European Parliament News

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

MEPs in dust-up over Euro

22-May-2013 @ 12:0

In an unprovoked attack today, German MEP Elmar Brok criticised Yorkshire and The Humber Conservative MEP Timothy Kirkhope over his continued opposition to the Euro currency.
During a debate on European monetary union, Mr Brok accused Mr Kirkhope of failing to understand the benefits of membership of the euro for all European countries - including the UK.
As one of the leading opponents of UK involvement in the euro and a staunch supporter of the pound, Mr Kirkhope was angry at the astonishing attack.
"I was surprised at Mr Brok's outburst," said Mr Kirkhope.
"He may be frustrated at the fact that Germany has been baling out other Member States who subscribe to the Euro currency, but he has no right to criticise me or the UK for its decision to remain outside of it.
"I will be asking Mr Brok for an apology and reminding him that I will continue to fight against any proposal to oblige the UK to lose its pound.
"These matters are for the British people to decide and I am sure they will always want to keep the pound."

Callanan: EU summit should bring concrete results on energy prices and tax evasion

21-May-2013 @ 17:0

Speaking in a debate in the European Parliament ahead of tomorrow’s European Council meeting, European Conservatives and Reformists group leader Martin Callanan said that the agenda contained two ‘worthy’ and ‘concrete’ issues – tax evasion and energy prices – that need concrete action to make Europe more competitive.
Speaking on tax evasion, he welcomed the focus on clamping down on illegal means, but said that cooperation should not be used as a cover for tax harmonisation, and that the best way to prevent tax fraud is to have a more competitive and simple tax regime.
As for energy, he called for a ‘thorough trawl’ through all EU policies with reform or repeal of those that exacerbate energy prices. These could range from climate policies like the ETS through to financial services legislation, which could impede private investment in infrastructure.
Mr Callanan also warned against a one-size-fits-all approach, and said that following the Greens down a road of closing off certain energy options would be ‘the sure way to make the lights go out in Europe.’

Conservatives win through for UK Offshore Oil and Gas industry

21-May-2013 @ 13:0

British MEPs today declared victory in their long-running battle over offshore oil safety rules.
Since the Gulf of Mexico crisis there have been continual calls from some MEPs effectively to shut down oil and gas drilling in Europe. EU officials made a power grab over the offshore industry by proposing a European super-regulator for the industry and one-size-fits-all safety legislation.

North Sea oil and gas companies pointed out that the European draft legislation would make the industry less safe and would cost over £140 million in legal and administration fees to implement.

Yes to tackling tax evasion - No to a common euro-tax!

21-May-2013 @ 9:0

Conservative MEPs will today refuse to back moves which they fear would be a first step towards a common corporation tax - imposed right across Europe and decided in Brussels.
The worrying measures come in two reports put before the European Parliament today. Both set out ostensibly to tackle tax evasion - but they spoil that good intent with a raft of sweeping proposals which could be used to pave the way for a common tax regime.
Conservative MEPs are vehemently opposed to the idea of a so-called Common Consolidated Consolidated Tax Base (CCCTB) and so will abstain on the package as a whole, despite their strong support for all sensible measures to ensure that multi-nationals pay their taxes fully, fairly and squarely.
One of the reports, by Slovenian Socialist MEP Mojca Kleva Kekus, not only calls for the CCCTB but would also hugely boost EU powers by allowing the Commission to negotiate tax agreements with third powers.
Kay Swinburne MEP, Conservative spokesman on economic and monetary affairs, said: "It is abhorrent that some multinational companies are working to the best of their ability to pay as little corporation tax as possible.
"The game of cat and mouse with global companies over corporate taxation is not new, yet over the last 15 years it seems that many governments have given companies an easy ride.
"I firmly believe in tax sovereignty. Not only do Member States have a responsibility to deal with their own companies and jurisdictions, they have a responsibility to ensure that their tax law doesn't create perverse incentives globally.
"The only way to address this is via the G8 and the G20. David Cameron is leading the debate internationally to find ways of solving these problems.
"Globally agreed standards for reporting, exchange of relevant quality data and simplified tax systems, collecting tax on world-wide income where appropriate, will ensure fairness in taxation globally.
"The FTT (Financial Transactions Tax) debate and the Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base are distractions, as are debates around EU own resources and creating new EU lists for identifying tax havens.
"We need to focus on overcoming the remaining hurdles in order achieve a new global cooperation that will really make a difference instead of getting involved in new projects that will simply increase companies' incentives to avoid EU taxation entirely.
In these reports the European Parliament has missed an opportunity to make a real difference. The Socialists have insisted on adding their own anti-capitalist dogma which is divisive and very unhelpful. I call on them to drop it and pay attention to the main issue of tackling tax evasion and driving economic growth."

Deva says we must stop the rise of Jihadist states in Africa

15-May-2013 @ 17:00

A conference of donor nations and charities in Brussels today aims to mobilise and coordinate support for strife-torn Mali.

