Economics Society: Catherine Bearder MEP Visits Bede’s

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Last Friday saw Bede’s Politics and Economic Society welcome Catherine Bearder, the Liberal Democrat MEP for South East England, to talk to Sixth Form students at the School about her work as an MEP and the upcoming debate on the EU referendum.

Mrs Bearder became an MEP in 2009 after previously serving as a councillor for Oxfordshire County Council. She is a long-time campaigner on the issues of human trafficking and the environment, especially wildlife conservation and biodiversity. She has also founded the cross-party "MEPs for Wildlife group" which is calling for an EU Action Plan against Wildlife Trafficking.

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Mrs Bearder has a busy working week and surprised students when she outlined her weekly schedule, which includes four days in Brussels and three in Oxford.

After her brief introductory speech, Mrs Bearder opened the floor to questions. Predictably, one of the first questions was aimed at the Lib Dem’s performance in the general election, however attention soon turned to the EU situation, with a vast range of questions being launched at Mrs Bearder.

Such questions included the plausibility of a Norwegian/Swiss-style deal for the UK upon leaving the EU as well as the prospect of a “United States of Europe” in the future. It was clear to see Mrs Bearder's pro EU stance, especially when challenged with the issue of the UK’s sovereignty in relation to Europe.

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It was interesting for students to hear first-hand insight into the functioning of the European Union. Mrs Bearder discussed many issues which perhaps aren’t focused upon within media coverage of the referendum, including the poor Governmental implementation of EU policy, as well as the impact which democratically elected members of the parliament have on such policy.

With Bede’s own school EU referendum fast approaching, such insight was warmly received by the Sixth Former in attendance, especially due to the talk’s relevance to those of us studying A Level Politics and/or Economics.

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International students in particular were interested to hear Mrs Beader's thoughts on the consequences of the UK leaving the EU and what will this mean to them, and everyone in Bede's Politics and Economics Society is extremely grateful to Mrs Bearder for being so generous with her time and coming to speak to us.

 

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