1/4 million Brits set to receive EU grants to study and train abroad – Rebecca Taylor MEP

Rebecca ALDE biog photoNearly a quarter of a million students and apprentices in the UK are set to receive EU grants to study or work abroad over the next seven years, following the launch of the new Erasmus+ programme in London today.

Liberal Democrat MEP and European Youth policy spokesperson Rebecca Taylor is urging young people to take advantage of a new EU education programme. The new scheme will see its total funding increased by 40% to £12.1 billion, with the UK expected to receive over £100 million of funding this year.

Since 2007 nearly 162,000 people in the UK have received an EU grant to study or gain work experience abroad, and numbers are steadily rising each year. Under reforms pushed for by Liberal Democrat MEPs, there will now be a particular emphasis on increasing opportunities for vocational trainees and apprentices to gain experience abroad.

Rebecca Taylor commented:

“It’s fantastic news that even more young people in the UK will now be given the opportunity to study or train abroad.

“I’m particularly pleased to see more EU funding for apprentices and those in vocational education. This will reinforce efforts by Liberal Democrats to boost
apprenticeships and give every young person the skills they need to get on in life.

“It is vital that we now get local young people to take advantage of the new opportunities being provided. Working and studying abroad is a unique chance to improve your foreign language skills, gain confidence and increase your future employability in today’s fiercely competitive job market.

“Liberal Democrats are fighting to keep Britain in Europe because being in is the best way to increase opportunities for young people and secure our future as a successful, open and dynamic economy.”

Notes to Editors

More information about the UK launch of the Erasmus+ scheme can be found here.

Increased corporate transparency on the way after European Parliament vote

Rebecca ALDE biog photoToday the European Parliament voted in favour requiring large companies to provide greater information on their impact on society, such as the environmental and social impacts their operations have.

The new rules will require the largest companies in the EU (around 6,000 in total) to disclose this information with their management reports.

Liberal Democrat MEP Rebecca Taylor who sits on the European Parliament’s Legal Affairs committee said:

“This vote is a unique opportunity when it comes to improving the accountability and transparency of large businesses in Europe, and I am pleased to have played a part in making it a reality.

“For those companies who already report on their impact on society, non-financial reporting has proven to contribute greatly to their long-term success.

“However this is only a start, and even though the final text is not as ambitious as I had hoped, I firmly believe that it will help investors and consumers better assess large businesses.”

EU takes a step towards greater corporate transparency – Rebecca Taylor

Rebecca ALDE biog photoMEPs in the European Parliament’s Legal Affairs committee today voted through new rules on non-financial reporting which will help improve corporate transparency in Europe.

Under the proposal around 6000 large companies across Europe will be required to report on the environmental and social impact their activities have.

Liberal Democrats called for a review within four years to look at whether the scope of the Directive should be extended.

Liberal Democrat MEP Rebecca Taylor, who led negotiations for the Liberal group on the proposal, commented:

“This is an important step towards ensuring greater accountability and transparency for large businesses in Europe.”

“Corporate reporting should not just be about the bottom line. We need a common approach to reporting the wider impact that large companies have on society and on the environment.”

“While today’s outcome is not as ambitious as many of us would have liked, myself included, it does pave the way for extending the scope of the Directive in future, particularly through a review which should take place no more than 4 years from now.”

Notes to Editors

Under a deal reached on February 28th in negotiations between the European Parliament and European Council, the new rules will only apply to large, publicly listed companies with an average of 500 employees.

A strong review clause was negotiated requesting for the Commission to submit a report to the European Parliament and Council at the latest 4 years after the entry into force of the Directive, which will focus amongst others on the scope, particularly as regards large non-listed undertakings.

Taylor: Increase in Erasmus funding will allow 4 million to study and train abroad

The European Parliament today approved the new Erasmus+ programme which will provide over £12 billion for young people, staff and teachers to study or train abroad over the next seven years, an increase of 40% compared to the current budget. The programme also includes a new Masters Loan Guarantee, backed by the European Investment Bank, which will enable students to take out low-interest loans of up to 18,000 euros to undertake post-graduate studies across the EU. Continue reading

Taylor: MEPs focus on patient safety in medical devices vote

MEPs today agreed to enter negotiations with national governments on new rules for the safety and performance of medical devices and in-vitro diagnostic devices.

Lib Dem MEPs in particular stressed the need to act to try to prevent health scares like last year’s faulty breast implants scandal by undertaking stricter market surveillance including unannounced inspections of manufacturers and better traceability rules.

Lib Dem European health spokeswoman Rebecca Taylor, said:

“Patient safety and confidence must be the main focus of any new rules, but we must do this in a way that allows enough flexibility to stimulate innovation and healthy competition within the market. It is vital to strengthen transparency and controls in order to avoid health scares such as the faulty breast implants scandal. Continue reading

MEPs break down barriers for qualified professionals

MEPs in Strasbourg voted today to make it easier for qualified professionals to practice their profession in another EU country.

