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Chambers in Brussels- Planning for Irish Business Post-Brexit

Oct 24, 2016

Guest blog by Emma Kerins, International Affairs Executive

Earlier this month (12th and 13th October), a delegation from across the Irish Chamber Network met with key officials from the European Commission to discuss matters of importance to the Irish business community. These meetings were followed by the “European Parliament of Enterprises”, organised by Eurochambres in cooperation with the European Parliament. The event saw more than 800 entrepreneurs from 45 European countries and from all sectors gather in the hemicycle of the European Parliament in Brussels to act as MEPs for one day, debating and voting on crucial business related policy issues.

With representation from Chambers of Commerce across Ireland, the objective of the trip was to highlight the need for the European Commission to proactively engage with the business community, particularly SMEs, on issues such as trade, innovation, skills and regulation.

The trip included meetings with Lutz Gullner, Head of Unit with DG Trade, Susan Carroll from the European Agency for SMEs (EASME), Arthur Forbes from DG Grow and the team from the Irish Regions Office, along with their colleagues from the Southern Regional Assembly and the Eastern and Midlands Regional Assembly. To close out the day, we were received by the team from the Irish “Perm Rep” to Brussels, where we discussed the various challenges and opportunities for Irish business once the UK begins the process of exiting the European Union. Our visit to the European Commission, Irish Perm Rep and European Parliament informed our delegation of the necessity of trade deals like TTIP and CETA progressing if European business is to remain competitive. Furthermore, the importance of the Irish business community clearly communicating to stakeholders that Ireland will remain a strong partner in Europe post-Brexit was emphasised.

As a result of our visit to Brussels, we forged stronger relationships with colleagues in the European Commission, the Irish Regions Office, the Permanent Representation of Ireland to the European Union, our elected representatives and business leaders from across Europe. These relationships will be instrumental in ensuring that the priorities for Irish business are advanced at EU level, including;

    • Keeping Ireland competitive
    • Promoting the need for an ambitious trade strategy- including trade links
    • Completing the Single Market
    • Preparing for the exit of the United Kingdom from the EU
    • Addressing skills gaps and shortages
    • Promoting sustainable business practices
    • The benefits of increased dialogue between Irish businesses and the Irish Regions Office on matters concerning regional development in Ireland
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