Happy New Year!
I write this message on New Year’s Day travelling on a train – one of the world-famous ICE trains – travelling the length of Germany from Munich to Hamburg. The journey has given me plenty of time for reflection on the events of the past year and those in the near future.
After two years of uncertainty, it was announced on Thursday that the UK and Swiss governments have come to an agreement on citizens' rights in each country after Brexit. Jane Owen, the British Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein, said that citizens in each other's countries would "continue enjoying broadly the same rights as they do now... [including] rights of residency, access to healthcare, pensions, social security coordination and the mutual recognition of professional qualifications".
More details are in the statement here. There will be a number of roadshows in Switzerland and Liechtenstein in early 2019; see the schedule here.
This news comes as some welcome relief for the 41,000 UK citizens living in Switzerland and 34,000 Swiss living in the UK, who have spent the last two years worrying for their future.
Since I took over the Chair of the Liberal Democrats in Europe, we have made significant progress on several fronts.
Parliament can legislate for a second referendum or a PeopleVote on the final deal within weeks, according to Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable, speaking in Bristol. The Independent newspaper has been running a campaign for UK voters to have a #FinalSay on the proposed agreement to leave the European Union and reported on the speech. The Independent is still collecting signatures on their petition which can be signed here.
Come and join us this year at the ALDE Party Congress in Madrid from 8 to 11 November.
On 10th April the Liberal Democrats in Europe Belgian branch organised a buffet for 140+ people following the screening at the European Parliament of the film "Postcards from the 48%". The screening of the film created by David Nicholas Wilkinson was organised by Catherine Bearder's office at the European Parliament.