Tag Archives: european parliament

Chris Davies MEP reveals how Strasbourg isn’t always good for your health

chris daviesChris Davies reveals one of the unexpected problems of the European Parliament shuttling between Brussels and Strasbourg at great expense: bed bugs. Here’s an excerpt from his latest notes:

I went to the medical centre in the European Parliament in Brussels. “I’ve had these itchy spots on my arms and legs for 6 weeks or so,” I told the doctor. “They started off like insect bites but they won’t go away.” She looked at them and asked if any new spots had appeared since the Parliament was

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George Lyon MEP writes: Lib Dem MEPs will resist secret EU vote

Last week the European Council agreed a new European budget that will, for the first time, see a cut in the amount of money that the EU spends.

Liberal Democrats at Westminster and in the European Parliament have made clear that the EU needs to live within its means. We are in favour of a sensible and realistic deal that reflects the tough economic times that ordinary people are facing. Some MEPs see things differently and oppose the idea of a degree of fiscal restraint in Europe.

People who oppose the cuts in the EU budget that have been put forward are …

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Opinion: Liberal Reform urge MEPs to oppose a secret vote on the EU Budget

European Parliament chamber, StrasbourgIt probably came as a  surprise to most Lib Dems to hear  that it is possible to have a secret vote in the European Parliament at all, let alone when as few as 20% of MEPs call for one. Press reports that some members want a secret vote so they can safely vote against the EU Budget are shocking, because knowing how elected representatives vote is surely the most basic piece of information required to hold them accountable.

If the EU Budget is rejected, after a secret vote, there is not the slightest doubt that it will be seized upon by those in the UK who want us to leave to leave the EU.  Not only should our own MEPs, but also ALDE as a whole, should be opposed to a secret vote in this case, and they should act to change the Parliament’s rules to make secret votes impossible.

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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

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MEPs call for review of funding for European far-right

Last year, for the first time, the far-right Alliance of European National Movements (AENM) organised itself into a pan-European bloc, and has therefore recently been allocated almost £400,000 in public funding from the European Parliament. This group includes the BNP, the Front National in France and Jobbik, a far-right political party in Hungary renowned for its racist and anti-semitic views. Of particular concern is the possibility that public money could now end up being used to incite racial hatred.

Under EU regulations, parties must observe fundamental principles such as liberty, democracy and respect for human rights in order to …

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Chris Davies wades into Ukip foster care row. Why?

chris daviesA couple of months ago you may recall a big row when it was alleged three eastern European children were removed from their foster parents by Rotherham council because the couple were members of Ukip.

Lib Dem MEP Chris Davies certainly recalls it. And on Monday he made a one-minute speech in the European Parliament about it:

Chris Davies (ALDE ). – Mr President, before Christmas there was, rightly, a furore when social workers in Rotherham took away children from foster parents because they belonged to UKIP,

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This week in Europe: 7-10 January

Report on proposed banking reforms is published

The Economic and Monetary Committee has published a report “Banking Union and a Single Banking Supervisory Mechanism“, with some expert opinions from European economists on the European Commission proposals to create a single supervisor for European banks. For those interested in the proposals, their viability and some of the arguments for gradations of supervisions – the 200 largest banks in the Eurozone have approximately 90% of the market in that area – the five opinions will provide a lucid, and brief summary of the key issues, the context in which decisions are being …

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2012 in the European Parliament – the video

Well, given that you (and I) paid for this, it only seems fair that it gets a wider audience. It is in French, but with English subtitles, even where the person on screen is speaking English. Go figure…

Posted in Europe / International and News | 1 Comment

Opinion: My taxpayer funded Euro jaunt was well worth it

I seldom hear much enthusiasm about European politics. It seems particularly difficult to get people excited about the EU and during the Euro list selection campaign, I found that even politically active people were largely uninterested in European issues. It is hardly surprising, then, that the UK turnout in 2009 was less than 35%.