Britain's long-term EU budget goal "in sight"

15-May-2013 @ 11:0

Agreement on an extra €7.3 billion in this year's EU budget should pave the way for a long-term spending settlement which delivers a series of key British objectives, the leader of the UK's Conservative MEPs said today.
Richard Ashworth was speaking after Finance Ministers sitting in the EU Council decided by qualified majority that in theory they would allow the extra spending towards unpaid bills run up last year by member states - including Britain - on EU projects.
The European Parliament, which has co-decision powers with the Council on budget matters, has insisted that key negotiations on the EU's long-term budget blueprint to 2020 could go no further until the matter of the so-called "draft amending budget" for 2013 was settled.
The UK along with Sweden, Finland, Denmark and the Netherlands were in a minority in opposing the extra spending, but Mr Ashworth said today that what might appear to be a backward step could help deliver a better long-term deal for Britain in the seven-year Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF).
In announcing its new position, Council said the extra money for 2013 would only be finally approved once MEPs agreed final terms on the long-term budget.
Mr Ashworth said: "If this measure is finally agreed next week between Parliament and Council, it should mean Britain achieving its key goals for the long-term budget - including the Prime Minister's historic deal for the first ever budget reduction. We should see the seven-year budget fall by 3.3 per cent and a lid firmly put on the idea of the EU raising its own funding through own-resources taxation.
"All of those are worth striving for and it is now incumbent on the Parliament to accept the current position and stop coming back with demands for more cash."
As a key UK negotiator in the Parliament on budget, the South East MEP has been concerned that the political log-jam over the 2013 budget could threaten the prospects of a sound seven-year agreement.
He said: "The issue of the amending budget has been a cloud over our talks, but it could prove to have a silver lining if it helps deliver the right agreement on MFF. This puts a good long-term deal in sight."

Welcome for serious action on petrol-price allegations

15-May-2013 @ 15:0

Conservative MEP Vicky Ford, who has consistently pushed for EU action against petrol price-fixing, today welcomed the launch of a major investigation into manipulation of the oil and petrol market.
Working in co-operation with Harlow MP Robert Halfon, Mrs. Ford has tabled a series of parliamentary questions in Brussels urging the European Commission to probe serious allegations of price-manipulation levelled against major oil companies.
Yesterday the Commission announced a wide-ranging investigation as officials raided the offices of leading firms including Shell and BP.
Mrs. Ford, MEP for the East of England and Conservative spokesman on Industry, Research and Energy, said: "We have been working together to give the Commission a serious push on this issue.
"I persistently questioned them and urged them to sit up and take notice of this important issue. It is very pleasing that now they have.
"Sometimes when you ask questions of the EU you feel as though they disappear into a black hole, but it looks as though this time the right people have listened.
"I hope the investigation now underway will be as thorough and wide-reaching as it needs to be to root out any malpractice and reassure consumers that in future they will not be cheated.
"Motorists need be in the driving seat - not taken for a ride."

Rogue MEP's Falklands intervention condemned

10-May-2013 @ 11:0

Conservatives in Brussels are to demand that the European Parliament"s authorities rein in a Spanish MEP after he told Argentina the EP did not accept British sovereignty over the Falkland Islands.

Sturdy: EU solar panels duties are a really dim idea

08-May-2013 @ 17:0

An eye-watering EU duty of 47 percent on solar panels from China, proposed today, puts thousands of jobs at risk in Europe, whilst pushing prices of solar panels through the roof, Robert Sturdy MEP, Conservative trade spokesman and Vice-President of the European Parliament's International Trade committee, said today.
The duties represent the most significant EU anti-dumping response, with China exported solar panels and their components being worth around €21 billion to the EU. The EU responded to a complaint by an industry association called EU ProSun, which claimed that the solar panels from China were being 'dumped' (they were entering European markets at prices cheaper than their market value).
However, Mr Sturdy said that anti-dumping cases must always consider the wider interests of the EU, and in this case such duties will do far more harm than good, costing jobs, forcing up prices for consumers, running contrary to EU environmental policy, and damaging the trading relationship with China. He is calling on national governments to reject the proposal.
The trade spokesman for the European Conservatives and Reformists group in the European Parliament, said:
"This is a really dim idea from the European Commission. The commission has failed to take into account the much wider implications of these duties on companies that import and install solar panels, and their customers who will have to pay much more.
"The European Union wants to promote renewable energy but then imposes a massive duty on solar panels. The left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing.
"This decision will have wide ramifications for our trading relationship with China. Such a significant and punitive duty surely will not go unnoticed or unpunished by Beijing.
"EU trade policy needs to stop putting parochial interests first and start to look at the wider picture. Trade defence is based on strict criteria, but not on basic common sense and consideration of the consequences of these actions on the wider EU economy.
"EU trade interests, consumers and businesses will be hit hard by this decision. The Commission needs to look at this in a different light."

Struan hails black-pudding breakthrough

08-May-2013 @ 14:0

Scots MEP Struan Stevenson today welcomed a decision to grant protected status to Stornoway black pudding.
The decision means that only products made in the Isle of Lewis town can be labelled and marketed as "Stornoway" black pudding and puts it on a par with Parma ham, Roquefort cheese and Champagne.
Mr Stevenson said: "Black pudding from Stornoway is well-known and well-loved around the world and this decision means it cannot be be faked or counterfeited. People will not be allowed to pass off inferior puddings made elsewhere as Stornoway puddings.
"It's a good day for Stornoway and a good day for black pudding."

