Reflections on North Sea Region cooperation post-Brexit

So what does Brexit mean for me and my project? This is just one of the many burning issues that the North Sea Region project community is facing these days.

Unfortunately, the answer to the question seems to be blowing in the wind. This has been the case since the Brexit referendum and appears to be the case for some time to come.

On this backdrop, the enthusiasm about participation in North Sea projects expressed amongst project people in the UK is amazing. But how does that happen?

Michael Barnes speaks about challenges to growth

Michael Barnes, Head of European Programmes at Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership, and Jonathan Vorss-Millins, Head of East of England European Partnership in Brussels, gave their view of this apparent contradiction in their workshop on Brexit at the North Sea Conference in Göttingen last week.

Many potential explanations were provided during their excellent presentation. What I took with me was a picture of local and regional organisations faced with a series of challenges which can only be addressed in cooperation with partners in other countries.

There was clearly a wish amongst the key stakeholders to continue this cooperation come hell or high water (or at least with or without Brexit).

Judging from the enthusiasm in the room, it looks as if cooperation with UK partners in the North Sea Region will continue also after Brexit, though obviously in a different form than the one we know today.

1 thought on “Reflections on North Sea Region cooperation post-Brexit”

  1. Thanks for your reflections about the cooperation with our UK friends, during and after the Brexit process. It looks like if that will take time, so UK participation until the end of the different programs is secured for the moment. It is interesting to read about the strong wish of local and regional UK levels to continue a cooperation. From my side of the Channel/ North Sea I always have enjoyed the UK way of seeing things. Especially their tendency to ask for a proper target group description as well as for the project targets, forcing others to reflect over what the baseline is and what to achieve (both essential for indicators!). Nasty questions sometimes for ‘freethinkers’ like me, but necessary. The other, lovely, aspect of the UK system is their abundance of trusts that take care of a wetland, or whatever. A citizen participation model to learn from, I would say.

    Regardless the Brexit outcome I’d like to see a UK involvement in the forthcoming discussions about the next generation Interreg programs and North Sea Commission policy development. Maybe the new UK role, their new position makes it easier to communicate as they cannot be that formal anymore. Anyway, the UK is not floating away into the Atlantic ocean and should be within our North Sea boat.

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