Category Archives: Branch meetings

Sister Parties Meeting on Brexit – More questions than answers

eu-marchBrussels Labour hosted a meeting with socialist sister parties in September.  Our comrades across Europe have naturally been very concerned by the Brexit referendum and its  consequences for Britain, Europe and global affairs.  Therefore we called a meeting, in a spirit of solidarity, to exchange views on the political situation.  We were happy to welcome the Partito Democratico (IT), the Partij van de Arbeid (NL) and the Socialistische Partij Anders (BE) to the debate.

BLPG Chair, Jo Wood, opened the evening saying that each member of Brussels Labour was personally affected by the referendum result.  We have chosen to live and work in Brussels, have built a life here with family, friends and commitments and whatever happens we will be directly affected.  However, Brussels Labour intends to carry on being active to support the closest relationship possible with Europe.  In particular, we would take up the cause of Brits living and working in the EU.  Emily Thornberry, Shadow Minister for Brexit, had recently visited Brussels and had invited us to provide the Labour Party with briefings and inputs during the unprecedented negotiations which lay ahead.

I summarized the political situation in Britain, which had been shaken by the referendum.  The new Conservative government was trying to give an impression of decisiveness but in fact everything was “in the air” pending the start of Article 50 negotiations.  The country remained divided along the lines of the referendum, by nation, region and generation, in a debate that was described as “post-truth”, such was it driven by negative emotions and myths.  Jeremy Corbyn, recently confirmed Labour leader, has said that the referendum should be respected but also that a Labour government would not seek to reduce immigration.

Jo explained how in Scotland there was little appetite for a second referendum on independence and Scottish Labour was opposing it, so as not to destabilize the situation further.  Paul Hagan showed how, in Northern Ireland,   the main issue was the border with the Republic of Ireland, which could become an external border of the EU.

Kier Fitch presented a number of difficult policy issues that would be thrown up by Brexit.  Trade with Europe was not affected so much by tariffs but by non-tariff barriers.  How would Britain retain meaningful access to the single market without regulatory alignment ?  How would British researchers, scientists and students participate in their European programmes and networks ?  Moreover, the ongoing court case on the invocation of Article 50 was critical because it would determine if the government would be able to bypass Parliament in negotiating the terms of Brexit.

In the discussion there were diverse views.  Some friends thought that, as regrettable as it was, the referendum result had to be respected and there was no point in trying to avoid exit.  Others felt that it was best to move quickly to conclude the terms of the exit and then decide on an informed  basis whether they were acceptable.  Another view was that there seemed to be no real “soft exit” option between becoming an ordinary third country like Canada and remaining in the EU: we should not leave the EU at any cost to working people’s livelihoods and rights.

Friends from sister parties asked what Labour’s approach to the negotiations would be.   The need for a strategic approach was necessary, but had been forgotten during the referendum campaign.  The Labour perspective on the EU as a way of managing globalization and international capital had not been articulated. However, with no overarching vision it would be difficult to have a coherent approach.

Martin Dawson

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Extra-ordinary General Meeting – Wednesday 19th October 2016

An Extra-Ordinary General Meeting is being held on Wednesday 19th October to elect a new member of the Executive Committee and a new Branch Auditor following the sad loss of Mike Ridgeway.

The EGM will take place on:
Wednesday 19 October 2016
from 19:30-20:00
Venue – Foundation for Progressive Studies (FEPS),
Rue Montoyer 40, Brussels.
The monthly Branch meeting will take place immediately following the AGM.
Individuals interest in making a nomination for the position of Committee member or Auditor should complete and return the nomination form  to by 18:00 on Wednesday 12 October.
Committee members must be members of Labour International.
 In addition, to nominate or vote at the EGM you must be a member of the Labour Party and have paid your subscription: please bring your Party membership card to the meeting.

Subscriptions can be paid in cash to the Treasurer, Belinda Pyke, or by bank transfer to

Account number: 001-1128765-52| IBAN: BE64 0011 1287 6552 | BIC: GEBABEBB

Account name: Brussels Labour Party Group | bank: BNP Paribas Fortis

Communication: ‘[name] Subscription [year]’

Rates are €25 standard membership and €5 for stagiaires.

The Brussels Labour Constitution and Standing Orders  can be downloaded here 

For more information about standing for a Committee position, please contact the Secretary for further information.

We look forward to seeing you at the EGM on 19 October.
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February Branch Meeting

The February Brussels Labour Branch meeting will take place on Monday 22 February 2016 at 19:30 at the Foundation for Progressive Studies (FEPS), Rue Montoyer 40, Brussels.

Ian Murray, MP for Edinburgh South and Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland will address the meeting. With Scottish Parliament elections in May and the EU referendum likely to take place in the coming months, Ian will talk about the political situation in Scotland and its place in Europe.

Please note the change of date for the Branch meeting – Monday 22 February and not Wednesday 24.

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January Branch Meeting

The next Brussels Labour Branch meeting will take place on Tuesday 26 January at 19:30 at the offices of our Italian sister party the Partito Democratico (PD), Clos du Parnasse 12E, 1050 Brussels  (close to Rue d’Idalie and just a short walk from the European Parliament).
The theme of the meeting will be the EU Referendum: what is happening and what can we do to support Labour’s campaign to ‘Remain’ in the EU. At the meeting we will discuss the latest developments regarding the EU referendum, with particular focus on the campaign and a practical session using social media and other techniques to help Labour’s campaign.  
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Branch Meeting Dates

Here are the dates of Branch meetings for the rest of the year:

Wednesday 23 September

Wednesday 21 October (John Fitzmaurice Memorial Lecture)

Wednesday 18 November

Wednesday 9 December

Branch meetings are usually held at Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS), Rue Montoyer 40, Brussels. at 19:30 (doors open from 19:00).

