Hall: EU announces 22 billion euro boost for innovation

The European Commission has announced that it will be teaming up with the private sector and national governments to invest 22 billion euros in key sectors over the next seven years. The funding will be part of the new EU research and innovation programme “Horizon 2020,” which is due to be voted on in the European Parliament in September.

Leader of the UK Liberal Democrat MEPs and European industry spokesperson Fiona Hall commented:

“Investing in innovation is the key to delivering sustainable jobs to the UK while promoting the transition to a greener, more competitive economy.” Continue reading

EU roaming fees cut again

Lib Dem MEP Fiona Hall has welcomed the coming into force of new EU caps on mobile phone roaming fees today, which will reduce the cost of data roaming by over a third and further reduce the cost of making calls and sending messages when visiting another EU country.

Ms Hall commented:

“These new rates have come just in time for families heading off on their summer holidays and will help to take the sting out of those shock mobile phone bills. Thanks to the new cap on data usage, checking your emails, social networks or GPS maps while abroad in another EU country will no longer be prohibitively expensive.”

“Thousands of Brits heading to Croatia, which joined the EU today, will be able to take advantage of a ten times reduction in roaming fees compared to last year.”

“But there is still some way to go. Liberal Democrats in the European Parliament are leading the fight to end roaming charges in Europe once and for all, and we will be meeting with EU Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes this week to see how we can take this forward.”

For more details on the new caps on roaming fees in the EU see here:

http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-13-611_en.htm

Hall: EU funding helps UK punch above its weight on science

Today MEPs and national ministers in Brussels agreed on the new EU research and innovation programme “Horizon 2020″.

Over the past five years, the current EU framework programme (FP7) has brought over £3 billion in science funding to the UK, supporting cutting-edge research in areas such as stem-cell therapy, clean energy and nano-technology.

The leader of the UK Liberal Democrat MEPs and European industry spokesperson Fiona Hall said:

“EU research funding has been hugely beneficial to the UK and we punch well above our weight in the science sector.

“We need this additional EU investment in our research sector to ensure that the UK retains its competitive edge and that our world class universities continue to act as a magnet for global talent.

“Economic growth and job creation are driven by innovations that rely on science and research. Research is an area with clear EU added-value and it should be a priority for EU spending.”

The deal still has to be approved by EU Member States and the Parliament’s plenary and is subject to the EU’s long term budget before it can come into force. 

Note to editors:

Horizon 2020 is structured around three pillars.

The first pillar ‘Excellence in the science base’ aims to strengthen the EU’s world-class excellence in science, particularly through a significant strengthening of the European Research Council, which mainly focuses on frontier research.

The second pillar ‘Creating industrial leadership and competitive frameworks’ aims to support business research and innovation. Actions will cover: increasing investment in enabling industrial technologies and support for innovation in SMEs with high growth potential.

The third pillar ‘Tackling societal challenges’ aims to respond directly to challenges identified in Europe 2020. Its focus will be on the challenges of: health, demographic change and well-being; food security and the bio-based economy; energy; transport; supply of raw materials; resource efficiency and climate action; inclusive, innovative and secure societies.

EU deal on cleaner and cheaper cars

Last night a deal was reached between MEPs and national ministers in Brussels on EU targets to reduce CO2 emissions in cars.

The deal confirms the 2020 target of 95g CO2/km and puts a cap on super credits that are used to reward manufacturers of polluting cars if they also produce low carbon cars such as electric, hydrogen and hybrid vehicles. 

The leader of the UK Liberal Democrat MEPs and European energy spokesperson Fiona Hall said:

“This deal will not only give much needed certainty to manufacturers and boost the production of low carbon cars; it will also benefit drivers by making cars more fuel efficient and cheaper to run. Continue reading

Hall: EU deal will boost UK SMEs

A deal reached yesterday between MEPs and EU Member States will bring a big boost to SMEs across Europe, according to the leader of the Liberal Democrats in the European Parliament, Fiona Hall MEP.

The deal relates to the competitiveness of entreprises and small businesses (COSME).

Ms Hall, the Lib Dem European industry spokesperson, said:

“SMEs are the backbone of our economy. At this time of economic stagnation and high unemployment, we must support our SMEs and unlock their potential for growth and job creation. The COSME programme with its concrete measures to improve access to finance and markets for SMEs and its efforts to reduce bureaucracy and red tape will play a crucial role in boosting business here in the UK and across Europe.”

Yesterday, the Commission also published a follow-up to its consultation on the top ten pieces of EU regulation that can prove burdensome for SMEs.

Ms Hall added:

“Lib Dem MEPs are committed to the Think Small First principle and work tirelessly to cut unnecessary red tape when amending legislation in the Parliament.

“We will continue to work closely with SMEs to find the best ways to simplify EU regulations and minimise unnecessary bureaucracy.”

Jayne Almond, EU advisor at the Federation of Small Businesses, commented:

“The Commission has made a great start in identifying how the most onerous and disproportionate laws can be improved. Now it’s up to MEPs and the Member States to do their bit so small businesses notice a difference on the ground.”

Yes to reform – No to repatriation

 

Fiona Hall MEPCommenting 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

Hall: We need mandatory renewables target for 2030

Fiona Hall MEPAhead 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: Nigel Lawson short-sighted and reckless on EU

Fiona Hall MEPResponding to Lord Lawson’s call for the UK to leave the European Union Fiona Hall MEP, the leader of the Liberal Democrat delegation in the European parliament, commented:

 “It is absurd to suggest that we must somehow choose between trade with Europe and with the rest of the world. We are on the cusp of a game-changing trade deal between the EU and the US, worth billions of pounds to the British economy, and major trade agreements with India and Japan are also in the pipeline. To leave the EU now would be ridiculous. We would be turning our back to the global economy and jeopardising crucial trade and investment.” Continue reading

Davies/ Hall: Conservative MEPs betray British business in carbon vote

MEPs in Strasbourg today narrowly (334-315) rejected a proposal by the European Commission to delay the auctioning of greenhouse gas allowances to avoid a further drop in the price of carbon. The European Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) was originally introduced to incentivise investments in low carbon technologies by putting a price on polluting greenhouse gas emissions.

UK Liberal Democrat MEP Chris Davies, the environment spokesman for the Liberal Democrat (ALDE) group in the European Parliament, commented after the vote:

“MEPs have turned their back on the future.  Continue reading

Lib Dem MEPs pave way for tough new rules on corporate transparency

Large oil, gas, diamond and logging companies will be obliged to disclose full information on all projects where payments to governmental authorities exceed a threshold of 100.000 Euros under new rules negotiated between MEPs and ministers from all 27 EU Member States last night.

The Leader of the Liberal Democrat delegation in the European Parliament, Fiona Hall MEP, who steered the legislation through the Development Committee and was a key MEP for the insertion of the county-by-country and project-by-project rule, commented: Continue reading