Lyon – New threat over ATV use

George Lyon MEPGeorge Lyon, Liberal Democrat MEP for Scotland, has warned that European Council and Parliament negotiations which threaten to limit the top speed of functional All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) to 40kmph will dramatically reduce their effectiveness when used for daily stock work on farms.

George has been campaigning against proposals that would have forced manufacturers to build farm ATVS to an on-road specification leading to a significant increase in costs and severely limiting their effectiveness for farmers. Continue reading

Hall: Lib Dem MEPs swing the vote to reject ACTA

Fiona Hall MEPThe European Parliament’s Industry Committee today voted to reject the controversial Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) with 31 to 25 votes.

Commenting after the vote, Fiona Hall, the leader of the UK Liberal Democrat delegation and industry spokesperson, said:

“It was a tight vote, with Conservative voting in favour of the agreement despite the fact that ACTA has been widely attacked because of serious concerns that it may compromise civil liberties of individual internet users. Continue reading

Ludford: lessons need learning from Assange EAW ruling

Baroness Sarah Ludford MEPCommenting on the decision by the UK Supreme Court that Julian Assange can be deported to Sweden to face criminal charges, Liberal Democrat European justice & human rights spokeswoman and London MEP Sarah Ludford said:

“I fully support reform of the European Arrest Warrant to stop misuse for minor cases or for the investigation stage and to stop people being whisked off to a foreign jail long before a trial is genuinely imminent.“ Continue reading

Watson: Horizon 2020 – gas is a fossil fuel, not ‘low carbon’ energy

Sir Graham Watson MEPAhead of a meeting of national industry and research ministers in Brussels tomorrow (Thursday 31 May), Sir Graham Watson MEP has struck out at reports that gas may be defined as low-carbon energy and receive research and innovation funding destined for renewables.

Sir Graham Watson MEP is the Chairman of a global network of MPs and MEPs from all mainstream political parties working to accelerate the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy and electricity supergrids called the Climate Parliament, and also a UK Liberal Democrat MEP.

Commenting ahead of the Competitiveness Council, Sir Graham said: Continue reading

Bearder: Conservative MEPs vote against narrowing gender pay gap

Catherine Bearder MEP - South East EnglandTory MEPs have been criticised after this week voting against European Parliament proposals to tackle the pay gap between men and women.

The vote came after it emerged women in theUKstill earn around 10 per cent less than their male colleagues for the same work. 

The UK’s Office for National Statistics reported in 2011 the median gross earnings for full-time employees were £498-a-week.

However, men were bringing in £538-a-week compared to the £440 median full-time wage for women. 

Liberal Democrat South East MEP Catherine Bearder voted on Thursday in favour of the principle of equal pay for male and female workers for equal work, or work of equal value.

She said: “It is a complete disgrace that the work of women in theUKand across Europe remains so greatly undervalued. Continue reading

McMillan-Scott: Funding for missing children is step in right direction

Edward McMillan-Scott MEPOn International Missing Children’s Day (25 May), senior Liberal Democrat MEP Edward McMillan-Scott said he will call at a major conference in Brussels next week (30 May) for EU countries tro continue their efforts towards EU missing child mechanisms, including hotlines, an alert system and a research centre into child hazards like that in Washington. This follows a successful plea to MEPs by Kate and Gerry McCann and a resolution by a majority of them authored by McMillan-Scott. Brussels committed 3.6 million Euros in 2012 and will announce further steps shortly.
“As a father and grandfather I can only imagine the nightmare of a missing child, but it happens all too often. Some countries like the USA and France have sophisticated government-run schemes which are effective in recovering children and deterring abduction. Other countries rely on charities, which do good work. But my intention is that the whole EU will soon have properly funded schemes”, said McMillan-Scott, a European Parliament Vice-President and co-founder of its cross-party Child Rights Alliance. Continue reading

Taylor: Time for European initiative to tackle youth unemployment

One in five people under 25 cannot find a job in Europe.

This week, the European Parliament voted in favour of the Youth Opportunities Initiative, which aims at driving down youth unemployment by focusing on four areas:

  • preventing early school leaving;
  • developing skills relevant to the labour market;
  • helping young people gain their first work experience and on the job training;
  • and helping young people to access the labour market and get a job. 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: proposed EU financial transaction tax is “Sheriff of Nottingham tax”

Sharon Bowles MEPSharon Bowles MEP, who chairs the European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, has strongly criticised European financial transaction tax proposals which were passed in the European Parliament today. Sharon voted against the proposals.

An EU-wide financial transaction tax was proposed by the European Commission last September and will also be discussed by EU leaders at an informal summit this week.

The tax would be levied on financial transactions including those made by insurance firms and ordinary companies which use financial transactions to hedge their risks. This could be supermarkets or manufacturers.

However, the tax burden to these firms will be quickly passed on to the citizen, for example, through increased home and car insurance or price rises on manufactured goods, such as cars.

Sharon said:

“Let us be clear, this is a stealth tax that would hit the man on the street. It has more in common with the Sheriff of Nottingham than Robin Hood. Continue reading

Ludford: Euro-MPs call for better protection for weaker consumers

Baroness Sarah Ludford MEPLiberal Democrat MEP Sarah Ludford has welcomed a European Parliament call for better protection for consumers deemed ‘vulnerable’ because of factors such as age, health, learning disability or lack of internet access.

Given the range of situations in which a consumer can be at a disadvantage, there is no EU legislation to cover all eventualities. Ideas put forward by MEPs include incentives for businesses to adopt voluntary initiatives for improved consumer rights, examination of the impact of aggressive advertising on children, better consumer information and education campaigns, and encouragement for accessible formats for those with impaired eyesight.

Sarah Ludford commented: Continue reading