Tag Archives: eu

Edward McMillan-Scott MEP writes…Brussels Conference on Food and Climate Change

VärtaverketTHERE is justified concern over the growing reliance on food banks in the UK and across the European Union. We should consider it as a symptom of a broken food system which requires a complete overhaul. We need a sustainable food policy across the EU, where often prosperous farmers will get €350bn over the next seven years, while the most deprived get a meagre €3.5bn.

On March 30, a further report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warns that the impacts of global warming are likely to be “severe, pervasive and irreversible”.

photo by: arvidr
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The three things Nick Clegg would change about the EU

Nick Clegg York Q&A Some rights reserved by Liberal Democrats13 hours after leaving the debate stage last Wednesday night, Nick Clegg was back on his regular Call Clegg radio show. The show had been nominated twice in the Radio Academy Awards to be presented next month.

The first caller, Caron from West Lothian, (who might she be, I wonder?) made the point that she was highly amused by David Cameron trying to pretend that he was the voice of reason on Europe when his plan was to sell all our employment rights down the river and then give us a referendum.  Her question to him was that although he’s a powerful advocate of the EU, he acknowledges that it’s not perfect,

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Opinion: Nick v Nigel – Cheer up Liberal Democrats (and other pro-Europeans)

Farage cleggSome Liberal Democrats, and other pro-Europeans, seem to be rather down about the outcome of the Nick v Nigel debate. Certainly it is depressing to see your fellow citizens support a man who professes admiration for Vladimir Putin. But Nick Clegg really was up against first-class populism on Wednesday night. Farage dropped every conceivable fear or concern about the modern world at the door of the European Union. Would you like an end to war, waste, politicians, people speaking foreign on the train and every problem the outside world bothers …

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Opinion: Lib Dems help end roaming charges, UKIP back higher phone bills

Screen Shot 2014-04-04 at 18.00.12Another week, another success for Lib Dems in the European Parliament. This week it was hammering the final nails into the coffin of mobile roaming charges in Europe. From the end of next year, the extra fees for using your mobile phone in another EU country – already reduced significantly in recent years – will be scrapped entirely.

It’s another practical, common sense measure which means good news for consumers – despite resistance from the telecoms sector.

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Nick v Nigel: What the commentators say – and don’t say

Farage cleggWell, there’s a surprise. After last week’s largely positive stories, the headlines aren’t so good this week. It’s interesting to see that those who called for Nick to be more passionate and to go less on the detail weren’t satisfied when he did just that. I wonder if last week’s coverage prompted too much of a strategic rethink to an approach that was working fine. In my opinion, the only thing that needed changing from the LBC debate was a stronger answer on the referendum question, especially as it …

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Opinion: The reason an EU Referendum is a bad idea is one that no politician dare utter

European Union flagWe are constantly told that we “need” a referendum on Britain’s continued membership of the European Union. Here’s the thing: we don’t. We don’t actually need a referendum on anything just now. Referenda are, in general, actually a bad idea.

They are vital every once in a while: the vote happening in Scotland on September 18th of this year is a good example. The government of Scotland is made up of nationalists who want to make Scotland an independent country. To legislate directly for this would be unthinkable, so …

photo by: YanniKouts
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Opinion: Young people benefit from the EU. We need to persuade them to vote for the party of IN

Youth on the Move in Volos 20Each one of us who was glued to a screen or radio for the Nick vs Nigel EU debate last Wednesday will have our own opinion of who lost and who won as facts, rhetorical points and the affection of the audience were fought over. But I’ll tell you whose affection wasn’t fought over – that of Britain’s young people. And I, along with friends in and outside the party, was disappointed.

The lives of young people in this country – your children, your activists, you …

photo by: EU Social
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Tim Farron MP writes…Tales from the Spin Room

Clegg Speech 40Last night I was in the spin room doing my job as President, walking around and saying Nick had won.  It wasn’t hard to appear convincing, because he was brilliant. It was certainly easier than when I have to speak to the media after some by-elections!

I thought Nick won last night on both style and substance. Though of course as a Lib Dem, I would say that.  As a party we like facts and evidence. Watching last night, those things were very light on the UKIP side of the …

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Awards for Liberal Democrat MEPs Chris Davies and Andrew Duff

EU Parliament Brussels - Some rights reserved by PoetografieGood news from Brussels. Two Liberal Democrat MEPs have won awards in the MEP Awards 2014.

