European Parliament News

Here you can find an archive of all the news items that have been on this website.

Fight goes on despite disappointing fish funding votes

10-Jul-2013 @ 18:0

Fight goes on despite disappointing fish funding votes

Russia must now play by the rules

10-Jul-2013 @ 18:0

Russia must now play by the rules

EU 'Package Holiday' rules brought into the 21st century

09-Jul-2013 @ 16:0

Gone are the days when package holidays were always booked from a brochure at a travel agents, so EU laws protecting travellers need to be updated, Malcolm Harbour MEP and Jacqueline Foster MEP said today in response to the European Commission proposals to revamp rules for 'Package Holidays'.

Copyright: moves to make licensing of copyrighted content easier

09-Jul-2013 @ 15:0

Members of the European Parliament Legal Affairs committee adopted unanimously today their position on the proposal for a directive on the collective management of copyright.

Kirkhope: The right way to engage with Europe on crime and justice

09-Jul-2013 @ 15:0

The Home Secretary deserves credit for setting out a responsible approach for a renewed relationship with the EU in the area of crime, justice and home affairs.
Timothy Kirkhope, Conservative spokesman on justice and home affairs in the European Parliament, described Theresa May's announcement today as "practical, determined and realistic".
The Yorkshire and Humber MEP said:
"The problems we face in this area all stem from Labour's inept negotiation of the Lisbon Treaty which has left the present Government with only two options: to either opt in or out of all crime and justice legislation.
"This lack of flexibility has ultimately put us in an impossible position, so the Home Secretary is doing absolutely the right thing by taking us out, with a view to opting back in to individual measures that are in the best interests of UK citizens.
"What is important now is that we should be careful and courteous in our negotiations to opt back into the useful areas which are of value to the UK. It will not happen automatically, and will require a great deal of work, diplomacy and tact in Brussels and national capitals to convince our allies of the merits of allowing us to re-engage in certain areas. I will do all I can to assist the Home Secretary in securing a good outcome for the UK from these negotiations."
Mr Kirkhope has been working to move forward reforms to a number of EU Justice and Home Affairs measures that would make it easier for the UK to opt back in, including Europol and the European Arrest Warrant. He believes data-sharing arrangements such as the EAW, the Visa Information System and the European Criminal Records Information System are examples of the sort of valuable protocols the UK may wish to restore after the opt-out.
"The issues are far from simple," said Mr Kirkhope, himself a former Home Office minister, "But we have to engage constructively in order to get the best deal for the British people.
"There is no doubt the European Arrest Warrant needs serious reform to prevent some of the abuses we have seen. However, we should seek to achieve those reforms first because we have a good prospect of success.
"The Home Secretary has taken a practical, determined and realistic approach which sets us on the right road."

Horticulture - a question of growing potential

09-Jul-2013 @ 9:0

Plans for boosting the horticulture sector across Europe were under discussion in Brussels today at a hearing called by British MEP Anthea McIntyre.
Miss McIntyre, Conservative MEP for the West Midlands, is lead negotiator for the European Parliament on plans to introduce new strategies in the sector to boost productivity, competitiveness and income.
She called the hearing, along with the chairman of the Parliament's Agriculture Committee Paolo De Castro, in order to hear the widest possible range of expert advice before drawing up her initial report.
In advance of today's meeting at the European Parliament she said: "Horticulture is an important and expanding part of agriculture right across Europe, but we believe it has the capacity to contribute even more to the overall food-production mix.
"Changing technology is leading to rapid advances to do with growing conditions and husbandry, which means the potential for further expansion and better yields is huge.
"This sector can start to play a hugely important role in addressing issues of food security and affordable nutrition."

Campaign for a digital single market must be fought on several fronts

04-Jul-2013 @ 8:0

Achieving an effective digital single market is not just about developing new technologies, a senior British MEP warns today.

PRISM: Kirkhope calls for calm heads, not posturing

03-Jul-2013 @ 18:0

MEPs were today encouraged to remain calm and to wait for proper fact-based evidence rather than rushing to condemn the USA over spying allegations.

Labour and Liberals back introduction of new EU taxes

03-Jul-2013 @ 17:0

British Labour and Liberal MEPs today voted for theintroduction of new "Euro-taxes" to be levied across the continent - to raiseextra money directly for the European Union, bypassing Member States andremoving the ability of governments to limit EU spending.

Victory for common sense as controversial bonus cap is voted down

03-Jul-2013 @ 13:0

Syed Kamall MEP today (Wednesday) welcomed the decision by the European Parliament to drop a proposed bonus cap for fund managers after months of fraught negotiations between MEPs.

