Cornwall Council has started the process to close the Cornwall Brussels Office, reflecting the shift in policy focus from Brussels to London following the UK’s exit from the European Union.
Previous Council leader Julian German had said it was important to keep the Brussels office open to “reach out to our friends and partners in Europe”. However, the Conservatives, who took control of New County Hall following last month’s local elections, made the pledge to close it in its manifesto.
With the original contract due to end in January 2022, the decision by Council Leader Linda Taylor will see the office shut in September – releasing a budget of around £25k which the Council will use to invest in projects to support the local economy.
Taylor said: “Our priority is the residents of Cornwall and making our beautiful Duchy a better place to live and work. Decisions are no longer made in Brussels and closing the Cornwall Brussels Office reflects this shift with decision-making now resting firmly in the UK. Closing the office allows us to free up funds to invest in our local economy and deliver on our promise to spend Cornish taxpayers money wisely.”
The Council says in order to ensure value for money during the three-month notice period to end the contract, the Cornwall Brussels Office will focus on G7 legacy and trade and investment links, supporting Cornish stakeholders in accessing the Horizon Europe research and innovation programme, and providing policy advice to Cornish businesses on the new UK-EU relationship as the UK-EU Cooperation and Trade Agreement beds in.