One attempt to tackle this problem comes from the EU in the form of subsidies offered to MEPs who bring visitors from their constituencies to see the European Parliament. I was lucky enough

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Timetable for selecting Euro candidates (England)

European Parliament building

17 September
Deadline for shortlists to be notified to applicants and to the Senior Returning Officer.

17 September – 3 October
Period to resolve any appeals.
Candidates shortlisted in more than two Regions to choose two.

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This week in Europe… 11-14 September

Of course, it’s not just the Commons that is back this week, as the European Parliament has returned from its summer break. And, thanks to the ever helpful Angelika Schneider in the ALDE office, Liberal Democrat Voice is able to keep up to date with the efforts of Liberal Democrat MEPs.

On Wednesday, the European Parliament adopted the first European-wide law on the protection of crime victims, to improve support for them. The new EU law sets minimum standards for all 27 countries, such as free access to medical and specialist …

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Opinion: After the reshuffle: how can we still claim internationalism?

The reshuffle: the talking point of the last few days. I’m sure we all feel a bit angry and flustered after the Tory side was announced – Hunt at health, Miller as equalities. It really could not have been much less liberal. Our side, though, may at first appear entirely less interesting, and far more acceptable. There were some great moves in the reshuffle, sure. Jo Swinson as an Undersecretary of State. David Laws is back. This reshuffle, though, has cut out something essential to the Liberal Democrats: our internationalism. Lib Dems gone from FCO. No Lib Dems in the MOD. One minister, Lynne Featherstone, in DFID. And Lynne’s briefing (at the time of writing) has still not been an announced. This reshuffle represents an almost complete retreat from international affairs.

Internationalism is one of the things the Lib Dems pride ourselves on: our attitude to the European Union is really quite distinctive amongst mainstream politics, we work closely with our sister parties, and our opposition to the Iraq war was certainly amongst the most vocal. Foreign Affairs is not a fairly ‘non-partisan’ area, as I had it put to me. There are huge divergences in Liberal Democrat and Conservative policy here, and now we have absolutely no one fighting our corner, it seems. Even Lynne in DFID isn’t really going to have much of a say: when behind-closed-door discussion takes place on the European Union, the Eurozone crisis, our involvement in NATO, renewal of Trident, and our relationship with the US, particularly with the upcoming Presidential elections, and other big issues at the moment, DFID are hardly the most involved.

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European Parliament selections: time is running out to get your application in

The Senior Returning Officer, Jonathan Davies, has asked us here at Liberal Democrat Voice Towers to pass on a message on behalf of Chairs of Shortlisting Committees in Scotland and the English Regions.

And I paraphrase just a bit…

If you want to be a contender, don’t forget that the deadline for applications is 6 p.m. on Friday 27 July

So don’t…

* Mark Valladares is Chair of the Shortlisting Committee for the East of England, and can assure you that he and his colleagues are gentle people who really like applicants, really we do…

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Opinion: How my life changed forever – 100 days in!

At the start of this year I was a Lib Dem from Yorkshire working and studying in London who according to some journalists was an “unknown” – although I was quite well known in certain Lib Dem circles, especially for my quiches! The resignation of Diana Wallis, as Lib Dem MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber changed all that.

In 2009 I was third on the Lib Dem list for Yorkshire and the Humber. When you are third on a regional list and the …

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European Parliament overwhelmingly rejects ACTA

The culmination of weeks of campaigning and lobbying against the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) came this morning, as the European Parliament voted 478 to 39 to reject it, despite the fact that twenty-two member states, including the United Kingdom, had already signed it. As a result, the Agreement is now likely to become irrelevant without the support of European Union nations.

The Agreement had already been rejected by five Committees of the European Parliament, and despite attempts by Conservative MEPs to defer the vote, as urged by UNI MEI, a “global union for the Media, Entertainment and Art Industries”, …

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Do you want to be a candidate in the UK’s next national elections?

The selection process for our candidates for the 2014 European Parliamentary elections is now starting. The formal advert will be published next month, and the closing date for applications is likely to be 20 July.

All applicants must be approved European candidates by the date of the close of applications.

Anyone interested in being a candidate should apply for approval as soon as possible – you can get the necessary application pack from the Candidates’ Office at Party HQ: email [email protected] Candidates who have been approved for Westminster elections but not for European elections need to undertake a brief Euro assessment/conversion …

Posted in Europe / International and Selection news | 2 Comments

This week in Europe: 21-24 May

Yes, we’re back in Strasbourg, apparently, for another week of drama and excitement. Alright, perhaps I exaggerate a bit… and apologise for being a little behind.

