Daniel Zeichner, MP for Cambridge, has condemned the decision by the management committee of the East of England Local Government Association (LGA) to withdraw the £159,000 that funds the east of England office in Brussels. The decision to withdraw the funding was made on Friday and will result in the closure of the office, which has been operating in the Belgian capital since 1998.
Daniel Zeichner said: “At a time when the UK’s future relationship with the European Union is still to be resolved, the decision to close the region’s access and influence in Brussels is unwise. If we leave the EU we will need to work even harder to influence major decisions that will have an impact on us. It is worth noting that some of the largest offices in Brussels are maintained by countries outside the EU, illustrating how important access to the city is.”
“The East of England LGA has spent the best part of two decades building up a valuable network and specialist knowledge, which has translated into real term benefits for the east of England. The region is at risk of losing all of this, for what is a relatively small amount of funding.”
“I urge the management committee to think again, before vital knowledge and expertise is lost.”
The East of England LGA is made up of members from 52 councils from the region. Between 2014 and 2020 the east of England received €450m (£395m) in EU funds for economic development and regeneration. €528m was received for 2014-2018 to fund research and innovation, mostly at universities across the region.