Author Archives: Fiona Hall MEP

The EU is cutting red tape – a victory for the Lib Dems

EU Flag and ScissorsOn Wednesday the European Commission unveiled a major set of proposals that will significantly cut unnecessary red tape, especially for small businesses, following a sweeping review of all EU legislation. Perhaps the most eye-catching of these was the decision to withdraw proposed health and safety rules that would have banned hairdressers from wearing jewellery and high heels at work. Unsurprisingly, this did not garner anywhere near as much coverage in the tabloid press as when it was first proposed.

Far more important though are the concerted efforts to simplify or repeal overly burdensome and unnecessary EU rules across the board. Commission President Barroso’s recent assertion that the EU needs to be “big on the big things and smaller on the small things” was more than just empty words. As we near the European elections, the Commission is beginning to wake up to the growing tide of euroscepticism and the widely held belief that EU regulation is overly meddlesome.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 13 Comments

Fiona Hall MEP writes… Cameron is putting British interests at risk

In his speech on Europe yesterday, David Cameron spoke not as Prime Minister but as a Tory party leader backed into a corner by his outspoken tea-party backbenchers. It was never going to be possible to appease his own right-wing and at the same time reassure his European partners. By promising an in-out referendum following an anticipated but far from certain renegotiated EU treaty by 2017, he has chosen to prioritise party political interests.

As a result, the UK will lose further influence in Europe as other Member States anticipate a “Brexit” and discount the UK’s views altogether. Even worse, he …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 3 Comments

Fiona Hall MEP writes … Paying the world’s poorest people for their precious resources

The battle to ensure that companies publish what they pay for developing countries’ natural resources has finally reached the home straight.

The EU Accounting and Transparency Directives are in the ‘trialogue’ stage, a negotiation between the EU Parliament, Commission and Council to decide upon the final form that the legislation will take.  Liberal Democrats have been involved in this process from the beginning  – I wrote the report for the European
Parliament’s Development Committee  and am now joined by Jo Swinson, as she continues to maintain the UK Government’s strong leadership stance in ensuring that the final legislation includes the necessary measures to combat corruption.

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Fiona Hall writes: EU exit would jeopardise Britain’s global trade

For years Europhobes have been propagating the misconception that Britain has to choose between the EU and the rest of the world.

 However, this ‘choice’ between the EU and the rest of the world is a false choice. Indeed, being part of the EU is the best way to increase Britain’s trade with emerging markets.  As Nick Clegg pointed out in his speech on Europe last week, the EU has free trade agreements in force with 46 countries and negotiations with another 78 countries are currently under way. In addition, the European Parliament last week lent its weight to launching new negotiations with the USA and Japan.

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Tagged , and | 25 Comments

Fiona Hall MEP writes: Energy Bill must have clear decarbonisation targets

The long-awaited Energy Bill will be published at the beginning of November and will give Ed Davey a unique opportunity to prove that Lib Dems are the greenest of the main political parties. But in the innermost circles of the Coalition Government a battle royal is currently being played out over crucial details of the text.

This bill will establish the Electricity Market Reform (EMR) that will shape UK energy policy for decades to come. It therefore offers a once-in-a-generation opportunity to set the parameters for tackling climate change, the greatest challenge of the twenty-first

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Fiona Hall MEP writes: Behind the scenes – negotiating the EU Energy Efficiency Directive

While the UK Draft Energy Bill is creating headlines in the UK as it makes its way through Parliament, the EU agreed on what is regarded as the biggest ever piece of legislation in the field of energy efficiency earlier in the summer. The adoption of the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) was preceded by a whole year of tough political scrutiny and weeks of negotiations between the European Parliament and Member State ministers in the Council, led by the Danish Presidency. Both Chris Huhne and later Ed Davey were heavily involved in these negotiations for the UK, which was one …

Posted in News | Tagged and | 3 Comments

Fiona Hall MEP writes: Subsidies for nuclear energy go against Coalition agreement AND economic common sense

With the Government due to announce new measures to encourage investment in low carbon power generation as part of its Electricity Market Reform (EMR), it is time for Liberal Democrats to speak out against public subsidies for nuclear energy. Why? Because among the Government’s proposals is the so-called Feed-in Tariff with Contract for Difference (FiT CfD) which will offer a price guarantee and revenue certainty for investors in low-carbon electricity generation  – including nuclear.  Such a public subsidy to help build new nuclear power stations in the UK would go completely against the Coalition Government Agreement and prolong “the most expensive failure of post-war British policy-making” as

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 17 Comments
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