With Covid-19 still having a major impact on all lives, the FIBA committee have put together a first series of events for 2021, all online.
The first of these events was perfectly timed to hit the arrival of Brexit for real; after the vote in 2016 and much debate and extension periods, Jan 1st 2021 heralded the day many of us hoped wouldn’t happen!
Our Conference, deliberately positioned to look forward was titled “The New relationship between France & the UK – building for the future.”
This conference was organized with great support from Isabelle Hurley, who heads up the DIT team in Lyon.
We therefore had the good fortune to welcome not 1, but 3 speakers / guests:
Matthew Lodge HM Ambassador/Permanent Delegate to UNESCO at British Government
Paul Taylor, Chief Operating Officer, Department for International Trade
Philippa Tomlin, Regional Consular Policy Adviser for France, Belgium, Luxembourg
The main themes covered were:
Bilateral UK-France priorities
UK/EU Trade & Cooperation Agreement
Citizens rights under the Trade & Co-operation Agreement including the Residency Portal
Matthew spoke very fluently about policy and priorities looking forward, reflecting the new beginning being sought by the UK government.
Paul had the difficult topic of explaining the business side of the T&CA, which has received a lot of negative press since the start of the year. Paul explained that this has impacted the SMEs more and is to be expected as teething problems, exacerbated by Covid, so a lot of stockpiling pre Jan 1.
Paul also mentioned a useful newsletter, the link is here (to be kept informed on EU Exit business matters)
Philippa discussed some of the residency issues and a number of links were shared
https://www.gov.uk/uk-border-control/at-border-control. Extract: If you’re from an EEA country or Switzerland
My thanks to our speakers for addressing a topic to an audience of 25 (37 signed up, where were you ?), many of whom are not big fans of such a change!
Matthew’s closing comments were both sympathetic to this point but encouraged us to look forward and as also said by Paul, from such crises emerge opportunities…we shall see, it’s true that we live in uncertain but potentially exciting times (Covid apart)!