Coming up this year: protecting the environment and wildlife, making Europe safer and triggering Article 50

10-Jan-2017 @ 14:00

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Coming up this year: protecting the environment and wildlife, making Europe safer and triggering Article 50

Conservative MEPs have returned to the European Parliament this week to a busy agenda. The many issues they will be working on in the coming months include:

* Brexit. The UK Government will shortly trigger Article 50 and begin the process of leaving the European Union. Conservative MEPs will help deliver the best possible outcome for Britain and secure agreement for the final deal when MEPs vote in the European Parliament. Conservative MEPs' leader Ashley Fox (South West and Gibraltar) said: "“Using our delegation's deep and wide knowledge of EU matters we will do all we can to help the UK Government with the forthcoming negotiations.”

* Closing loopholes exploited by terrorists in the EU Firearms Directive. After tough negotiations a compromise agreement prepared by Vicky Ford MEP (Eastern England) will close a loophole that allowed “deactivated” firearms to be brought back into use. Such weapons were used in in the Paris terrorist attacks in 2015. At the same time her approach respects the rights of individual legal firearm owners as well as meeting the needs of museums, military re-enactors and the film industry. The new rules are expected to be voted on by the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee later this before being put to all MEPs in the Spring.

* Tackling climate change while protecting industry. Ambitious revisions to the European Union’s flagship Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) are expected to be voted on in parliament next month. The changes are being piloted through parliament by Conservative Energy and Climate Change spokesman Ian Duncan MEP (Scotland) and would reduce industrial greenhouse gas emissions while working with business to avoid so-called “carbon leakage” - the relocation of industries to countries outside the EU with less stringent climate change targets.

* Preventing another emissions scandal like Volkswagen. A new EU vehicle testing system aimed at preventing any repeat of the VW emissions scandal is progressing through Parliament. The report, led by Conservative MEP Daniel Dalton (West Midlands), proposes a rigorous programme of assessment and market surveillance by Member States to be policed by other countries through peer review. The European Commission would oversee the process, checking the performance of national authorities. The proposals will shortly be going to the Internal Market Committee before being voted on by all MEPs.

* Cracking down on the illegal wildlife trade. Emma McClarkin MEP (East Midlands) has produced a report detailing how international trade agreements can be used to tackle the illegal wildlife trade that threatens endangered species around the world. The illegal trade not only damages biodiversity, but also destabilises countries by undermining their development and the rule of law. Miss McClarkin is currently championing her proposals through the International Trade Committee.

* Introducing “long overdue” horse welfare proposals. New guidelines to improve the welfare of horses and donkeys introduced by Julie Girling MEP (South West and Gibraltar) will be taken to the environment committee for a vote later this month. The proposals include improving the conditions of horses being transported throughout the EU for slaughter, standardising the inspection of slaughterhouses and donkey farms and improving information for people on the welfare of horses in the tourism industry.

* Promoting citizenship for the Rohingya people and other stateless people. Amjad Bashir MEP (Yorkshire and the Humber) will guide his report through parliament urging more help for millions of stateless people who often face violence, discrimination and are denied access to work and healthcare. The Rohingya minority in Myanmar are one of the most persecuted people in the world and have been stateless since the Burmese nationality law in 1982 denied them citizenship.


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