On 7th April 2016 CCBS Deputy Director Dr Anthony Soares participated in NICVA’s conference which focussed on the EU Referendum and the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise sector.
Presentations from NICVA, the Charity Commission NI and Lucid Talk were followed by a ‘lively’ panel discussion that engaged the audience and the Twittersphere. A real time poll of the audience highlighted that the majority planned to vote to remain in the EU, however there was a general consensus that much more information is needed to inform the debate.
- What’s the EU ever done for the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise sector? – Seamus McAleavey, Chief Executive, NICVA
- Charities, Campaigning and the EU referendum – Frances McCandless, Charity Commission NI
- How Referenda Work – Bill White, Lucid Talk
- Graham Gudgin (Cambridge University)
- Jane Morrice (Former Vice President Economic and Social Committee)
- Dr. Anthony Soares (Centre for Cross Border Studies)
- Jeffrey Peel (Quadriga Consulting)
- David Gavaghan (CBI)
- Dr Lee McGowan (QUB)
Dr Soares opening statement:
“Whilst the Centre for Cross Border Studies will not be campaigning for either side in the referendum, from the evidence we currently have at our disposal we believe that continued membership of the EU will offer the UK and therefore Northern Ireland the greatest possibility of achieving the ambitions many of us share in terms of increasing the socio-economic wellbeing of the peoples of these islands while reducing regional disparities.
The EU has provided the framework to work towards this goal in a spirit of cooperation that recognises that our wellbeing is dependent on the wellbeing of others.
The EU has encouraged and facilitated all sectors – including the community and voluntary sector – to collaborate both within their own regions and with others across Europe in a way that simultaneously recognises differences and increases mutual understanding in the pursuit of common goals.
This can be a difficult and often frustrating process – especially if one enters it demanding a “special status” – but the wider space the EU offers for working together to find common solutions to shared problems and underexploited potentials needs to be grasped as fitting with our ambitions. For a community and voluntary sector that wants to continue to work for a more prosperous, more confident and more outward-looking Northern Ireland where all of its citizens can actively participate in that goal, the value of the UK’s continued membership of the EU needs to be carefully considered before the 23rd of June when we will all vote on a decision that will have consequences for future generations.”
Further information is available on the NICVA website