First up was Chris Davies for his work to secure sustainable fishing through Fish for the Future.

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Opinion: From a friend with love – Let’s have an honest debate on the EU and UK

When Alexander Stubb, Finland minister of European Affairs and Foreign Trade, was going to give a talk about the debate on the UK membership of the EU entitled ‘The UK and the EU: sovereign illusions in an age of interdependence‘ at the London School of Economics, you knew it was going to be interesting, for two reasons. First, through his wealth of experience in the European Parliament as MEP in 2004 and in the European civil service, Mr Stubb knows the EU modus operandi like few do. Second, it is sometimes good to have the perspective of a foreigner – …

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George Lyon MEP writes…Brave mountain rescue teams should not have to pay VAT on essential, lifesaving kit

We were navigating in near zero visibility in a white-out.

As I was navigating I put my foot out and onto nothing, and fell down about 800ft of sheer cliff.

You figure you have had it.

These are the words of 25 year old Scot Ollie Daniel, who plunged through snow while walking in the Cairngorms in January this year.

In Scotland we are lucky to have some of the most dramatic mountain scenery in the world. Walkers and climbers are a common sight in the Highlands and Islands all year round. But we know that these activities are not without risk.

Ollie was rescued …

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#NickvNigel – We have a date

nick clegg v nigel farageIt’s just been announced – the date we’ve been waiting for, when Nick Clegg will face Nigel Farage to debate whether Britain should be in or out of the EU.

Nick challenged Nigel two weeks ago on his Call Clegg radio show on LBC.

The debate will actually be televised, on BBC2 and will take place on Wednesday 2 April at 7pm.

Julian Huppert has just been on the BBC News Channel saying that he thinks that Nick will do really well, making the positive case for the European Union. On the two largest parties in British politics, he said:

I’m not surprised the other two parties have refused to take part. David Cameron’s party is completely split and Labour don’t quite know where they are on this. We are the only party who wants to be IN Europe, IN work.

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LibLink: Edward McMillan-Scott MEP: Cameron’s EU policy plays into Putin’s hands

Edward McMillan Scott, Vice President of the European Parliament with responsibility for human rights and democracy has been writing about how David Cameron’s European policy has enabled Russia’s President Putin to develop his strategy for a Eurasian Union based on illiberal and anti-democratic values.

He opens by outlining the problems faced by Angela Merkel with the rise of the eurosceptic right wing AFD:

Events in Ukraine may still overshadow Thursday’s trip to London by Angela Merkel, during which David Cameron will seek her support for EU reform.  She will not be pleased that Cameron has allowed his Eurosceptics to continue talks with

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Opinion: Nick, Nigel and the Hokey Cokey party

In common with many Lib Dem activists I have ambivalent feeling about Nick Clegg. I don’t feel that there is a strong case to either say that that no good had come from the coalition or from his leadership, or alternatively that it’s all been peachy. In my view it’s actually a case of what you think the balance has been between successes and disappointments, a debate where I sit roughly in the middle.

However Nick’s latest move – challenging Nigel Farage to a public debate on Europe – has my unbridled admiration, both morally and politically. Morally not only because …

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Andrew Rawnsley: “The real reasons why Nick threw down the gauntlet to Nigel”

Andrew Rawnsley has made some interesting comments in today’s Observer on Nick Clegg’s debate challenge to Nigel Farage.

He makes the obligatory point that the party’s poor position in the polls and concern over the consequences of a bad result for Clegg’s leadership  but makes the point that it only takes a relatively small shift to protect the position of Liberal Democrat MEPs.

Senior Lib Dems privately confide that their goal is quite modest: to lift their vote share by three to four points above their current poll ratings. When you are bumping along at low levels of support, just a

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Nick Clegg “vows to veto any Tory Eurosceptic as EU Commissioner”

nick clegg euFrom the Independent:

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg will veto any attempt by the Conservatives to appoint a Eurosceptic candidate to become Britain’s next EU Commissioner, The Independent has learnt.

As Prime Minister, David Cameron has to nominate a successor to replace Baroness Ashton, who will step down as Britain’s representative on the European Commission later this year.

But the Liberal Democrat leader has made it clear that many of the candidates favoured by the right wing of the Conservative Party who want to see “one of their own” in Brussels would be unacceptable to him and he would veto them.

