Watson: Tory call for ban on live sport betting “disproportionate” and “unnecessary”

Sir Graham Watson MEPLiberal Democrat MEPs have refused to back proposals to ban online live betting, as adopted today by the European Parliament in a report on the gambling industry drafted by Conservative MEP Ashley Fox.

Whilstwelcoming some of the measures proposed in the report, in particular those to reduce gambling-related addiction, Lib Dem MEP Graham Watson has stated that banning live betting online would restrict consumer choice while failing to have a discernible impact on match-fixing.

The South West MEP commented: Continue reading

Watson: Greening EU power supply: hit ‘panic button’ now, not in 2049

Sir Graham Watson MEPThe European green energy community will come together tonight (Wednesday 11 July) for the launch of a new report which has been commissioned by the Smart Energy for Europe Platform set to be the new ‘study of studies’ on greening Europe’s power supply.

The report compares and contrasts EU energy roadmaps to 2050 authored by organisations such as Greenpeace and the electricity industry, the European Climate Foundation and finally – the one that counts – the European Commission.

Sir Graham Watson MEP, who is the Chairman of a global network of MPs and MEPs from all mainstream political parties campaigning to increase government investment in renewable energy and electricity supergrids called the Climate Parliament, as well as a UK Liberal Democrat MEP and President of the ELDR party, is hosting the launch. At the event, he will say: Continue reading

Watson:Cypriot presidency of the EU – small country, big challenges

Sir Graham Watson MEPDuring the plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg this week, Lib Dems highlighted the priorities and challenges that lie ahead for the incoming Cypriot presidency of the EU over the next six months. Cyprus will have to take forward the budget talks and the EU’s roadmap 2050 and will oversee EU talks on bank supervision and sovereign debt.  The worrying situation in Syria also requires strength and leadership from the EU in order to help bring about peace and freedom.

Uk Lib Dem MEPSir Graham Watson  and President of the European Liberal Democrat (ELDR) Party spoke during the debate on behalf of the Liberal Group and said that “Cyprus cannot lead by size or strength, so they must lead by example“.  Continue reading

Watson: Tories must come clean on alternatives to EU membership

Sir Graham Watson MEPLiberal Democrat MEP for the South West Sir Graham Watson has commented on the speech today by Liam Fox calling for an immediate renegotiation on Britain’s membership of the European Union.

“This is a desperate move by a discredited Tory to bang the populist drum to try to revitalise an ailing political career.

“As usual, a lot of hot air is being blown but with few precise proposals. Does Mr Fox wish to see us form a Norway style relationship, where we would lose our rebate, pay £3.5 billion a year into a pot to access the single market but have no say on the directives that we would have to conform to in order to trade freely? Or perhaps a customs union, similar to Turkey, where specific goods would be tariff free but not services and where again, all directives agreed by the others without our input would have to be implemented into UK law in order to trade.” Continue reading

Watson: EU delegation to Northern Cyprus asks South to enfranchise Turkish Cypriots

LSir Graham Watson MEPiberal Democrat MEP Sir Graham Watson today led a delegation of eight MEPs to Northern Cyprus, where he met Turkish Cypriot leader Derviş Eroğlu, leaders of the Turkish Cypriot political parties and leaders of business and non-governmental organisations.

Sir Graham said:

“Liberal Democrats deeply regret that, as Cyprus prepares to take on the rotating presidency of the EU’s Council of Ministers, the island is still divided and the Turkish Cypriots still denied the rights and privileges of EU citizenship.” Continue reading

Watson: Horizon 2020 – gas is a fossil fuel, not ‘low carbon’ energy

Sir Graham Watson MEPAhead of a meeting of national industry and research ministers in Brussels tomorrow (Thursday 31 May), Sir Graham Watson MEP has struck out at reports that gas may be defined as low-carbon energy and receive research and innovation funding destined for renewables.

Sir Graham Watson MEP is the Chairman of a global network of MPs and MEPs from all mainstream political parties working to accelerate the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy and electricity supergrids called the Climate Parliament, and also a UK Liberal Democrat MEP.

Commenting ahead of the Competitiveness Council, Sir Graham said: Continue reading

Watson: Azerbaijan deserves ‘nul points’ for freedom

Sir Graham Watson MEPSpeaking to the European Parliament today in Strasbourg after MEPs had voted on a report on an EU-Azerbaijan Association agreement, ELDR President and Liberal Democrat MEP Sir Graham Watson said:

I wish to see closer relations between the Azeri people and those of the EU. EU-Azeri relations are increasingly frustrated by the government of Azerbaijan. Journalists, bloggers, politicians and others who dissent from the government’s opinion are regularly – indeed almost routinely – harassed, imprisoned and maltreated.” Continue reading

Lib Dems vote for the UK to play a constructive role at the heart of Europe

Liberal Democrats today strongly condemned the obstructive Conservative approach at an EU level towards tackling the economic and financial challenges facing the Eurozone, saying it would threaten the economic recovery of the UK.

Calling on the Coalition Government to play a constructive role as a major EU player, Liberal Democrat members at their Spring Conference in Gateshead voted in favour of the fiscal compact as a concrete way of leading the Eurozone and theUKtowards the road of economic recovery. Continue reading

Watson: Douze Points for Freedom!

Sir Graham Watson MEPOn the day the UK’s entry to the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest is announced, a leading Liberal Democrat MEP has launched his campaign to highlight the abuses of human rights by the host nation, Azerbaijan and is calling on national entries to do the same.

This years Eurovision song contest will be held in Baku, Azerbaijan, and whilst entries from across Europewill be able to sing freely, viewers in the host country are not so privileged. Cases of intimidation, harassment and the arrest of opponents of the government are rife, with key opposition members imprisoned and Human Rights tracker Freedom House heavily criticising the lack of press and internet freedoms.

In the lead up to the contest, South West MEP and leader of the European Liberal Democrats Sir Graham Watson is seeking signatures for a petition calling on the immediate release of political prisoners and criticising the abhorrent human rights abuses and imprisonment of political opponents in the country. Sir Graham is also calling on all Twitter followers to use the #douzepointsforfreedom hashtag after they have signed it. Continue reading

NEWS: Watson calls on EU energy ministers to electrify the debate, not gas it

Sir Graham Watson MEPEuropean Union energy ministers are meeting in Brussels today to discuss EU energy policy and the draft regulation on guidelines for European energy infrastructure.

Sir Graham Watson MEP who is Chairman of the Climate Parliament, a global network of MPs and MEPs from all mainstream political parties campaigning to increase government investment in renewable energy and electricity supergrids, and is also President of the ELDR party, commented: Continue reading