Liberal Democrat MEP Sarah Ludford, ALDE group shadow rapporteur on the update of EU data protection law, is demanding that an ‘anti-FISA’ clause be reintroduced in the text of the proposed new Regulation.
She wants to ensure that EU customers are shielded from US National Security Agency data-mining authorised by the Patriot Act and the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court, such as the recently revealed ‘PRISM’ programme. Sarah Ludford said:
“MEPs including me have been pushing the European Commission for years about how the EU can safeguard Europeans against these intrusive powers, but we have been given the brush-off.” Continue reading “Ludford: Europeans must be protected from Prism snooping” »
A revised proposal for the Electro-Magnetic Fields Directive adopted by the European Parliament inStrasbourgtoday is ‘safe, proportionate and practical,’ say Liberal Democrat MEPs, who lobbied hard for the original draft directive to be withdrawn.
The new text has been substantially modified after Lib Dem MEPS, especially former West Midlands MEP Liz Lynne, highlighted objections from industry and in particular health services that safety restrictions to prevent exposure to Electro-Magnetic Fields were so tightly drawn that technology such as hospital MRI scanners would be impossible to use.
Her successor, Phil Bennion MEP, the current Lib Dem Employment and Social Affairs spokesman, said the new proposals, supported by the UK government, were now practical and evidence-based.
“The previous EMF directive ruled out the use of MRI scanners in hospitals, by prohibiting nurses and other medical staff from being present in a scanner room with a patient during scans. Continue reading “Bennion: Revised Electro-Magnetic Fields Directive ‘safe but practical’ for industry and hospitals” »
Today the European Parliament adopted a report calling for greater cooperation to tackle organised crime, corruption and money laundering in the European Union. Liberal Democrat MEP for the East Midlands Bill Newton Dunn, who has been fighting for these issues to be dealt with on a political level for years, welcomed the outcome of the vote.
Bill Newton Dunn MEP commented:
“Hundreds of billions of pounds worth of taxes are lost every year across Europe due to organised crime, as well as millions of legitimate jobs which have been taken out of the grasp of hard-working citizens. Fraud, counterfeiting, smuggling and cyber-crime are all having a drastic impact on the economy and are undermining efforts to promote jobs and growth. Britain is particularly affected, with half of Europol’s investigations into organised crime having links to the UK.” Continue reading “Newton Dunn: We must tackle Organised Crime, Corruption and Money Laundering” »
Commenting on the Foreign Affair’s Committee report on the UK’s relationship with the EU, the leader of the Liberal Democrats in the European Parliament, Fiona Hall MEP, said:
“The report makes it crystal clear that the way to reform the EU is by engaging in a pan-European debate and negotiation and not by seeking special treatment as envisaged by the Conservative party. Continue reading “Yes to reform – No to repatriation” »
Europe’s common fisheries policy is set for radical reform after negotiators for EU governments and the European Parliament reached agreement in Brussels at 03.00 this morning.
Supporters of the deal claim that it paves the way for rebuilding Europe’s depleted fish stocks and curbing the discard of millions of tonnes of fish each year.
British representatives have played a key role in securing the reform. They say that it demonstrates how EU policies can be changed for the better.
An obligation to land all pelagic fish, such as mackerel, will commence from 1 January 2015. Other reforms, which must yet be formally approved by ministers and MEPs, will be phased in over subsequent years.
Long term management plans are to be prepared for every fishery with the aim of increasing fish numbers above the maximum sustainable yield.
Fishermen will have a new role in determining practices appropriate to local conditions as micro-management from Brussels is reduced.
Liberal Democrat MEP Chris Davies, secretary of the cross-party ‘Fish for the Future’ group in the European Parliament, described the deal as a major step forward that would promote sustainable fishing practices. Continue reading “Davies: EU Fisheries policy reform achieved” »
Liberal Democrat MEPs in the Environment Committee today backed an important piece of legislation which will set the bar for transparency in medical research for years to come. The vote at committee stage on the Clinical Trials Regulation saw key amendments relating to transparency of clinical trial data adopted. This will require detailed clinical trial data on medicines to be published once the medicine is authorised.
Lib Dem European health spokesperson Rebecca Taylor MEP commented after the vote:
“Doctors should have access to vital safety and efficacy information on the medicines they prescribe to patients. In the past, that has not been the case. Today is the start of a sea change in data transparency that will lead to important clinical trial data being made publicly available as never before.
While I believe that it is necessary to publish detailed data for authorised medicines, some flexibility should be allowed in relation to non-commercial (academic) clinical trials, in order to encourage research and innovation rather than create barriers.
MEPs will now enter negotiations with national governments before a final vote on the legislation in the autumn.
For more information have a look at Rebecca’s blog.
On Thursday MEPs in Strasbourg are set to adopt their recommendations for the forthcoming EU-US free trade negotiations.
The EU and US together represent about half (47%) of the global economy and 30% of global trade. According to government figures, a free trade agreement between these economic powerhouses could be worth between £4-10bn a year to the UK economy.
South East MEP Catherine Bearder, the Liberal Democrat European spokesperson on trade, commented ahead of tomorrow’s historic vote:
“An EU-US trade deal would open up and increase economic activity on both sides of the Atlantic. Liberal Democrats in the European Parliament and in government in the UK are concentrating our efforts on pushing for a speedy conclusion of negotiations to strengthen the European economy and bring new private sector jobs into the UK.” Continue reading “Bearder/ Ludford: MEPs set to back job creating EU-US trade talks” »
Ahead of tomorrow’s European Council on energy, MEPs in Strasbourg today sent a strong message to national governments in support of renewable energy calling for mandatory targets for 2013.
Fiona Hall MEP, the Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the European Parliament and energy spokesperson, commented after the vote:
“The 2020 renewables target kick-started the industry and created jobs and growth in a time of economic downturn. We need to keep up the momentum – and continue to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the same time. It is a win-win situation. Continue reading “Hall: We need mandatory renewables target for 2030” »
Ahead of tomorrow’s EU Summit in Brussels, the European Parliament has backed a common European strategy to combat tax fraud, evasion and havens.
UK Liberal Democrat MEP Sharon Bowles, who chairs the European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, said:
“It is totally unacceptable that corporate tax avoidance is now the norm in Europe, aided and abetted by aggressive tax planning and tax consultancy firms.
“I have been fighting for companies to pay their fair share in tax for many years now and this can only be achieved by much more transparency in how companies prepare their accounts and with much better European and international cooperation. Continue reading “Bowles: EU must get tough on tax” »
Lib Dem MEPs have demanded an explanation from the European Commission regarding the decision to ban reusable olive oil dishes in restaurants, and will be tabling a series of parliamentary questions to get the bottom of the matter.
George Lyon MEP, Liberal Democrat European agriculture spokesperson, commented:
“At a time when the focus should be on promoting jobs and growth, this latest decision from the Council and European Commission really beggars belief. Banning reusable olive oil jugs would place an unnecessary burden on restaurants and potentially drive up prices for customers.” Continue reading “Lib Dem MEPs press Commission on olive oil regulation” »