At its meeting on 15th January Liverpool City Council overwhelmingly passed a motion from the City’s Liberal Democrats which not only declared that Liverpool is and will remain a major European City but would take steps to increase and improve its European links.
In moving the motion I said, “with regret we must now accept that at some stage whether with no deal, what could be considered a bad deal or what could be considered a good deal the UK will leave the EU. In our view there is no such thing as a good deal because any way that we exit the EU will be a worse deal than the one that we have.
We already know that leaving the EU is bad for our economy with job losses and a down turn in economic growth which will, in turn, lead to a down turn in tax revenues and therefore a down turn in what we can do to provide better public services. What the Council must do now is to exert its influence to work with our City and City Region colleagues to minimise the problems”.
Amongst the suggestions made, which will now be sent to a new steering committee to look at EU relationships, are:
- Establishing a link with an appropriate city in each of the 27 nation states of the EU
- Asking every EU state to appoint an Honorary Consul to the City to ensure high level diplomatic and commercial contacts.
- Holding an annual festival of European Art, Culture and Cuisine on the date of the 2016 referendum
I concluded, “I wake up in Europe every day because our City is part of Europe and has been for the past 5,000 years. Nothing that has happened in terms of the referendum and passing of the Withdrawal Act will change that. Liverpool is a City where we will still be pleased to raise the European Flag over the Town Hall and other public buildings”
The Motion was passed by 56 votes to 5 with two councillors abstaining. The Liberal Democrats voted unanimously for the motion. The Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, has agreed to set up the suggested steering group quickly.
This is the resolution that was passed yesterday by the Council
Motion to Liverpool City Council on January 18th
Liverpool – A European City
Proposed Cllr Richard Kemp CBE
Seconded Cllr Andrew Makinson
Council notes with regret that Parliament has passed a vote which will mean us leaving the European Union.
It believes that this will cause a huge turbulence in our economy which will lead to a reduced level of Gross Domestic Product and therefore a reduced level of taxation. These factors will in turn lead to decreasing opportunities for employment and reduced investment in public services.
Council believes that in spite of the vote in Parliament Liverpool is and will always be a major European City. It will seek to build on its current status and strengthen its own links with Europe by:
- Holding an annual festival of European art, culture and cuisines on the date of the 2016 referendum.
- Requesting each EU member country which does not currently have an honorary consul in the City to appoint one to ensure ongoing top-level links between Liverpool and those countries.
- Working with one appropriate city in each member state to develop city to city links to boost trade, commerce, service delivery, art and cultural exchanges.
To further these and other objectives it resolves to establish a steering Group composed of members and staff of the Council, the Chamber of Commerce, representatives of the European Movement and World Wide Wednesday, national groups present in Liverpool and other interested Parties to work together to support all pro-European activity within the City and City region.