"Silly and dangerous" Lib Dem plans to have us vote for European parties

03-Jul-2013 @ 9:0

The European Parliament will vote tomorrow (Thursday) on whether to adopt anastonishing report proposing intrusive changes to the way European elections arerun in Britain.
The report has been drawn up by Liberal Democrat MEP Andrew Duff and urgesa series of measures which he thinks would create greater engagement of votersacross Europe. As well as promoting the idea of a directly-elected president ofEurope, it calls for pan-European parties to be given party political broadcastsand for their logos to appear on ballot papers.
Ashley Fox MEP, Conservative spokesman in the parliament on constitutionalaffairs, today labelled the plans "silly and dangerous" and vowed he and hisfellow Tories would oppose them resolutely.
Mr Duff, an MEP for the East of England, is proud to hold the post ofPresident of the Union of European Federalists and makes no secret of his wishto see Britain swallowed into a European super-state, run from Brussels, withvotes cast along pan-European party lines rather than according to nationalpolitics.
South West MEP Mr Fox said: "This sounds like the sort of screamingfederalist nonsense you might expect to come out of Belgium or Luxembourg. Forit to come from a British MEP just shows how far he and his party are out oftouch with British voters on such a key issue.
"His federalist dream is everyone else's nightmare. He is effectivelycalling for a directly-elected President of the European Commission. Europe doesnot need any such thing because it is not a state, much as he might want it tobe one.
"Nor do we need the logos of European parties on our ballot papers. Britishvoters know exactly who Labour and Conservatives are. Some even recognise thename Liberal Democrat - but nobody has the faintest idea what ALDE or S&Dstands for.
"I have not yet been inundated by demands from voters for extra partypolitical broadcasts. I would suggest they have quite enough already, thank youvery much, without being force-fed more from federalist European parties.
"I'm all for ways of improving voter engagement in the European elections -but these silly and dangerous proposals would have the opposite effect. Theywould turn voters straight off.
"They will simply create more hostility to Brussels and its constantinterference in national affairs rather than foster some pan-Europeanidentity."

Foster: We will fight EU plan for caravan and trailer tests

02-Jul-2013 @ 9:0

Conservative transport and tourism spokesman Jacqueline Foster has vowed to do all she can in the European Parliament to resist proposals which would impose a cumbersome and intrusive inspection and testing regime for caravans and light trailers.
The European Union has drafted a raft of proposed legislation on vehicle safety testing which would hugely extend the scope of the current regime for MOT tests, as well as roadside tests on commercial vehicles.
Mrs Foster, Conservative MEP for North West England, said: "Caravan enthusiasts and the caravan industry itself are extremely fearful. This proposed regulation will bring extra costs and inconvenience that could spoil their holidays and leisure time.
"It also poses a threat to ordinary householders occasionally using small trailers for jobs like taking garden waste to the tip.
"I am all in favour or improving road safety, but this is set to take our perfectly good British system backwards."
The draft legislation includes proposals that could potentially ban some repair garages from also conducting MOT tests and for making caravans and light trailers (under 3.5 tons) subject to frequent MOT tests.
Mrs Foster said: "I have spent many months objecting to the inclusion of caravans in this proposed regulation. I believe it to be pointless and it would contribute nothing to improve road safety. It is accepted that our roads are among the safest in Europe.
"Caravans are generally well-maintained by their owners and used typically in good driving conditions with low annual mileage. I am pushing hard to protect the UK from yet more overly prescriptive, burdensome and unnecessary regulation from the European Commission.
"With so many caravan owners across the United Kingdom, not least the one million members of the Caravan Club, this industry is worth more than £6 billion a year. It contributes greatly to our local and national economies. This is an important part of our leisure and tourism industry which we should be encouraging, not penalising."
In a speech to the plenary sitting of the Parliament in Strasbourg last night (Monday), Mrs Foster told fellow MEPs: "I was also stunned by colleagues calling for measures that would have banned some repair garages from operating testing services. This would have potentially affected the work of up to 50,000 inspectors, and 20,000 SMEs in the UK, threatening some with closure. In these tough economic times, we should be supporting our SMEs, not closing them."
On roadside inspections, Mrs Foster played a key role in removing initial plans to have smaller vehicles included in the proposal. She said: "Widening the scope to smaller vehicles would only reduce attention of Heavy Goods Vehicles, which is where the bigger danger lies. Our roadside inspectors need to make sure that they can inspect what is really necessary. HGVs pose a far higher road safety risk than smaller vehicles, so we should not undermine road safety.
"This proposal is a Commission classic: Over-burdensome, too prescriptive, and too costly."

