The House of Commons Northern Ireland Affairs Committee has just published their interim report. It is very interesting reading, so don’t miss it.
I was invited to London to give evidence and to answer questions in front of the committee primarily about my report Smart Borders 2.0, which I was commissioned by the European Parliament Constitutional Committee to do based on research. I was also asked as Customs expert.
My testimony is available in the public domain, Parliamentary TV, if you want to listen to it (approx. 2 hours).
I also noted that a Mr. David Henig gave evidence to the committee. Mr. Henig, who I have never met, is a UK trade policy expert. The profile on LinkedIn says that Henig is Director of the UK Trade Policy Project.
The report states that in his testimony to the committee, Mr. Henig…:
“…expressed reservations about the evidence the Committee heard from Lars Karlsson and Hans Maessen, he said: They are not considered by many in the customs field to be representative. There is a lot of scepticism about the evidence they are providing and the solutions they are suggesting. On that basis, I can understand why people are being cautious”.
It would be very interesting to know more about Mr. Henigs own practical background and experience from the Customs and Border area and who he is referring to as “many in the Customs field”.
My CV is available in the public domain and people can read about the 35 years of experience I have from designing, developing, implementing and managing border solutions, on executive levels – global, regional and national.
As former Director of World Customs Organization responsible for the development and implementation of international standards I do have relevant experience to use in this case. I was also heaivily involved in the development of often quoted Sweden-Norway border – but I have since then been involved in and have many hundreds of the most challenging borders in the world.
I find it interesting that Mr. Henig refer to “many in the Customs field”. Especially since I over decades have visited hundreds of Customs and border conferences and I have never met or seen Mr. Henig participate in any of the events. This is where Customs people usually meet.
The colleagues I have in the professional community like e.g. institutions, think-tanks and research foras (where I participate) have not raised the same doubts as Mr. Henig. In fact, I have always felt highly respected in my community.
We, the experts, don’t always share the same views and this is fine since the “roof is high” in our professional community. There are some great debates in the professional Customs arena. This time though my colleagues have just underlined and supported the views expressed in my work.
I would personally not give a view about Mr. Henig status in his professional field (if asked) – since I don’t know him.
I am however always prepared to listen and to learn more – so if you Mr. Henig – read this, please make contact so we can talk.
Maybe we will get a chance to speak directly in the future. I am looking forward to it.