Yesterday saw the first debate on the new EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, which will include a provision for visa-free travel to Canada for all EU citizens, something the Americans could perhaps learn from, as well as a series of short debates on, amongst other things, the EU’s internal security strategy and strengthening the rights of vulnerable consumers.

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Catherine Bearder MEP writes… Lib Dem MEPs kill ACTA

After careful consideration, Lib Dem MEPs have decided to reject the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) in the European Parliament. There is now a majority in the Parliament that will reject the ratification of this plurilateral treaty originally designed to establish international standards for intellectual property rights.

So why do we reject ACTA?

In principle, Lib Dems support the protection of intellectual property rights (IPR) and the fight against counterfeiting – in particular when it comes to dangerous counterfeit medicines, electronics and toys. But we are also champions of fundamental rights and freedoms and we must weigh up carefully between the need to …

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European Parliament votes through new agreement on transfer of air passenger data to US authorities

On Thursday, the Parliament voted on a new agreement on the transfer of EU air passengers’ personal data to the US authorities. The deal sets legal conditions and covers issues such as storage periods, use, data protection safeguards and administrative and judicial redress, and replaces a provisional deal in place since 2007.

The EU-US Passenger Name Record (PNR) agreement was adopted with 409 votes in favour, 226 against and 33 abstentions, with two-thirds of the ALDE MEPs taking part voting against due to concerns over data protection safeguards, including rapporteur Sophie in’T Veld (D’66, Netherlands, ALDE), who withdrew her name …

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Postcard from Strasbourg

Compared to rainy London and Paris, spring has definitely arrived in Strasbourg. Aside from the occasional fleeting band of clouds, the skies are bright blue and the temperature wonderfully mild.

Strasbourg is a city of wide streets and avenues and buildings which can be either distinctly German or distinctly French in their architecture – a legacy of two thousand years on the border between France and Germany.

This legacy, in many ways, defines the city. Most Strasbourgeoise, especially the younger generation, speak French, but most of the older generation still speak the Alsatian dialect of German. The region might be famed for …

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Coming up in Brussels: 17-20 April

Welcome to another experiment. Due to a late substitution amongst the LDV Editorial team, combined with a lack of material (you’re all out campaigning, as you should be, I presume), welcome to our first attempt to preview forthcoming events in the European Parliament. Let us know what you think or, if you fancy doing it yourself, get in touch.

Well, I say Brussels, but this week sees the European Parliamentary roadshow hit Strasbourg to waste a chunk of money to placate the French for April’s plenary session. So, …

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Choosing the best team for Europe

The Party in England will select our candidates for the next European Parliamentary elections later this year. Although the elections are not until 2014, having candidates in place eighteen months before the elections will allow them to play a leading role in the formulation of the campaign strategy, as well as starting to campaign across the Euro Regions.

As with all selections, our candidates are chosen in a ballot of all Party members. This ballot also determines the order in which candidates appear on the list. For the Euro elections, there will be a postal ballot which is likely to take place in November. Before the ballot, all members will have the opportunity to meet the candidates at a series of hustings, most of which will probably take place at the autumn regional conferences. The candidates will also be using their best campaigning endeavours to contact members.

Posted in Europe / International, News and Selection news | 1 Comment

Liblink: Andrew Duff MEP “Why do MEPs fear electoral reform?”

Andrew Duff, Liberal Democrat MEP for the East of England has written for EU Observer about his attempts to change the electoral system for MEPs. He wants to see 25 MEPs elected on a pan European basis, a proposal he believes will improve the legitimacy of the Parliament:

Now the Union is moving to greater fiscal discipline and the probable installation of a more federal type of economic government which will have to be made directly accountable to Parliament. But do we sincerely believe that the European Parliament has attracted the desirable levels of loyalty and identification of the EU citizens

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Liberal Democrat MEP McMillan-Scott gets European Parliament Human Rights portfolio

Liberal Democrat MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber, Edward McMillan-Scott, re-elected as one of the European Parliament’s 14 Vice Presidents last month, has again been allocated the portfolio for Democracy and Human Rights.  He has also been given a new responsibility, for Transatlantic Relations. He was put forward by the Liberal Group (ALDE) and is only British MEP on the Parliament’s Bureau which is responsible for its management, organisation and finances.

