Bowles: Split up banks in wake of Libor Scandal

Sharon Bowles MEPThe breadth of the scandal about the manipulation of benchmarks, such as LIBOR and EURIBOR, has pushed the European Commission to yesterday suggest amending its proposals of 20 October 2011 which revises EU legislation on market abuse, including criminal sanctions, currently under discussion in the European Parliament and Council.

Liberal Democrat Euro MP Sharon Bowles Chair of the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, welcomed the thrust of the Commission’s proposal to outlaw manipulations of benchmarks, punishable as criminal offence, explaining:

“Manipulation of LIBOR and other similar benchmarks is a seismic event in financial markets, which affects the pricing of many other financial instruments. Not only do we need to ensure the strongest punishments for such market abuse, we will need to examine how benchmarks are produced and if possible move to a system based on actual transactions rather than estimates.” Continue reading

McMillan-Scot: Appointment of EUSR for Human Rights

The EU High Representative, Baroness Ashton, today appointed former MEP, Stavros Lambrinidis, as the new EU Special Representative for Human Rights – a newly created position with the full backing of the European Parliament.

Edward McMillan Scott (Lib Dem, UK), European Parliament Vice President responsible for Human Rights and Democracy welcomed the appointment: Continue reading

Davies: End “scam” on vehicle emission performance

Chris Davies MEPA North West England MEP is fighting a carmaker “scam” that costs drivers hundreds of pounds in unnecessary fuel costs every year.

The European Commission today proposed a target for 2020 that could save an average driver £400 a year based on today’s fuel prices.

Fuel efficiency gains are matched by reductions in CO2 emissions, and the car industry is expected to meet the current 2015 target almost three years ahead of schedule.

Five years ago North West England Liberal Democrat MEP Chris Davies won the support of the European Parliament to call for a 95g CO2/km target by 2020.

He welcomes the progress made since then but claims that the method of testing new cars bears little relation to their use in practice.   Continue reading

Watson: Greening EU power supply: hit ‘panic button’ now, not in 2049

Sir Graham Watson MEPThe European green energy community will come together tonight (Wednesday 11 July) for the launch of a new report which has been commissioned by the Smart Energy for Europe Platform set to be the new ‘study of studies’ on greening Europe’s power supply.

The report compares and contrasts EU energy roadmaps to 2050 authored by organisations such as Greenpeace and the electricity industry, the European Climate Foundation and finally – the one that counts – the European Commission.

Sir Graham Watson MEP, who is the Chairman of a global network of MPs and MEPs from all mainstream political parties campaigning to increase government investment in renewable energy and electricity supergrids called the Climate Parliament, as well as a UK Liberal Democrat MEP and President of the ELDR party, is hosting the launch. At the event, he will say: Continue reading

Ludford: Assessing European complicity in the CIA rendition programme is overdue

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sarah ludford.jpgFive years from the European Parliament’s report into alleged European  collusion with CIA ‘extraordinary rendition’ (kidnap and secret illegal detention) developed as part of Bush “war on terror”, the Civil Liberties committee voted today on an update report. This addresses the extent to which Member States, Council and Commission have complied with their obligations to carry out full inquiries to ascertain and secure accountability for complicity in human rights abuses

UK Liberal Democrat justice and home affairs spokesperson and the author of the opinion on behalf of the Foreign Affairs committee Sarah Ludford commented: “There has been little progress in national inquiries into rendition allegations and those that have taken place have been far from full and independent. While investigations may only be capable of completion once the US fully cooperates in disclosing information on rendition practices, Member States  must not invoke spurious claims of ‘state secrecy’ to keep transgressions hidden. Continue reading

Ludford: EU law set to assist justice for Britons abroad

Baroness Sarah Ludford MEPThe European Parliament Civil Liberties Committee has adopted its position for negotiations with the EU Council of Ministers on a new law designed to guarantee all criminal suspects the right to have a lawyer before questioning and during proceedings, although it does not cover legal aid.

Liberal Democrat European justice & human rights spokeswoman and London MEP Sarah Ludford commented:

“In the UK the right to have a lawyer present during police questioning is now firmly ingrained in our legal system, not least because of bad experience of people being ‘fitted up’. Unfortunately, this right is not always respected in all EU countries.” Continue reading

Bearder: MEPs overwhelmingly reject ACTA

Catherine Bearder MEP - South East EnglandThe European Parliament today rejected the controversial Anti Counterfeiting Agreement (ACTA) with an overwhelming majority.

ACTA was aimed at protecting copyright measures across EU member states, as well as USA and Japan. However, major developing countries and counterfeit centres such as India and China did not take part in the agreement.

Civil rights campaigners also attacked ACTA because they believed it strangled online freedoms.

UK Liberal Democrat MEP Catherine Bearder, the party’s spokesperson on international trade in the European Parliament, commented after the vote: Continue reading

Watson:Cypriot presidency of the EU – small country, big challenges

Sir Graham Watson MEPDuring the plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg this week, Lib Dems highlighted the priorities and challenges that lie ahead for the incoming Cypriot presidency of the EU over the next six months. Cyprus will have to take forward the budget talks and the EU’s roadmap 2050 and will oversee EU talks on bank supervision and sovereign debt.  The worrying situation in Syria also requires strength and leadership from the EU in order to help bring about peace and freedom.

Uk Lib Dem MEPSir Graham Watson  and President of the European Liberal Democrat (ELDR) Party spoke during the debate on behalf of the Liberal Group and said that “Cyprus cannot lead by size or strength, so they must lead by example“.  Continue reading

Bennion: mandatory tachographs for vans and Landrovers are madness

Liberal Democrat MEP Phil Bennion has slammed the Greens in the European Parliament for their attempts to force all vehicles over 1.5 tonnes used for carrying goods to install digital tachographs.

The rejected Green proposals would have caused mayhem for millions of self-employed drivers, from farmers to plumbers. However, a Socialist proposal to include vehicles over 2.8t rather than the current 3.5t vehicles into the regulation originally introduced to ensure proper rest periods for long distance lorry drivers was adopted, meaning that there will be a potentially bigger administrative burden on larger vans.

Commenting after the votes on the revision of the 1985 tachograph regulation, Mr Bennion, the Liberal Democrat spokesperson on transport in the European Parliament, said:

“These proposals from Green and Socialist MEPs are nothing short of reckless and would create mayhem for millions of small businesses and self employed drivers. Continue reading

Newton Dunn: Customs authorities must be allowed to fight back against counterfeiting

Bill Newton-Dunn MEPLiberal Democrat MEP Bill Newton Dunn has criticised an alliance of Labour, Green and UKIP MEPs that voted against more effective custom checks to enforce intellectual property rights (IPR) and protect customers from potentially dangerous counterfeit products.

A majority of MEPs in the European Parliament voted today in favour of improved intellectual property protection by giving greater powers to EU customs authorities to detain and possibly destroy goods which potentially infringe upon IPRs.

Mr Newton Dunn, who has worked extensively on combating potentially dangerous counterfeit products, commented after the vote: Continue reading