Davies: Ban Discards

An agreement between ministers to curb the discard of fish has been criticised by a local Euro-MP for leaving gaping loopholes.

Fisheries ministers agreed on Wednesday (27.2) to reforms of the EU common fisheries policy, but said that close to 10% of all fish caught can still be discarded, dead.

Liberal Democrat MEP Chris Davies described the loophole as a breach of the principle that all fish caught should be landed. Continue reading

Ludford/ Bearder: EU-US trade deal unique opportunity to boost jobs and growth

Liberal Democrat MEPs have welcomed the launch of negotiations over a comprehensive trade deal between the EU and US earlier today.

 Sarah Ludford MEP, Vice-Chair of the European Parliament’s US Delegation, commented:

“The US is the EU’s most important trading partner and a hugely valuable economic partner for Britain. A transatlantic free trade deal will give a great boost to jobs and growth in both EU and the US. With such benefits on offer, this is hardly the time for the UK to exclude itself from EU leadership.” Continue reading

Lyon: “EU budget deal needs to do more on research and competitiveness”

George Lyon MEPCommenting on the news of a budget deal agreement in Brussels, Liberal Democrat MEP George Lyon and Vice President of the Budgets Committee said:

“The news that heads of state have agreed a deal on the EU budget is a sensible and realistic result that reflects the tough economic  times that ordinary people are facing.

The European Parliament’s priorities are quite clear: A realistic budget for jobs and growth, real flexibility to spend a smaller budget more effectively and a guarantee of a mid-term review in 2017 when economic times improve. Continue reading

Hall/ Davies: MEPs want quiet cars to make some noise

MEPs today voted in favour of mandatorily introducing acoustic vehicle alerting systems (AVAS) in quiet vehicles such as electric and hybrid cars to protect vulnerable road users. Road safety organisations and organisations for partially sighted and blind people such as Guide Dog had called for these acoustic warning devices in order to avoid an increased accident risk for vulnerable road users.

Lib Dem MEP leader Fiona Hall, who visited a Guide Dog branch in Newcastle to talk about the challenges faced by visually impaired road users and take part in a blindfolded walk along a busy road, commented:

“Walking blindfolded along a busy road in Newcastle, I was struck by how overwhelming normal traffic situations are for partially sighted and blind people and how important our hearing is to judge whether it is safe or not to cross a road. Continue reading

Lyon: Lib Dems call for reform of European Parliament’s budget

Today the European Parliament voted on the guiding principles for its 2014 admin budget.
Commenting after the votes, senior Liberal Democrat MEP George Lyon, Vice-President of the Budget Committee, said:
“When budgets are tight all across the EU, the European Parliament needs to set out realistic plans for future budgets and seizing opportunities to find long-term savings.
Already this year we have made cuts to Member’s travel allowances and have made significant savings in our buildings policy, but more can be done . We need to use the 2014 budget to look at whole-hearted structural reform to find further efficiencies in areas such as translation, interpretation, transport and catering and also to improve the efficiency and quality of MEP’s work. Continue reading

Davies: Fish for the Future

MEPs today voted for an ambitious reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) by 502 to 137 votes.

UK Liberal Democrat MEP, who founded the cross-party MEP campaign group Fish For the Future, commented after the historic vote:

“Today’s overwhelming support for EU fisheries reform from MEPs across all parties and nationalities puts us in a very strong negotiation position with Member States in the Council of Ministers.  The Irish Presidency has made clear it wants to complete the reform by June.

“People across Europe have said that we must stop overfishing, rebuild our fish stocks, and put an end to the waste of millions of tonnes of fish that are thrown back into the sea, dead, each year. Continue reading

Taylor: MEPs push for better access to finance for SMEs

MEPs today sent a strong signal to the European Commission to come forward with new proposals to improve access to finance for Small and Medium Enterprises’ (SMEs) by adopting a European Parliament report calling for practical new funding mechanisms and more legal certainty.

Liberal Democrat MEP Rebecca Taylor, who helped draft the report, said that 99% of businesses in the EU are classified as SMEs and pointed out that between 2002 and 2010 they created 85% of all new jobs. Stressing the need for better access to funding for SMEs in times of economic crisis, she commented after the votes  Continue reading