Charles Tannock – Conservative MEP for London – was the guest of a 1:11 Meeting at BN Magazine on 20th September. Dr Tannock currently sits on three different parliamentary committees concerning respectively Foreign Affairs, Human Rights, and Security and Defence Policy in the European Union.
The meeting started with an overview of what happens at the European level in terms of legislation and its relevance. The European Parliament now enjoys absolute equality in the making of legislation and around sixty per cent of national legislation originates from Brussels in the form of either regulations or directives. Therefore, he emphasized the relevance of being involved in the making of legislation at the European level.
Successively, Dr Tannock explained the principal issues over the past twelve months. Talking about the EU’s international role, he explained his role in holding the Common Foreign and Security Policy into account as vital for many of his constituents. “London is probably one of the most diverse cities in the world” and consequently “for many of these communities foreign policy issues are of very great interest, particularly when it relates to their country of origin” – Dr Tannock said.
Questions from the audience involved a variety of issues: from the Scottish Independence Referendum and its perception in the EU, to the Arab Spring and the current situation in Syria. With regards to the former, Dr Tannock raised the issue of Scotland having to reapply for EU and NATO membership, in the eventuality of an independentist outcome, and the impact that it could have for other local communities across the EU such as in Catalonia. When asked about the recent parliamentary vote on military intervention in Syria, he described its outcome as a “serious mistake” affecting both Britain’s special relationship with the US and the commitment to uphold international law on human rights violation.
Additional questions also brought to productive discussion on issues such as the EU’s role in the Western Balkans. In particular, he stressed the EU’s importance in stimulating reform and maintaining throughout states in Former Yugoslavia, with the objective of future EU membership.
Other topics under discussion also included Turkey’s possible role as an impartial arbiter in the Western Balkans, the longstanding dispute between Israel and Palestine, and the possibility of future trade agreements between the EU and Taiwan.