Lower roaming charges - a welcome boost for summer sunseekers

29-Jun-2013 @ 22:0

New EU rules on maximum charges for mobile data roaming will come into force on Monday - just in time to give a handy boost to summer holidaymakers who like to use their mobile phones and tablets abroad.

Budget deal breakthrough: a victory for Cameron and Conservative MEPs

27-Jun-2013 @ 12:0

European Parliament negotiators today agreed to accept the broad terms of the deal over the European Union's long-term budget originally reached by David Cameron on February 8.

CAP: A Conservative critique of the supposed "reforms"

27-Jun-2013 @ 10:0

After two years of discussions and a huge amount of work from ministers, parliamentarians and officials, the deal struck in trilogue yesterday (Wednesday) on reform of the EU Common Agricultural Policy amounts to a huge missed opportunity.
That is the view of Julie Girling MEP, Conservative agriculture spokesman in the European Parliament, who took part in the lengthy negotiation process and the detailed and gruelling final talks this week in Luxembourg and Brussels.
And she pointed out that even now, the "deal" reached is not a final agreement as there are many outstanding issues on hold relating to the EU's long-term budget (the so-called Multi-annual Financial Framework) which has still to be settled.
She said: "Our negotiations have managed to remove many of the very worst elements of the proposals as originally tabled and voted by Parliament. But that cannot disguise the fact that what is left is still not good - a backwards step in many ways to interventionism and statism. It does nothing for food security, consumers or the environment, and even less for farmers.
"British farmers have little to celebrate here and to an extent their efficiency will be punished instead of rewarded."
Following the negotiations concerns remain:
Despite all the work to achieve a 'final' agreement today many issues remain open pending a deal on the Multiannual Financial Framework. This includes key elements of the Direct Payments regulation, such as capping, external convergence, the movement of money between pillars, and elements of the Horizontal Regulation primarily concerning the 'crisis reserve'.
In addition, although the greening proposal has been significantly watered down we maintain our position that greening measures should be implemented via Pillar 2 funds. The current agreement is overly complex, administratively cumbersome and it will lead to upheaval such as remapping for very little environmental gain.
We are also unhappy with the introduction of an additional 'greening penalty' in the Horizontal Regulation for those who do not carrying out their 'greening' requirements under pillar 1. Although we did manage to delay this penalty for the first two years, we were not able to prevent an eventual 25% penalty.
The continuation of coupled payments is regrettable as these lead to over production which is not related to market demand. We regret the rejection of the requirement for full transparency, which was supported by the European Parliament at plenary.
We will be voting against the agreement on the Single Common Market Organisation for a number of reasons:
- the extension of wine quotas to 2030.
- the increase of intervention and reference prices.
- the extension of the sugar quota to 2017.
- the extension of the power of Producer Organisations.
However we do support the rejection of general marketing standards, so the return of 'bendy banana' can be laid to rest.
We welcome the reduced mandatory negative list for the definition of the 'active farmer' and the flexibility of Member States to add to this list to fit particular national circumstances.
We also welcome the agreement that no double-funding can take place despite the introduction of mandatory greening provisions.
As representatives of a country outside the Eurozone we Conservatives fought hard to keep text introduced by the European Parliament which allows Member States to use an average exchange rate for conversion rather than the exchange rate on the last day of the month. This will avoid issues with speculation and was a huge achievement for Conservatives and the UK.

"Mixed bag" CAP deal ticks no boxes

26-Jun-2013 @ 14:0

A prospective agreement on the future of the EU's controversial Agricultural Policy, hammered out following lengthy "trilogue" negotiations between the European Parliament, Commission and Council, represents a huge wasted opportunity, Conservative MEPs said today.

Ashworth: Proposed EU budget cut a step in the right direction

26-Jun-2013 @ 13:0

The leader of Britain's Conservative MEPs today welcomed proposals for a six per cent cut in next year's budget for the European Union.
Richard Ashworth said it was important for the EU's leaders to grasp the economic reality that had led to drastic spending limits right across Europe as national governments trimmed borrowing to balance the books.
He spoke after the Commission announced a draft budget for 2014 amounting to €142.01 billion in commitment appropriations and €135.9 billion in payment appropriations. The figures are some six per cent lower than this year's for both commitments and payments.
Mr Ashworth, Conservative MEP for the South East and budget spokesman for the European Conservatives and Reformists Group in the parliament, said: "We would have preferred an even greater reduction in overall spending and a more radical reform of the way the money is spent. However it has to be said that we see here a significant move in the right direction.
"We would particularly welcome the accent on investment and the focus on key areas such as small businesses and measures to tackle youth unemployment.
"There is generally a more disciplined approach to budgeting here than we have seen in the past. It is a sign that the pressure from the UK and other like-minded governments is getting results."