Accounting standards need scrutiny to make sure banks behave

08-May-2013 @ 18:0

Conservatives MEPs today called for the regime for global accounting standards to be held up to thorough international scrutiny in light of the central role it played in causing the financial crisis.
The MEPs a series of key questions at a hearing in the European Parliament on the future of International Financial Reporting Standards.
With the European Commission set to commit to another six years of funding for both the International Accounting Standards Board and the European Financial Reporting Advisory Group - the bodies which respectively write the standards and grant them the EU's legal endorsement - the hearing flagged up several major areas requiring attention on in depth.
Host Syed Kamall MEP, Conservative MEP for London, said: "It cannot just be business as usual. We need to be sure we get to a regime which is clear and simple but also thorough and a powerful tool for better governance. Time is passing and this needs addressing now."
International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) are globally-recognised accounting standards that have been used in the EU for the accounts of banking groups and other listed companies for more than 20 years. Some investors believe that their complexity allows banks to misrepresent the reality of their balance sheets, making it hard to know what may be wrong with their finances.
Some of the standards are said to have contributed to the crisis, in particular those relating to how derivatives and losses on loans are recognised on balance sheets.
Dr Kamall, Conservative MEP for London, believes that fresh call for European banks to be stress-tested once more, to identify possible capital shortfalls, means transparency in banks' balance sheets should be top priority for the Commission.
He has been fighting hard to raise awareness of the issue at a European level.
At today's event, organised by the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants, he said: "The European accounting model has developed over several centuries and is about far more than simply providing information to the capital markets"
"Accounts in this context are drivers of better governance, not just about information for investors."
"It is important to discuss the extent to which IFRS, which run up to several thousand pages of rules, can achieve these aims. Often the more rules there are, the easier they are to get around."
"The G20 commitment is to strengthen the global financial system. We have to ask ourselves whether converging around complex, wordy accounting standards is something that will stave off future crises."

NATO Secretary General comments on EU defence policy

06-May-2013 @ 18:0

Conservative Security and Defence spokesman, Geoffrey Van Orden MEP, today stated that European defence policy was merely a case of the EU looking for ways to justify its existence and push for more European integration.

Conservative message on financing SMEs is getting through

02-May-2013 @ 16:00

Anthea McIntyre MEP today welcomed a "useful step forward" in her drive to get better access to finance for small businesses. 

Welcome for Syria aid boost

27-Apr-2013 @ 17:0

Nirj Deva MEP, Conservative spokesman on international development in the European Parliament, today warmly welcomed a promise of €100m extra for humanitarian aid in war-torn Syria.

Welcome for key findings of Lords' EU fraud report

17-Apr-2013 @ 11:0

The House of Lords European UnionCommittee today (April 17) published its report on The Fight Against Fraud onthe EU's finances.
It concludes that the amount of fraudacknowledged by the European Commission at €404 million offers "only a glimpse"of the true level. The real figure is close to a staggering €5 billion, itsuggests.
Conservative MEPs Timothy Kirkhope and MartaAndreasen were among those who supplied evidence to the committee enquiry toinform its findings.
Welcoming the report's key findings today,Philip Bradbourn MEP, Conservative spokesman on budgetary control in theEuropean Parliament, said: "This hard-hitting report reinforces whatConservative MEPs have been hilighting for a long, long time - that fraud andmisuse of money is simply not taken seriously enough within theEU.
"It has been alllowed to throw its roots wideand deep while some people look the other way. The problem is far worse than hasbeen admitted.
"This is powereful justification for ourlong-standing demand that the EU should have a commissioner dedicated full timeto budget control - one charged not just with monitoring performance but withreal powers to investigate and root out fraud right across theunion."

Kirkhope: Consistent approach will drive down montrous trade in human life

16-Apr-2013 @ 15:0

Senior Conservative MEP Timothy Kirkhope today calledon all EU countries to adopt a serious and consistent approach to tackling humantrafficking after a new study showed thecrime increasing while convictions fell.

25 years on, Margaret Thatcher's Bruges speech still shows the way forward

16-Apr-2013 @ 14:15

Speaking in a debate on the Future of Europe with Finnish Prime MinisterKatainen, European Conservatives and Reformists group leader Martin Callanansaid that Margaret Thatcher's 1988 Bruges speech was still strikingly relevantto the debate.

MEPs fail to support fairer deal for women drivers

16-Apr-2013 @ 14:0

MEPs fail to support fairer deal for women drivers

Big step forward in fight against cyber crime

16-Apr-2013 @ 13:0

Big step forward in fight against cyber crime

Tories rebut Farage's mischievous claim to Maggie legacy

15-Apr-2013 @ 19:0

Conservative MEPs today batted aside an attempt by Nigel Farage to claim that his party were the successors to Lady Thatcher's heritage.