The British Veterinary Association has issued a response to Prime Minister Theresa May’s speech earlier this week, which outlined her plans for the UK’s exit from the European Union.
With Brexit negotiations set to begin after notice under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty is served, the Prime Minister’s speech covered the Government’s negotiating priorities that included some key BVA issues, such as:
- rights for EU nationals in Britain, and British nationals in the EU
- the intention to continue playing a leading role in science and innovation
- maintaining the Common Travel Area with the Republic of Ireland
Responding to the Prime Minister’s speech, BVA’s President Gudrun Ravetz said: “It’s encouraging to see some of the key priorities that BVA has identified and is lobbying on, on behalf of the profession, make it into the Prime Minister’s list of negotiating priorities although it still leaves a lot of uncertainty.
“We particularly welcome the Prime Minister’s commitment to guaranteeing the rights of EU colleagues already living, working and studying in the UK, alongside reciprocal rights for UK colleagues working within the EU, which has been a BVA priority since day one.
“Each year around 50 percent of veterinary surgeons registering to practise in the UK are from overseas, with the vast majority coming from the EU. Consequently, Brexit and accompanying changes to the mutual recognition system or immigration restrictions could have a profound impact upon the veterinary workforce.
“As a science and evidence-based profession, we also welcome the Prime Minister’s recognition of the breadth and depth of our academic and scientific communities, our cutting-edge research and innovation, and we will continue to call for a regulatory and legislative framework to ensure the UK remains a globally attractive place for research and development.
“Knowing the express concern of colleagues in Northern Ireland, which shares a border with the EU via the Republic of Ireland, we were reassured by the UK government’s recognition of this as an important priority – backed up by Mrs May’s commitment to work with the devolved nations and secure the Common Travel Area as soon as she can.
“We hope Mrs May’s promise of ‘certainty wherever possible’ will help reassure our EU and UK veterinary colleagues – as well as those outside of the profession – who have had anything but certainty since the result of the UK referendum on the EU last June. We will continue to lobby the Government on this key issue until it is resolved.”
BVA’s Brexit Working Group is continuing to work closely with RCVS’s Brexit Presidential Taskforce, consult with stakeholders and gather evidence with the aim of publishing a full report setting out our detailed lobbying position and policy recommendations in April.