Lyon: Astonishing that Labour votes against EU funding to tackle youth unemployment

MEPs voted for a 6.5% cut to the EU’s budget for 2014 today in Strasbourg, as agreed in a deal last week in Brussels.

Commenting, Liberal Democrat MEP and Vice-President of the European Parliament Budget Committee George Lyon said:

“Liberal Democrats have voted to reduce next year’s EU budget by £7.7 billion compared to 2013. We also fought for an extra £180 million research and innovation funding, of which the UK is one of the biggest beneficiaries.

“It’s astonishing that Labour MEPs opposed this budget, which includes almost £3 billion to tackle youth unemployment and create thousands of jobs across the UK. Labour have shown that they are running scared over Europe, and are as weak and divided in Brussels as they are in Westminster. Continue reading

Bennion: Welcome EU infrastructure investment

The Liberal Democrat European transport spokesman, Phil Bennion, has welcomed today’s adoption of an EU infrastructure package worth EUR 33bn between 2014 and 2020.

The ‘Connecting Europe’ programme will help fund and facilitate projects of common interest in the areas of energy, transport and infrastructure. The UK’s West Coast Main Line corridor is among the identified priority projects that would be eligible for EU funding.

Dr Phil Bennion MEP said: Continue reading

Lyon: EU budget deal to fund vital infrastructure and create jobs in UK


The European Parliament voted today to approve the deal reached on the EU’s long-term budget.

Liberal Democrat MEP and Vice-President of the European Parliament’s Budget Committee George Lyon commented:

“Liberal Democrats have consistently argued for a smaller, more efficient EU budget that is more targeted towards creating jobs and growth. That is exactly what this deal will deliver.”

“Most importantly, European funding will now focus more on areas where it adds real value such as infrastructure, support for local businesses and innovation. Continue reading

Lyon: EU 2014 budget cut by 6% despite €200mn boost to research spending

Commenting on yesterday night’s deal over the EU’s 2014 budget, Liberal Democrat MEP and Vice-Chair of the European Parliament Budget Committee George Lyon said:

“On top of delivering a 6% cut compared to the 2013 budget, we have increased research and development funding by 200 million euros.”

“That means more money for UK universities, who currently receive more EU research funding than those in any other country.”

“This is a sign that the EU budget is becoming more streamlined, efficient and targeted towards promoting jobs and growth.”´

Taylor: European Parliament votes to upgrade trade relations with Pakistan

UK Liberal Democrat MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber Rebecca Taylor blocked plans today that would have denied Pakistan access to enhanced trade preferences with the EU.

The valuable trade preferences (GSP Plus) are set to significantly increase Pakistani exports to the world’s largest market, giving a boost to jobs, investment and development in Pakistan.

Some MEPs tried to vote down the agreement blaming procedural reasons, but were in fact largely motivated by fears of increased competition from Pakistan in the textile market.

Commenting, Rebecca Taylor said:

“Earlier this week Liberal Democrats torpedoed Conservative plans to impose visa bonds on all visitors from so-called ‘high-risk’ countries, including Pakistan.

“Today we voted to upgrade trade relations between the EU and Pakistan, giving an important boost to development in the country and improving the livelihoods of millions of people. Continue reading

Bowles: New EU rules will step up the fight against tax fraud

Sharon Bowles MEP

The European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee today voted by a large majority in favour of extending rules on the automatic exchange of information in taxation policy, making full exchange of information the standard across the European Union.

Sharon Bowles MEP, who chairs the committee, commented:

“This is an important step forward in the fight against tax fraud and tax evasion. I have long called for the automatic exchange of relevant tax information between EU Member States and the Commission as part of a coordinated strategy to improve the fight against fiscal fraud. It is clear that individual countries cannot combat cross-border tax fraud in isolation. Continue reading

Sharon Bowles MEPA new poll, published today, conducted by IPSOS-MORI for TheCityUK has found that four in five business leaders in the financial and professional services sector want the UK to stay in the EU.

Sharon Bowles MEP, who chairs the European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, commented:

“The UK financial services sector employs over 2 million people and contributes billions to the economy each year.

“Key to its success is the UK’s access to the EU single market, the world’s largest trading bloc, and influence over its rules.

“Leaving the EU would be killing the goose that lays the golden egg.”

European Parliament approves 5.4% reduction to EU’s 2014 budget

The European Parliament voted today for a 5.4% cut to the EU’s budget in 2014 compared to 2013.

Commenting, Liberal Democrat MEP and Vice-President of the Budget Committee George Lyon said:

“Liberal Democrats understand the need for tight control of spending in these difficult times, and have helped to deliver a 5.4% cut to the EU’s budget for 2014. That’s a bigger cut than the vast majority of European countries will make next year.

“Despite the additional costs of holding the 2014 European Elections, we also achieved a real-terms freeze to the European Parliament’s budget by finding €24.2 million of savings, including to MEP allowances and staff costs.

“This outcome demonstrates our commitment to building a more efficient and streamlined EU.”

Fiona Hall and Danny Alexander: The message from manufacturers is clear – in Europe, in work

Commenting on today’s EEF report, ‘Manufacturing: Our Future in Europe,’ leader of the Liberal Democrat MEPs Fiona Hall said:

“The message from manufacturers is clear: in Europe, in work. Our priority should be creating more jobs by reforming the EU, not putting them at risk by pulling out.”

Danny Alexander, Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said:

““Entertaining the idea of UK exit from the EU risks throwing our recovery away. Our focus must be on jobs and growth. Continue reading

Watson: EU-China deal could unlock billions of pounds of investment


Sir Graham Watson MEP

The European Parliament today voted today on negotiations for an investment pact between the EU and China that could open up opportunities for British firms and unlock billions of pounds of inward investment.

Commenting, Liberal Democrat MEP Sir Graham Watson said:

“Using the combined clout of the EU, we can make it easier for British firms to crack the Chinese market by opening up protected sectors and increasing legal certainty. Britain stands tall in Beijing when it stands tall in Brussels. Continue reading