Chair of the Estonian IPU delegation, Ms Helmen Kuett.  With many delegation members having strong interest in social affairs, much of the visit focused on health policy, pension reform and disability issues, but other topics such as security cooperation, e-government and the current Brexit negotiations were also discussed.  There was mutual appreciation of the excellent state of bilateral relations between both countries.