From our students – Christian George, David Turner and Noora Eveliina Virtanen
Since we both started working our respective RED internships, we’re helping Professor Amelia Hadfield and the Centre for European Studies (CEFEUS) prepare evidence submission to two enquiries currently underway by Committees the House of Commons and House of Lords respectively.
EU UK Security Treaty Evidence
On the 25th May CEFEUS submitted evidence to the House of Lords EU Home Affairs Sub-Committee inquiry on Brexit and the proposed UK-EU security treaty. This marks the 8th evidence the Centre has submitted and was written with the assistance of CEFEUS Research Assistants Noora Virtanen and Fennel Wellings.
The submission highlights the key components that are under a threat after Brexit if a suitable deal is not negotiated. These components included maintaining access to information sharing, such as the SIS II, and police cooperation through Europol and Eurojust. The submission also highlighted the opportunities of negotiating bilateral treaties, such as the 2018 Sandhurst Treaty between the UK and France.
Putting together evidence is a rewarding process. We started with collecting information from the EU and the UK official databases and reading existing treaties. Once we had put together a draft version of the submission, we were lucky to be able to interview a Senior Lecturer at the School of Law, Criminal Justice and Computing at CCCU to find out their insights on the the inquiry, and add them in. All in all, writing the submission required close attention to detail but was a very rewarding experience. We were able to learn about the topic in great detail which will be useful in the future.
Brexit Freight Evidence
Then on Wednesday 6th June, CEFEUS submitted evidence to the Transport Committee on Freight and Brexit, marking the 9th submission by the Centre. It was written with the assistance of Christian Turner and Lucas Pierce. The inquiry is looking into the impact of Britain’s departure from the European Union will have on the freight industry, in addition to the proposed ‘Road Haulage and Trailers Permit’ Bill currently being debated in the House of Commons.
The submission draws upon CEFEUS’ work on a proposed report on the Border, which has involved meetings and evidence gathering from a range of sources at local, national and international level. The evidence submission itself focus on ‘The Kent Imperative’; namely issues that will affect the county of Kent. Over 16,000 HGVs travel through the county each day and any potential delays can have an egregious effect on the county. Port of Dover recently estimated that an extra two minutes processing per vehicle would result in 17 mile queues in both the UK and France. Finally, the submission concludes with some suggested solutions to the issues outlined, such as membership of the Common Transit Convention (CTC) and a Kent Brexit Bill.
Both pieces of evidence will now be considered by the committees in relation to their inquiries. Often, written evidence is subsequently published online, and in some cases, you can be asked to appear before the committee to present oral evidence in order to answer any questions the committee may have. This occurred most recently in December 2017 when Amelia Hadfield was asked to appear before the Communities and Local Government Committee on their inquiry on Local Government and Brexit. Finally, the committee will publish a report based on their inquiry, and the evidence submission may be formally cited in their observations.
All in all, it has been an exciting and helpful exercise that may help bring about meaningful change in policy at national level and we are grateful to have been given the opportunity to work on the submissions.