MEPs approved the introduction of an e-card detailing a person’s qualification and experience and enabling the mutual recognition of professional qualifications across the EU.

Among many other professions, the new rules cover health professionals including doctors and nurses and explicitly allow for their language skills to be tested, recognising that a good grasp of the local language is important for patient safety.  

Lib Dem MEP Rebecca Taylor, European health spokeswoman, commented:

“These new EU rules will help the UK to ensure that doctors and nurses who offer their services to the NHS are not only appropriately qualified, but also have English language skills that enable them to communicate effectively with patients and colleagues. The new e-card will allow easy and uncomplicated background checks and existing rules on language tests have been clarified.

“The rules on mutual recognition of professional qualifications are also great news for Brits abroad who want to market their skills in other EU countries.”

MEPs also voted for the creation of an alert mechanism which requires Member States to exchange information on professionals who have been struck off or restricted from practicing their professional activity or who have used falsified documents.

Ends

Note to editors:

The revised Professional Qualifications Directive adopted by MEPs today also includes an evaluation process of national regulations on qualified professions to help reduce barriers of free movement. The evaluation process will take place between Member States and is expected to conclude in 2016. For more information, please see: http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/qualifications/docs/policy_developments/131002_communication_en.pdf

Davies/ Taylor: Today’s tobacco vote is a victory for e-cig campaigners

Liberal Democrat MEPs today won a major victory for e-cigarette users when the European Parliament backed their amendment which will ensure e-cigs are available for sale on the same basis as tobacco.

Chris Davies MEP said: “E-cigs can be a game changer in the fight against smoking.  Hundreds of former smokers have written to tell me that they have helped them give up cigarettes when nothing else worked.

“They are successful because they are not medicines but products that smokers enjoy using as an alternative to cigarettes. Continue reading

Taylor/Davies: Lib Dem MEPs will continue fight for availability of e-cigarettes

MEPs in the European Parliament’s Public Health Committee today voted to update the ten year old tobacco directive  including provisions to ban the use of ‘characterising flavours’ (such as  chocolate and menthol) and slim-style cigarettes which are designed to appeal to younger and/or female consumers to encourage them to take up smoking.

Apart from packaging and labelling, other provisions included ingredients, cross-border sales and traceability for the purposes of enforcing product safety standards.

Lib Dem European health spokeswoman Rebecca Taylor MEP welcomed the adoption of rules requiring that all cigarette packets in future should have health warnings covering at least 75% of the surface  to make packaging far less appealing to consumers  and discourage them from starting smoking. She said:

“One in two smokers dies as a direct result of their smoking and tobacco related diseases place a great burden on the NHS. Clear and visible  health warnings on cigarette packets  play a role in making tobacco less attractive, particularly to potential first time consumers, who are overwhelmingly young, as 94% of smokers start smoking before the age of 25. Continue reading

Taylor: EU enables record number of young Brits to study abroad

Figures released by the European Commission today show that since 2007 almost 70,000 young Brits have studied or undertaken work experience in another European country thanks to the EU Erasmus mobility programme.

Since the scheme was launched in 1987, more than three million students from across Europe have received EU grants designed to cover part of the additional costs of living, studying and working abroad for a limited period of time.

For the year 2011-2012, 13662 young Brits – more than ever before – took up the opportunity to go abroad to study or gain work experience in companies or other organisations with the help of the Erasmus programme. Of the 4568 students who took advantage of a work placement abroad, a majority gained experience in the education sector but manufacturing, professional and technical activities also proofed popular.

Liberal Democrat European youth spokesperson Rebecca Taylor commented:

“It is fantastic to see ever greater numbers of British students take up the opportunity to study or work in another EU country with the help of Erasmus funding. Continue reading

Taylor: EU steps up fight against cross-border health threats

MEPs in Strasbourg today adopted new EU rules to strengthen cross-border cooperation to tackle serious cross border health threats such as influenza, coronavirus and E-coli. 

As part of the strengthened cooperation framework, EU-wide health emergencies can be declared and a new voluntary mechanism will allow countries to club together to bulk-order vaccines. 

Rebecca Taylor, Lib Dem European health spokesperson commented:

“Europe needs to be better prepared against outbreaks of communicable diseases such as avian flu or swine flu, but also against other health threats which can spread across borders such as those of a chemical, biological or environmental origin. 

“The new rules mean that there will be more cooperation between EU countries in the planning, monitoring and response stages of tackling a health crisis. 

“EU countries remain responsible for putting wide-ranging action plans in place, but are required to undertake risk-assessment procedures in a transparent way and to coordinate their responses to avoid the chaos of the 2011 E-coli outbreak where different EU countries blamed different vegetables for the outbreak before the facts were properly established, which was very confusing for citizens.”

“The framework will also be linked to the veterinary sector as animal health and zoonotic infections have been a factor in many recent cross-border health threats.”