Newton Dunn: Special Committee on Organised Crime first step towards tackling cross border crime

Bill Newton Dunn MEPUK Lib DEM MEP Bill Newton Dunn has been elected as a full member of the European Parliament’s new Special Committee on Organised Crime, Corruption and Money Laundering. The Special Committee will have a 12 month term of office during which it is mandated to investigate and assess Organised Crime in its various forms, and its impact on European Union. The Committee will also make recommendations for measures to tackle these problems.

Newton Dunn, who has long been a stalwart campaigner for stronger EU action against organised crime, has high hopes for the Committee:

“For many years now, I have worked to highlight  the manifold activities of organised criminal networks, which grow increasingly strong and wealthy enjoying relative freedom and impunity across borders. Throughout, I have consistently argued that we will get nowhere towards curbing this problem without better, stronger, closer, cooperation of enforcement authorities.  We need a European FBI. Continue reading

DAVIES: UKIP challenged over “dodgy” maths

Chris Davies MEPLatest Treasury figures have revealed claims made by UKIP about the costs of EU membership to be a “complete fabrication”, a North West England Euro-MP has claimed.

North West England Liberal Democrat MEP Chris Davies has accused UKIP of making up figures that suggest that EU costs are 50 times higher than that paid by the UK Treasury.

He has challenged UKIP’s North West England MEP Paul Nuttall to explain his “dodgy maths” in public.

Davies said: “UKIP must explain why its sums don’t add up.  There is a debate to be had about getting value for money from the EU, but there cannot be serious discussion with people who make up the figures as they go along.”

A draft Treasury letter that is due to be sent to every taxpayer shows how the money raised through taxes is spent.  It reveals that the UK’s net contribution to the EU costs a taxpayer earning the average £26,000 per year just £51, or less than £1 per week.  Continue reading

New Yorkshire & The Humber MEP Rebecca Taylor takes up her duties in the European Parliament

The new Liberal Democrat MEP for Yorkshire and theHumber, Rebecca Taylor, has today taken up her new post in the European Parliament. Rebecca is replacing Diana Wallis who represented the region as a Lib Dem MEP for the past 12 years but resigned from the position earlier this year.

Hitting the ground running, the new MEP had to cast her vote on several important reports voted today during the Parliament’s plenary session inBrussels. The issues ranged from strengthening the rights of air passengers to calling for a single seat of the European Parliament in connection with a vote on the Parliament’s budget for 2013. 

Speaking after the votes, Rebecca said: Continue reading

McMillan-Scott: Success for Single Seat campaign

Edward McMillan-Scott MEPMEPs today voted overwhelmingly in favour of a single seat for the European Parliament as part of their negotiating position with EU Member States on the Parliament’s budget for 2013.

UK Lib Dem MEP Edward McMillan-Scott, who co-founded and co-chairs the cross-party Single Seat campaign, said:

“Today’s vote yet again shows that a large majority of MEPs is in favour of a single seat for the European Parliament. Continue reading

Lyon: More savings must be found in Parliament Budget

George Lyon MEPMEPs today adopted the European Parliament’s first negotiation position on its institutional budget for 2013. Approving additional savings of 9.3 million Euros (£7.8m) in order to achieve a real term freeze, the 2013 Parliament budget is expected to be in line with the rate of inflation of 1.9%.

Commenting after the vote, UK Lib Dem MEP George Lyon, a Vice President of the Budget Committee, said:

“In times of economic hardship and national austerity measures, MEPs must tighten their own belts. Freezing MEP allowances, capping travel expenditure and cutting planned funding for political parties is an important first step in bringing the budget under control.  Continue reading

Hall: Roaming charges down again in time for summer holidays

Fiona Hall MEPLast night, Euro-MPs and EU Member States achieved a breakthrough in their talks to reduce the costs of using mobile phones abroad. 

Business travellers and holidaymakers alike will benefit in particular from a cap on data roaming which from July this year will be limited to 70 cents (around 60p) and fall to 20 cents per MB (around 17p) in 2014. Until now there has been no cap on the cost for using mobile internet options while abroad, causing bill shock misery for many on their return home. Continue reading

Ludford: Cybercrime centre shows EU serious about online crime

Baroness Sarah Ludford MEPLiberal Democrat European justice & human rights spokeswoman and London MEP Sarah Ludford has welcomed the EU’s intended establishment of a European cybercrime centre. Worldwide, more than 1 million people become victims of cybercrime every day.
The European centre will be based in Europol (European Police Office) in The Hague and co-ordinate Europe’s fight against online crimes such as child pornography, identity theft, credit-card fraud and hacking of critical IT networks.  It and should be operational from January next year and will support national police and prosecutors in EU countries.

Sarah Ludford commented: Continue reading

Lib Dems once again vote for a Single Seat of the European Parliament

Today, MEPs in the European Parliament’s Budget Committtee voted in favour of a single place of work for the Parliament and once again urged Members States to end the costly travelling circus between StrasbourgandBrussels.

Amendments to the European Parliament Budget guidelines from 2013 to 2020 put forward by Liberal Democrat MEPs also called for a reorganisation of Parliament’s working methods and an independent evaluation of Parliament’s budget in order to identify further savings. In particular, Lib Dem MEPs called for a detailed report on the cost of maintaining three places of work and the financing of the Parliament’s buidling policy. Continue reading

LYON: Lib Dems warn on tough budget talks for 2013

George Lyon MEPMEPs in Strasbourg will today vote on the EU budget guidelines for 2013. Liberal Democrat MEPs call on Parliament to exercise responsible restraint while ensuring that legal obligations are met and resources are efficiently allocated in a way that will boost economic growth and jobs. 

Senior Liberal Democrat MEP and Vice President of the Parliament’s Budget Committee, George Lyon commented ahead of the vote:

“At a time of national austerity and budget cuts, we need to re-double our efforts at an EU level to ensure that the 2013 budget offers maximum value for money and helps to stimulate economic growth across Europe. Continue reading

Ludford: Bosnia must step up reforms for EU readiness

Baroness Sarah Ludford MEPLiberal Democrat European justice & human rights spokeswoman and London MEP Sarah Ludford is urging Bosnia & Herzegovina to make the necessary reforms to put them on the path to EU membership.

These reforms need to cover political and constitutional matters as well as economic and social issues. Until last month, the country had not had a stable government for 16 months because of deadlock between Serb, Croat and Muslim leaders. Continue reading