This week in Europe: 4-7 February

MEPs vote against discards and for sustainable fisheries across Europe

On Wednesday, MEPs voted for an ambitious reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) by 502 to 137 votes.

Chris Davies, who founded the cross-party MEP campaign group Fish For the Future, commented after the historic vote:

Today’s overwhelming support for EU fisheries reform from MEPs across all parties and nationalities puts us in a very strong negotiation position with Member States in the Council of Ministers. The Irish Presidency has made clear it wants to complete the reform by June.

People across Europe have said that we must stop overfishing, rebuild our fish stocks, and put an end to the waste of millions of tonnes of fish that are thrown back into the sea, dead, each year.

We have insisted that more of the day to day decisions about fisheries management should be taken locally, by fishermen in partnership with scientists.

Today’s vote deals a blow to those who say the EU is incapable of reform. This was the first time that MEPs have had the legal powers to make a difference, and they have shown that they are up to the task.

Europol value shown by smashing of match-fixing

Commenting on Monday’s announcement by Europol regarding match-fixing in 380 top international FIFA and UEFA football games, including one Champions League tie in England, Sarah Ludford said:

Once again the value of European police cooperation led by Europol has been demonstrated. These shocking revelations of the grip of organised mafia crime syndicates would not have emerged if police just sat in their national boxes.

This shows yet again the folly of Tory plans to ‘repatriate’ European competence for coordinating action on serious crime. Europol, led by a British director, is helping catch terrorists, paedophiles and human traffickers, and now match crooks. David Cameron’s rejection of such cooperation puts our safety – and the integrity of our football – at risk.

Lib Dems call for substantial reform of European Parliament’s budget

On Wednesday, the European Parliament voted on the guiding principles for its 2014 administrative budget.

Commenting after the votes, George Lyon, Vice-President of the Budget Committee, said:

When budgets are tight all across the EU, the European Parliament needs to set out realistic plans for future budgets and seize opportunities to find long-term savings.

Already this year we have made cuts to Members’ travel allowances and have made significant savings in our buildings policy; but more can be done. We need to use the 2014 budget to look at whole-hearted structural reform to find further efficiencies in areas such as translation, interpretation, transport and catering and also to improve the efficiency and quality of MEPs’ work.

Of course the biggest immediate saving would be to end the wasteful travelling circus to Strasbourg once a month, which could bring savings of around 180 million Euros a year, and Liberal Democrats will continue to lead this fight.

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One Comment

  • >This was the first time that MEPs have had the legal powers to make a difference, and they have shown that they are up to the task.

    More should probably been made of this milestone in the development of the EP.

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