Watch here for more details.

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Annual General Meeting – formal notice

The Brussels Labour Annual General Meeting which takes place on Wednesday 25 March 2015 at 19:30.

We are delighted to announce that Theresa Griffin MEP will be the guest speaker, following the official AGM business.

The meeting will be held at the Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS), Rue Montoyer 40, Brussels. Doors open at 19:00; the AGM begins at 19:30 and Theresa Griffin MEP will speak following the official AGM business.



1. Apologies for absence

2. Minutes of the Annual General Meeting of 19 March 2014

  • A draft of these minutes will be distributed to members via email in due course.

3. Officers’ Reports for 2014/2015:

(a) Chair
(b) Secretary
(c) Treasurer

4. Approval of 2014 accounts and Auditors’ report

5. Election of the Committee (Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary, Treasurer and six other members) and two Auditors

  • Committee members must be members of Labour International and at least 50 per cent must be women
  • To nominate or vote at the AGM you must be a Labour Party member and have paid your subscription: please bring your party membership card to the meeting.
  • Nominations must be received by the Secretary by 18 March 2015 at 18:00 CET – please contact the Secretary to receive a form via which you can nominate any eligible person for any of the positions listed above.
  • If you would like to support the Executive Committee without standing for a formal position, please do not hesitate to contact the Secretary – all support is welcome!

6. Adoption of political resolutions, guidelines and constitutional amendments for which appropriate notice has been given

  • Proposals must be tabled in writing before the AGM.
  • The Brussels Labour Constitution and Standing Orders are available here.

7. Amount of Subscription for 2015/2016

  • 2015 subscriptions can be paid in cash at the AGM to the Treasurer, Belinda Pyke
  • Alternatively, they can be paid by bank transfer to account number: 001-1128765-52 (IBAN: BE64 0011 1287 6552; BIC: GEBABEBB) in the name of Brussels Labour Party Group, at BNP Paribas Fortis, with the communication: ‘[name] Subscription [year]’.
  • Rates are €25 (standard membership) or €5 (stagiaires).
  • Please click here for a membership form.

8. Proposals (if any) to affiliate to other organisations

9. Proposals (if any) to commit expenditure exceeding €500 from Branch funds

10. Labour International Co-ordinating Committee and Labour International activities

11. Sister Party activities

12. Any Other Business


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Next branch meeting on 25 February: Anneliese Dodds

Our next Branch meeting will take place on Wednesday 25 February with Anneliese Dodds MEP.

The meeting will take place at FEPS (Foundation for European Progressive Studies), Rue Montoyer 40.

Doors will open at 19:30 and the meeting will start at 20:00.

Anneliese was elected MEP for the South East of England in 2014 and is a Member of the European Parliament’s Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs and the new special Committee on tax rulings.

She will talk about her impressions of the European Parliament as a new Member and her work so far, and her thoughts on the upcoming general election.

We look forward to seeing you on Wednesday!

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Brussels Labour pub quiz – thank you for your generosity!

10333648_759833757385765_3859443541249906311_oThe annual Brussels Labour pub quiz took place on Tuesday 18 November and was won by the team ‘Qatar 2022’ (pictured right).

The net proceeds of the quiz and the raffle – more than €500 – will be donated to Médecins Sans Frontières and their work with the people and communities affected by Ebola. Thanks to all who helped make it a fun evening and who contributed so generously.

The final results were:

  • (1) Qatar 2022 (76.75points)
  • (2) Irlande 12 points (73.5 points)
  • (3) Strictly Come Answering (72 points)
  • (4) Spitzenkandidaten (67.75 points)
  • (5) Universally Challenged (67.5 points)
  • (6) Full Marx (66.5 points)
  • (7) Halal, Is It Meat You’re Looking For? (65.5 points)
  • (8) The Endangered Species (65 points)
  • (9) Cake (63 points)
  • (10) Political Misfits (59.75 points)
  • (11) Conquizztadors (59.5 points)
  • (12) In Place of Beer (59 points)
  • (13) Natural Born Quizzers (58.75 points)
  • (14) Social Justice (57.5 points)
  • (15) Team London (56 points)
  • (16) Trisaidekaphobia (55.75 points)
  • (=17) Reds (55.5 points)
    (=17) Labour Rosetta (55.5 points)
  • (19) Third Wean (51 points)
  • (20) Norfolk ‘n’ Chance (49.75 points)
  • (21) Temple of Doom (44.25 points)

Well done to everyone!


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Join us for the Brussels Labour pub quiz!

The annual Brussels Labour pub quiz will take place on Tuesday 18 November at 19:30 at Café Place de Londres, 1050 Ixelles.

Please register your team of 4 by emailing the Secretary with the name of your team and the team members.

Entry is 5 euro per team member (20 euro per team) and you can pay in advance by making a transfer to the Brussels Labour account:

Account number: 001-1128765-52 | IBAN: BE64 0011 1287 6552 | BIC: GEBABEBB Account name: Brussels Labour Party Group | Bank: BNP Paribas Fortis Communication: ‘[team name] & BL Quiz’

The quiz is open to BL members and non-members alike, so please invite your friends and family!

We will also hold a raffle, and the net proceeds of the event will be donated to Médecins Sans Frontières and their work with the people and communities affected by Ebola.

We have some great prizes and are happy to announce that David Earnshaw will compère, so we hope that you will be able to come along, have some fun and support a great cause!

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