Conservative MEPs condemn Spaniards' Gibraltar gun incursion

26-Jun-2013 @ 9:0

The three British Conservative MEPs who represent Gibraltar in the European Parliament last night issued an unqualified condemnation after it emerged that a shot had been fired from Spanish vessel during an incursion into territorial waters around The Rock.
Giles Chichester, Ashley Fox and Julie Girling described the incident as reckless and provocative.
They spoke out after Europe Minister David Lidington revealed that an officer aboard a Guardia Civil boat had fired a weapon during an illegal incursion into British Gibraltar territorial waters on Sunday.
The three, whose constituency is officially designated the South West of England and Gibraltar, said: "Sadly incursions into our waters by the Guardia Civil have increased in frequency recently.
"They are a form of international political posturing by a struggling government which hopes to distract attention from its domestic failures.
"As such they are an unwelcome and aggressive irritant.
"However, for a shot to be fired will push to a new level the offence caused to the people of Gibraltar. This action is wholly illegal and as provocative as it is reckless.
"We wholeheartedly back the British Government's demand that Spain should explain its actions. We believe it should also apologise and offer a solemn assurance that there will be no repetition of such foolishness."

Conservatives deliver long-term research funding

25-Jun-2013 @ 15:0

After months of discussions an agreement was reached today on the EU's next seven year funding programme for science and research.
The so-called Horizon 2020 package will have a budget of around £60bn for projects over the next seven years.
East of England MEP Vicky Ford was Conservative negotiator on the deal and today welcomed the eventual outcome of the protracted talks.
Horizon 2020 will focus funding in three separate pillars: excellence in largely academic-based blue-sky research, supporting industrial companies in innovative areas and finally addressing the so called societal "grand" challenges which include food and energy security, climate change and demographic changes. Some 20 per cent of the funding should go towards small and medium sized businesses and there will be a new financial instrument specifically dedicated to funding innovation.
EU research funding is extremely important for the UK and is one of the few areas where the UK gets back roughly what it contributes. By the end of the 2007-2013 programme, the UK will have received around €7.5bn in funding - around 15% of the overall €50bn budget. Cambridge University, for example, estimates that 20% of the work undertaken by its researchers is funded by EU grants.
However, EU research programmes have a reputation for complex bureaucracy and red tape. Mrs Ford has been gathering evidence and suggestions for reforms for the past three years and tabled many amendments to the legislation to simplify the paperwork and application processes, particularly important for improving the participation of small businesses.
These changes include shortening timetables for awarding grants and receiving payments, introducing a clearer complaints procedure and improving communication between participants. Mrs Ford has also been adamant that grants should be awarded on the basis of excellence in order to ensure that funding goes to those who put forward the best case.
She said: "Science and research is critical to maintaining innovation thus driving growth and creating jobs. Recent studies have shown that scientific research which is the result of international collaboration tends to have a greater impact. We should focus the EU budget on areas where it does add value.
"Other MEPs should stop the institutional infighting over the EU budget, lead not by policy but purely by their constant pursuit of more money and more power. They need to get behind the deal agreed by national governments otherwise we risk holding back our scientists and businesses at such a crucial time."

New rules to target the market-riggers

20-Jun-2013 @ 17:0

Conservative MEPs today gave a cautious welcome to a breakthrough agreement between European Parliament negotiators and the EU Council over planned new rules to tackle market abuse.
The regulations should clamp down on price and rate-rigging as exemplified by recent scandals over LIBOR and the oil market.
Kay Swinburne, Conservative negotiator on the new regulations, said the scope of the rules was welcome - but she would have preferred stronger sanctions against anyone who continued to flout them.
The Wales MEP said: "It is good that the EP and Council have reached an agreement to have strong market abuse rules across the EU after so many high profile cases of market manipulation.
"I am disappointed that the level of fines that has been agreed to is now only 15 million Euros, or 15% of the annual turnover of the company - I had originally proposed unlimited fines, as the potential for profit is so high, the deterrent needs to be truly effective.
"However, as the legislation does allow member states to go further, the UK authorities should still be able to fine over and beyond that proposed in the regulation so as to properly punish those guilty of market abuse."