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Nick Clegg challenges Nigel Farage to debate on EU membership

Nick Clegg LBC laughingOn his weekly Call Clegg phone in programme, Nick Clegg challenged Nigel Farage to a public, open debate on whether Britain should stay in the EU. He said it was time for the leaders of the two parties advocating out and in to discuss the issues. He was clear that membership of the EU protected 3 million British jobs, kept us safer and enabled us to protect the environment.

I’ll tell you what I’ll do. I will challenge Nigel Farage to a public, open debate about whether we should

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Graham Watson MEP writes: The time has come for the EU to take decisive action over Ukraine

The past twenty four hours has seen the situation in Ukraine escalate from serious to critical. We are only now seeing the true extent of the clashes between police and anti-government protestors, with the number of fatalities standing at 26 but set to rise as the violence continues. What is clear is that last night’s attack on protestors by the police was at the direct order of the Ukrainian government. While the government claimed it was simply aiming to restore law and order, the underlying motive was for President Yanukovych to reassert his legitimacy. As far as I am concerned, …

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Opinion: Britain should offer more support to pro-democracy protesters in Ukraine

Liberals have common cause with pro-democracy protestors in Ukraine

While UKIP and the Tory Right want to take Britain out of Europe other nations are clamouring to join the EU, not least in the Ukraine where pro-EU protests have been taking place for several months now. They want to be ‘in’ for the same reason as the Liberal Democrats, to boost jobs and investment. Europe is not a threat to national sovereignty but a guarantor of democratic and economic stability across the continent.

 As Ukraine protesters are seeking to free their country from Kremlin interference so too the collective influence of European nations

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LibLink: Edward McMillan-Scott MEP: Tories are playing into Putin’s hands in high stakes game

Edward McMillan ScottYorkshire and the Humber MEP Edward McMillan-Scott has a longstanding interest in human rights. He’s travelled all over the world to make the case to governments who don’t respect their citizens’ freedoms. He’s understandably not wildly chuffed about the Winter Olympics taking place in Sochi and how this might fuel Putin’s ambitions. He explained why in the Yorkshire Post.

Putin has international ambitions for Russia: this is the new Great Game, the 19th century strategic rivalry and conflict between the British Empire and the Russian Empire for supremacy in Eurasia.

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LibLink: Nick Clegg: Only the Liberal Democrats are prepared to stand up for Britain’s place in Europe.

Nick Clegg has been writing over at the Independent to mark 100 days before the European elections.

He has a simple and clear message – you can only trust the Liberal Democrats to stand up for Britain’s interests, and therefore safeguard jobs, in Europe. He says that the Euros don’t usually “set the heart racing”, but this time, there’s a lot to lose:

Ukip has been coming up on the rails in British politics for years and it sees this May as its breakthrough moment. Mainstream politicians have made the mistake in the past of not taking UKIP, or the people who

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Martin Horwood MP writes: Liberal Democrats must be the voice of small business in Europe

It’s common knowledge that small businesses are the dynamic engines behind economic recoveries – light-footed, innovative and quick to seize the opportunities of growth.  I met just such a business in my own Cheltenham constituency recently, exporting highly specialised cleaning products to the world. Today in Brussels the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) launches its manifesto for the European elections and it is full of great ideas for making the European Union more competitive, accountable and efficient – all priorities for Liberal Democrat Members of the next European Parliament.

Our MEPs and ministers have already achieved some notable …

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Meet Malcolm Bruce: Part 2: International Development and those Euro elections

malcolm-bruce-2After his surprise election as Deputy Leader last week, I caught up with Malcolm Bruce, someone who is well known to us in Scotland but not so much to the rest of the party. The first part of the interview, where talks about Liberal Democrat achievements in government, what he can bring to the Deputy Leader role and on Scottish independence, was published last week.

Malcolm has been Chair of the Commons Select Committee on International Development since 2005. After years of economic portfolios, including Trade and Industry, the Treasury itself …

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What your Tory and UKIP MEPs do for you (1): press for more expensive phone charges

Liberal Democrat MEPs have spent years at the forefront of plans to cut the cost of using your mobile phone while travelling in the EU.

There is a crucial vote coming up on 27 February where a plan to abolish fees for incoming calls this year and data roaming fees by 2016 is being discussed. This isn’t quite fast enough for Liberal Democrat MEPs who have put down an amendment bringing it forward to the start of the Summer holidays in 2015:

With effect from 1 July 2015, roaming providers shall not levy any surcharge in comparison to the charges for mobile

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Sneak Preview of new Party Political Broadcast: Scottish version #whyIamin

And here’s the Scottish version of the new broadcast, with a section featuring Willie Rennie arguing that Scotland needs to stay in the UK and the UK needs to stay in the EU.

