Doubts raised over Brus­sels pres­ence

Po­lit­i­cal ed­i­tor Paul Fran­cis

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Growth Projection -

It has been a mo­men­tous week in pol­i­tics and the im­pact of the Brexit vote is rip­pling out into all sorts of ar­eas and rais­ing ques­tions about the fu­ture of, well, lots of things. Such as whether Kent County Coun­cil is poised to trig­ger its own Ar­ti­cle 50 and ne­go­ti­ate its own with­drawal from Brus­sels.

No, we are not over­stat­ing things. The big ques­tion is whether KCC now needs of­fice space in Brus­sels after the ref­er­en­dum.

The costs as­so­ci­ated with this have been crit­i­cised by op­po­si­tion par­ties but the Con­ser­va­tives in­sisted it pays its way.

In a re­port in 2014, county coun­cil­lors pro­duced a re­port that urged “the role of KCC’s Brus­sels Of­fice is strength­ened and re­fo­cused to­wards pol­icy, in­flu­enc­ing and the pro­vi­sion of guid­ance to KCC and Kent or­gan­i­sa­tions with a par­tic­u­lar em­pha­sis on ac­cess­ing EU The­matic fund­ing and new In­ter­reg funds.”

After the ref­er­en­dum, of course, KCC won’t be able to avail it­self of this form of fund­ing.

IT was good of Ukip leader Nigel Farage to ap­pear in Brus­sels for a de­bate among MEPs about the fu­ture of the EU after the Brexit.

He was in com­bat­ive mood, fir­ing off on all fronts about the de­ci­sion to cut loose from the EU. “You’re not laugh­ing now,” he taunted MEPs. “You are in de­nial,” he de­clared. Be­fore adding that a “grown-up and sen­si­ble at­ti­tude to how we ne­go­ti­ate a dif­fer­ent re­la­tion­ship” was needed. Grown up, did he say? Hmm.

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