Inspired by the famous Monty Python sketch (What have the Romans ever done for us?), and as the UK leaves the European Union, we look at how our most active British Liberal Democrat members have influenced, shaped and graced the European Committee of the Regions (CoR), subnational government in the EU, and thus the democratic process of the Union. The CoR would not be what it is today without their passion, commitment, ideas, and of course, rhetorical skills. They have contributed to EU policies covering a broad range of areas from asylum, child poverty, and energy, through to governance, maritime safety, and waste shipments. Below is just a small sample of their work with us. We look forward to continuing our collaboration in a new way and, should that day ever come, welcoming British members back. In the meantime, there is just one thing to say: a warm and heartfelt THANK YOU!
Lord TOPE (London Borough of Sutton)
1997-2002: first President of the liberal group (ELDR) in the CoR.
2002-2006: Vice-Chair of the CoR Constitutional Affairs Commission (CONST)
2006-2014: Group Coordinator in CONST and in the Commission for Citizenship, Governance and External Relations (CIVEX)
2000 Report on New Forms of Governance, introducing the concept of “spheres of government” instead of “levels of government” and proposing more structured partnership between the spheres for better understanding, coordination and ultimately delivery of results for citizens.
2002 Report on European Integration, calling for the right – later granted – for subnational government to bring actions, via the CoR, to the Court of Justice where subnational government has not been properly consulted.
2007 Report on The Fight Against Terrorism, identifying policy failures that can lead to radicalisation and violent extremism, and proposing pro-active policies and initiatives that help to prevent it.
2009 Report on Better Lawmaking, addressing the practice of some national governments of “goldplating” European legislation, whereby they add extra layers of complexity, and over-complicate the laws; proposing measures to minimise the goldplating.
Flo CLUCAS (Liverpool City Council)
2008-2012 President of the liberal Group (ALDE). Initiator of the LeaDeRs Awards which ran from 2011 to 2016, rewarding excellence in local and regional politics.
2010-2012 Chair of the CoR’s Commission on the EU Budget
2002 Report on An Integrated European Rail Network, calling for the setting up of “an international group of experts to examine security issues and common policing methods across the Union’s railways as is the case for aviation“.
2006 Report on Maritime Safety, proposing measures to discourage shipowners from using substandard vessels that could put lives, infrastructure and the environment in danger.
2009 Report on Economic and Social Cohesion, proposing the creation of a Virtual Network of Creativity that would foster “innovation champions” across the Union, encouraging individuals, small companies, and universities to unleash their creative potential.
2011 Report on EU Budget post 2013, calling for the continuation at the same financial level of the European food aid programme for the most deprived persons.
Doreen Huddart (Newcastle-upon-Tyne City Council)
2017-2020 Deputy Coordinator for ALDE in the CoR Commission for Citizenship, Governance and External Relations
2009 Report on the Future Common European Asylum System, urging for improvements in communication at local level concerning the difference between forced and unforced migration, as well as positive messages about people benefiting from international protection.
2011 Report on Child Poverty, calling for economic performance reports by Member States to include data on child poverty and the risk of children falling into poverty.
2008-2015 Election monitoring of local and regional elections in candidate, pre-candidate, and neighbourhood countries.
Doris ANSARI (Cornwall County Council)
2012-2013 First Vice-President of the ALDE Group, during which she promoted Cornwall’s Combined Universities scheme as a model for other European regions.
Paula BAKER (Borough of Basingstoke and Deane)
2008 – Report on Promotion of Renewable Energy, calling for the phasing out of subsidies for production and use of fossil fuels;
2010 Report on Future Environmental Policy, proposing the creation of National Transposition Teams bringing together national, regional and local experts to ensure proper implementation of environmental legislation;
2013 Report on Waste Shipments Regulation, suggesting ways to make it easier for the public to report illegal waste shipments.
Jill Shortland (Somerset Council Council)
2015-2017 Deputy Coordinator for ALDE in the CoR Commission for Citizenship, Governance and External Relations, and active member of the CoR Bureau where she championed the cause of gender balance amongst the CoR staff and management levels.
Ruth Coleman (North Wiltshire Council Council)
2002 Report on Family Reunification, recommending that the rights listed should be extended to include the children of same-sex couples.
2003 Report on Equitable and Managed Asylum Systems, calling for a common asylum system to achieve a more orderly and better managed system.
2004 Report on Pre-Accession Assistance for Candidate Countries, proposing information exchange and technical assistance for local authorities of countries preparing to join the EU to facilitate the transition.
Peter Moore (Sheffield City Council)
2005 Report on Equal Opportunities for All, calling for equality principles to be maintreamed in the formulation, administration and evaluation of policies.
2007 Report on Equal Opportunities and Sport, proposing a Charter for Equality in Sport, developing inclusive policies to access sport as a means to build social cohesion and create opportunities to overcome discrimination.
Graham Garvie (Scottish Borders Council)
2012 Report on Community Led Local Development, proposing measures to give greater ownership to citizens to facilitate and drive economic recovery and job creation.
Chris Foote-Wood (Wear Valley District Council)
2006-2007 – CoR Alternate member
Chris Holley (Swansea City Council)
2009-2015 CoR Alternate member
Jim Hume (Scottish Parliament)
2012-2016 CoR Alternate member
Maggie Lishman (Burnley Council)
2013-2020 CoR Member
George Lyon (Scottish Executive)
2006-2007 – CoR Alternate member
Sally Morgan (Teignbridge District Council)
2018-2020 CoR Alternate member
Kathy Pollard (Babergh District Council)
2008-2015 CoR Alternate member
Ros Scott (Suffolk County Council)
1998-2002 CoR Alternate member
Nicol Stephen (Scottish Executive)
2010-2011 CoR Alternate member
2002-2006 CoR Member
Liz Tucker (Worcestershire County Council)
1998-2006 CoR Alternate member
Keith Whitmore (Manchester City Council)
1998-2002 – CoR Alternate member