Bill Newton Dunn MEP: New EU volunteer initiative will provide opportunities for people to assist those in need

Bill Newton Dunn MEPToday the European Parliament backed the creation of the new EU Aid Volunteers initiative. It will provide a way for people willing to help communities around the world struck by disasters. Around 4,000 volunteers from across Europe will be deployed at various periods throughout the course of the scheme until 2020.

The new programme will be open to people from all ages and walks of life who have the relevant skills and knowledge needed to assist during a humanitarian crisis. Deployed volunteers will receive training and will be provided with all relevant resources needed during the mission. It is envisaged that volunteers will be brought together with international organisations to work together on common projects.

Bill Newton Dunn, Liberal Democrat MEP for the East Midlands said:

“Every year I am struck by the number of people who are willing to dedicate so much time and energy into helping others overseas, so I believe it’s only right that we have proper structures in place to make applying to volunteer as easy as possible.”

“We live in a world where sadly natural disasters are becoming ever more common so Europe must be able to provide humanitarian organisations with people who are skilled and willing to help.”

“It is only the Liberal Democrats who are making the case for Europe as the party of “in” and we believe opportunities, such as this scheme, highlight the opportunities Britons receive through being in Europe.”

Fighting tax dodging and corruption: MEPs vote for tough new rules on corporate transparency

MEPs in the Legal Affairs Committee today voted in favour of tough amendments to European Commission’s proposals requiring oil, mining and logging companies to disclose payments to governments of countries in which they operate on a project by project basis.  MEPs also succeeded in extending the scope of the legislation to cover the banking, construction and telecommunications sector. Continue reading

Bearder: Tories reject new transparency rules to clamp down on corruption


Catherine Bearder MEP - South East EnglandA Senior UK Liberal Democrat MEP has today criticised Conservative MEPs on forming and ‘unholy alliance’ with UKIP and fascist MEPs to vote down new EU rules calling for big businesses to publish what they pay to governments in developing countries.

Due to the Conservative and far-right alliance, the International Trade Committee today rejected tough amendments to Commission proposals requiring oil, mining and logging companies to publish payments to countries in which they operate to help curb corruption and bribery.

Catherine Bearder MEP, the Lib Dem spokesperson for international trade in the European Parliament, commented after the vote: Continue reading

Bowles: more vaccinations in developing countries

Sharon Bowles MEPSharon Bowles MEP, who represents South East England in the European Parliament, has signed a Written Declaration urging the European Commission to continue its ‘commitment to reducing the number of vaccine-preventable deaths’ in the developing world.

With EU support, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) has made great progress in saving lives and expanding immunisation coverage in the world’s poorest countries, with 288 million immunised and an estimated 5 million future deaths prevented.

However, despite advances, it is estimated that 1.7 million children die from vaccine-preventable diseases each year.

Sharon Bowles MEP said:

“The fight against preventable disease in the developing world is a responsibility we must not shirk, even in times of austerity. Continue reading

Bowles: Latest oil scandal proves need for better corporate transparency in developing world

Sharon Bowles MEPEuro MP Sharon Bowles, who chairs the European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, has renewed calls for better corporate transparency in the developing world following revelations that approximately £690 million paid to the Nigerian government by subsidiaries of Shell and ENI ended up in the hands of former Nigerian oil minister and convicted money launderer, Dan Etete.

For years big multinational companies have been able to keep their business dealings in the developing world a secret but new EU proposals will require companies to make public details of their activities on a country-by-country and project-by-project basis.

However, Ms Bowles believes these ‘projects’ need to be properly defined to ensure that payments, such as the one made by Shell and ENI, are reported. Continue reading

NEWS: HALL: Science cooperation with Africa

Fiona Hall MEPThe leader of the Liberal Democrats in the European Parliament, Fiona Hall, has spoken out in favour of a group of nine African countries (South Africa, Kenya, Ghana, Mauritius, Madagascar, Namibia, Zambia, Botswana and Mozambique) to host the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), the world’s biggest radio telescope.

Co-author of a Written Declaration on science capacity building in Africa, Ms Hall is calling on her fellow MEPs to step up support for scientific partnerships between Europe and Africa, in particular current radio astronomy projects. She said: Continue reading