He said in an email to members:

The European elections might be just round the corner but the Conservatives are flirting with exit from the EU. Labour won’t lift a finger to keep us in Europe and the SNP’s independence plans gamble with our EU membership and threaten jobs at home.

The message we are sending to Scots in this broadcast is clear. Only one party is protecting jobs by working to keep Scotland in Britain – and Britain in Europe. That party is the Liberal Democrats.

To secure the economic recovery and get more Scots into work we need strong Liberal Democrat voices at Holyrood, Westminster and in Brussels.

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Sneak Preview of new Party Political Broadcast: #whyIamIn

Tonight, the new Party Political Broadcast will be shown. It has, funnily enough, a very heavy pro EU message, showing the practical reasons we need to be in the EU. We have a sneak preview below.

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Why has Nick Clegg backed plan to deprive terror suspects of citizenship?

A last-minute government amendment to the Immigration Bill which would give the Home Secretary the power to deprive terror suspects of British citizenship even if it would make them stateless has made all the headlines. Well, the cynic in me suggests that it neatly deflects attention from the abject failure of David Cameron to keep his right-wing backbenchers under control. So far he hasn’t been able to stop Dominic Raab and Nigel Mills from tabling amendments which, if passed, would render the Bill illegal as far as the European Convention on Human Rights is concerned. He is unlikely to …

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Sarah Ludford MEP writes…Being “In” Europe crucial for jobs and living standards

When the Liberal Democrats say we’re the party of ‘In’, it’s not because we worship symbolically at the altar of EU institutions. It’s because being In Europe is vital to achieve real policy goals, of which the most immediately important is jobs in Britain. This is the clear message coming from major employers, like FordNissanSiemens and BAE Systems, which have all warned against pulling Britain out of Europe.

According to a recent YouGov poll 6% of British companies said they would go out of business if we left the EU. This translates into almost 10,000 firms closing and 300,000 people being out …

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The Independent View: Vince Cable should make sure all companies are bound by new transparency law

Consider this question – what is the difference between a T-shirt from Tesco and one from TopShop? Lib Dems will undoubtedly have their own style preferences.

But for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) Minister Vince Cable there’s an important distinction. Cable is seeking to weaken proposed EU rules that would require companies to report annually on risks their operations pose to communities and the natural world, such as accidents, pollution and human rights. The new non-financial reporting directive could be a game-changer on a path towards more sustainable production.

It should ensure that a firm like Tesco, as a large …

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Edward Davey MP writes…Lib Dem led British diplomacy paves way for global climate change deal

Liberal Democrats in Government are having a huge impact on tackling climate change, and today you’ve seen concrete evidence of how we’re winning the debate – not just in the UK, but across the EU and potentially beyond.

The main prize is huge – we’re working towards a global climate change deal that will be discussed at the critical 2015 talks.  But how do we get there?

Firstly, I got cross-Government agreement on an ambitious UK position. We have pushed for a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions across the EU by 2030. We want this increased to 50% if the rest …

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarRichard Dean 16th Apr - 3:03am
    Agreed, David-1, that's a good reason to have good training, as well as scrutiny and updates. In the young girl incident, the do nothing option...
  • User AvatarDavid-1 16th Apr - 2:56am
    It surely cannot be liberal to require the police to put the public at unnecessary risk.
  • User AvatarFrank Booth 16th Apr - 1:39am
    Nelson Mandela on Nick Clegg 'The deputy Prime Minister should be applauded by all liberal voters.' Well if Nelson Mandela thinks Clegg is an admirable...
  • User AvatarEd Wilson 16th Apr - 1:28am
    Helen Tedcastle "one can be an atheist as well as being Jewish" plus the fact that you can technically join the Jewish "ethnic" group by...
  • User AvatarMatthew Huntbach 16th Apr - 1:21am
    Eddie Sammon I agree with the article, especially this paragraph: “To be liberal-minded is to be outward-looking. It is to be considerate of others’ viewpoints....
  • User AvatarAmalric 16th Apr - 1:18am
    @ Stephen Howse “Anthony Wedgwood Benn, meanwhile, was a bona fide aristocrat”. His grandfather, was made a baronet in 1914; was born in Manchester to...