BLOG: We are fast approaching the triggering of Article 50 – what’s happened over the past week?

This weekend, the Foreign Affairs Committee published a report on potential outcomes of the upcoming negotiations. Describing a short, complex and challenging two year negotiating period. Even with all sides entering talks with goodwill, the Foreign Affairs Committee points out that negotiations could stall or be derailed and the two years could end with no deal between the UK and the 27 Member States.

The consequences of ‘no deal’ include: ongoing disputes over the exit ‘bill’; uncertainty and confusion for UK citizens in the EU and EU citizens in the UK; trading on World Trade Organisation terms; a ‘regulatory gap’ and legal uncertainty in areas not covered by the “Great Repeal Bill”. Further, uncertainty over UK participation in the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy and the sudden return of a customs border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Last night, the Withdrawal Bill passed in both the House of Lords and House of Commons. Article 50 will almost definitely be triggered by the end of March. Moving forward, we need to ensure that the UK gets the best deal post-brexit. That is why I will continue to meet with businesses, charities, universities and trade unions to ensure our collective voices are heard.

In the European Parliament, I spoke at the Housing Europe event on energy efficiency. From 2010 to 2015, affordable housing providers spent more than €32bn making 1.8m homes energy efficient. This level of investment not only created 506,550 full-time jobs but also lifted thousands out of energy poverty. Without EU funding and targets the UK will struggle to pioneer energy efficiency technology and create the green sustainable jobs of the future.

Similarly, I met with creative businesses to unpick the impact of brexit for our world-renowned creative sector. There is concern around free movement of artists, the Creative Europe programme, broadcasting rights and many more. The UK and Europe prospers when our creative industries can collaborate and freely exchange resources, ideas and people. Yet another reason why we must ensure a hard-brexit is prevented.

As ever thanks for reading and you can follow my work on here and Twitter (TheresaMEP).