Bradshaw calls for progress on international relations and Europe strategies on Europe Day

Alliance Executive Office Spokesperson Paula Bradshaw MLA has said Europe Day should be marked by evidence of progress on a new international relations strategy for the Executive, and on discussion of a Europe Strategy as pledged when the First and deputy First Minister came into post.

Paula Bradshaw Executive Office

The South Belfast MLA, who chairs the Executive Office Committee at Stormont, was speaking on Europe Day on May 9.

"Agreeing an approach on a new international relations strategy and starting a 'discussion' on a draft Europe Strategy were clearly defined as objectives for the First and deputy First Minister within 100 days of restoration of the Executive in early February. That period is now drawing to a close, and as with many other issues, we expect to see delivery,” she said.

"Europe Day is an opportunity to reflect on the importance of our relationship with our fellow Europeans, as well as on the need to keep building peace and reconciliation at home and abroad. These should be fundamental goals for the First and deputy First Minister, but they require concrete action.

"The Executive's current International Relations Strategy, from early 2014, is hopelessly out of date. It pre-dates Brexit, the Ukraine War, ongoing instability in the Middle East and Africa, and the risks associated even with the first Trump presidency. We now need something which will build on our unique links to both the UK and EU internal markets, but which will also reflect the lessons we have learned in building democratic processes, human rights and good relations in a diverse society.

"The International Relations Strategy should be high priority, and we may legitimately expect to see a draft of it, and a discussion of an associated Europe Strategy, within the coming days and weeks. There is a lot of work to catch up on to capitalise on the opportunities and face up to the threats which are evident in a world which is very different from that of a decade ago."