He has a long record in campaigning for human rights and democracy support. He was the first outside politician to get to Cairo after the fall of Mubarak and has …

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Another step towards ending the waste of two European Parliament locations

Whether it’s the cost, the environmental impact or the disruption to operating the organisation, the continuation of two locations for the European Parliament has few friends. The friends it does have, who think it’s a sensible way of spending time and money to shuttle one institution back and forth between Brussels and Strasbourg, are very tenacious though. Yet as a result the obvious waste of these arrangements continues to overshadow the steps the European Parliament does take to cut waste elsewhere.

As a result, progress has been slow, but another step has been taken as London Lib Dem MEP Sarah Ludford has reported:

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Chris Davies MEP writes… Wallis succession: It just doesn’t sound right

This is a shortened version of a blog post on Chris Davies’ blog. The full version can be read here and contains complimentary comments about Diana Wallis’ parliamentary career.

The resignation of Diana Wallis, MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber, came as a complete shock to her colleagues, and not least to the MEPs from across the political spectrum, including myself, who were with her 10 days ago when she handed in her nomination paper to stand for the presidency of the European Parliament.

On Tuesday morning Diana Wallis was campaigning to lead the Parliament, to …

Posted in Op-eds | 11 Comments

Opinion: MEP Diana Wallis resigns – but the European Parliament’s great ‘stitch-up’ continues

Liberal Democrat MEP Diana Wallis caused an outcry when she resigned yesterday after coming third in the European Parliament (EP) presidential election, especially as her husband Stewart Arnold is likely to take over her seat. Yet underneath this public relations nightmare, which seems more of an unfortunate coincidence than anything else, there lies a deeper and far more worrying story of political corruption. Diana Wallis’ decision to run as a candidate for the election surprised many observers not because they thought she was unlikely to win, but rather because they knew she wouldn’t. The results had already been decided two and a …

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European Parliament – another day, more elections…

Following on from the election of Martin Schulz to the Presidency of the European Parliament earlier this week, European Parliamentarians have been electing fourteen Vice–Presidents and five Quaestors.

Incumbent Vice-President, Edward McMillan-Scott (Liberal Democrat, Yorkshire and the Humber), having been elected last time as a member of the European People’s Party when the Conservatives were still members, was successfully re-elected as a member of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats, meaning that the Liberal Democrats are directly represented on the Bureau, which is the administrative decision-making body in parliament dealing with issues such as buildings and MEPs’ expenses.

The full list

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How should Diana Wallis be replaced?

A question for Liberal Democrat members to mull… Under the law used for regional list elections, the decision over who should take over following Diana Wallis’s resignation as an MEP is up to the party (technically, the party’s Nominating Officer).

The general assumption in the past has been that if a list member stands down, it is whoever would have got their place on the list that takes over. That is the process followed in the past, such as in deciding Liz Lynne’s replacement as an MEP on her retirement or Lynne Featherstone’s replacement as a GLA member on her election …

Posted in Party policy and internal matters | Also tagged and | 54 Comments

LibDem MEP retains influential European economic role

Darren Ennis on MHP reports good news for the UK from the European Parliament:

British Liberal Democrat Sharon Bowles is expected to keep her role as chair of the European Parliament’s influential economic and monetary affairs committee, MHP Sources Say.

Despite winning cross-party praise for her increasingly high profile role during the economic downturn, Bowles risked losing the coveted position following British Prime Minister David Cameron’s EU veto and the decision by her UK Liberal Democrat colleague Diana Wallis to stand in this week’s election of a new President of the European Parliament.

Wallis infuriated Liberal leader Guy Verhofstadt by standing as an independent, putting at risk a political pact he had negotiated with the Parliament’s two largest groups – the centre-right EPP and the Socialists – designed to keep Bowles as head of the Parliament’s most important committee.

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