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.

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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 …

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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.

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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 …

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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

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Fiona Hall MEP writes… Join the Lib Dems’ campaign to boost small businesses across Europe

On Thursday and Friday this week, heads of governments from all EU Member States – including David Cameron – will come to Brussels for the Spring European Council which is dedicated to promoting competitiveness and economic growth.

Liberals & Democrats in the European Parliament (ALDE) are stepping up to the challenge by turning the usual Council rhetoric on the ‘need to stimulate economic growth’ into a concrete plan of action and measures that will help small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) create and safeguard local jobs. With SMEs making up to 99% of all businesses in the EU, providing two-thirds …

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D-Day -1: Confusion in Copenhagen

This is the third article for LDV by Fiona Hall, Lib Dem leader of the European Liberal Democrats, giving her account of the Copenhagen climate change summit. You can read Part I here, and Part II here.

What a mess.

After yesterday afternoon’s impasse on an international agreement, President Obama took matters into his own hands, struck a deal with China, India, Brazil and South Africa – and promptly left the country. It’s leadership of a sort – but, sadly, in the wrong direction.

The rest of the world has been offered a watered-down Accord which – as it …

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D-Day in Copenhagen … Part II: More news – and it’s not good

To read Part I, please click here.

Spirits are rather low here this evening.

America and China produce over 50% of the world’s carbon emissions: any deal here tonight will require them to play ball. Unfortunately, there appears to be stalemate.

Fiona Hall MEP and George Lyon MEP at the Copenhagen Climate ConferencePrior to today the Americans had shown us a bit of ankle, suggesting that they might come forward with an offer of more money and concrete commitments. Unfortunately that looks like it was all a bit of a tease. President Obama instead used his speech simply to assert that the US is ready to do a deal if China and others are prepared to be transparent.

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D-Day in Copenhagen: Fiona Hall MEP’s update from Denmark

Well, it took a little longer than expected to get here. Being of a green disposition I opted for the overnight train from Strasbourg to Copenhagen, but heavy snow meant that it was more of a overnight-and-through-the-day train. Never mind – I’m here now, and we’ll soon know if the trip was worth the effort.

Today is – at least officially – the final day of COP 15. This evening we are due to find out whether the world’s leaders are prepared to go the extra mile and put in place the measures needed to keep global warming …

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarRichard Dean 24th Apr - 6:41pm
    My first impression was of some kind of immigration plan, possibly bordering on the German one in the 1930's and early 1940's or the Powellite...
  • User AvatarCaracatus 24th Apr - 6:35pm
    Thank you Jeremy - it is very refreshing to have a MP actually come back and respond to comments on an article they have written....
  • User AvatarAmalric 24th Apr - 6:35pm
    This is an interesting idea but I hadn’t really thought of the Liberal government of 1906-1915 as one working under the banner of national efficiency...
  • User AvatarRichard Dean 24th Apr - 6:33pm
    I would have thought that "efficiency" cannot possibly be acceptable as a primary LibDem goal. Nor even a secondary one. It's just too reminiscent of...
  • User AvatarDavid Allen 24th Apr - 6:29pm
    “I haven’t read the book but…” I'll plead guilty in advance to entering the debate on that basis. What I have read is the title....
  • User AvatarWill Mann 24th Apr - 6:27pm
    @Sal Brinton I appreciate there are some high-minded principles involved - but to the outside world, and particularly the women in the outside world, the...