Europe’s common fisheries policy is set for radical reform after negotiators for EU governments and the European Parliament reached agreement in Brussels at 03.00 this morning.
Supporters of the deal claim that it paves the way for rebuilding Europe’s depleted fish stocks and curbing the discard of millions of tonnes of fish each year.
British representatives have played a key role in securing the reform. They say that it demonstrates how EU policies can be changed for the better.
An obligation to land all pelagic fish, such as mackerel, will commence from 1 January 2015. Other reforms, which must yet be formally approved by ministers and MEPs, will be phased in over subsequent years.
Long term management plans are to be prepared for every fishery with the aim of increasing fish numbers above the maximum sustainable yield.
Fishermen will have a new role in determining practices appropriate to local conditions as micro-management from Brussels is reduced.
Liberal Democrat MEP Chris Davies, secretary of the cross-party ‘Fish for the Future’ group in the European Parliament, described the deal as a major step forward that would promote sustainable fishing practices. Continue reading
Liberal Democrat MEPs in the Environment Committee today backed an important piece of legislation which will set the bar for transparency in medical research for years to come. The vote at committee stage on the Clinical Trials Regulation saw key amendments relating to transparency of clinical trial data adopted. This will require detailed clinical trial data on medicines to be published once the medicine is authorised.
Lib Dem European health spokesperson Rebecca Taylor MEP commented after the vote:
“Doctors should have access to vital safety and efficacy information on the medicines they prescribe to patients. In the past, that has not been the case. Today is the start of a sea change in data transparency that will lead to important clinical trial data being made publicly available as never before.
While I believe that it is necessary to publish detailed data for authorised medicines, some flexibility should be allowed in relation to non-commercial (academic) clinical trials, in order to encourage research and innovation rather than create barriers.
MEPs will now enter negotiations with national governments before a final vote on the legislation in the autumn.
For more information have a look at Rebecca’s blog.
On Thursday MEPs in Strasbourg are set to adopt their recommendations for the forthcoming EU-US free trade negotiations.
The EU and US together represent about half (47%) of the global economy and 30% of global trade. According to government figures, a free trade agreement between these economic powerhouses could be worth between £4-10bn a year to the UK economy.
South East MEP Catherine Bearder, the Liberal Democrat European spokesperson on trade, commented ahead of tomorrow’s historic vote:
“An EU-US trade deal would open up and increase economic activity on both sides of the Atlantic. Liberal Democrats in the European Parliament and in government in the UK are concentrating our efforts on pushing for a speedy conclusion of negotiations to strengthen the European economy and bring new private sector jobs into the UK.” Continue reading
Ahead of tomorrow’s European Council on energy, MEPs in Strasbourg today sent a strong message to national governments in support of renewable energy calling for mandatory targets for 2013.
Fiona Hall MEP, the Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the European Parliament and energy spokesperson, commented after the vote:
“The 2020 renewables target kick-started the industry and created jobs and growth in a time of economic downturn. We need to keep up the momentum – and continue to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the same time. It is a win-win situation. Continue reading
Ahead of tomorrow’s EU Summit in Brussels, the European Parliament has backed a common European strategy to combat tax fraud, evasion and havens.
UK Liberal Democrat MEP Sharon Bowles, who chairs the European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, said:
“It is totally unacceptable that corporate tax avoidance is now the norm in Europe, aided and abetted by aggressive tax planning and tax consultancy firms.
“I have been fighting for companies to pay their fair share in tax for many years now and this can only be achieved by much more transparency in how companies prepare their accounts and with much better European and international cooperation. Continue reading
Lib Dem MEPs have demanded an explanation from the European Commission regarding the decision to ban reusable olive oil dishes in restaurants, and will be tabling a series of parliamentary questions to get the bottom of the matter.
George Lyon MEP, Liberal Democrat European agriculture spokesperson, commented:
“At a time when the focus should be on promoting jobs and growth, this latest decision from the Council and European Commission really beggars belief. Banning reusable olive oil jugs would place an unnecessary burden on restaurants and potentially drive up prices for customers.” Continue reading
Responding to Lord Lawson’s call for the UK to leave the European Union Fiona Hall MEP, the leader of the Liberal Democrat delegation in the European parliament, commented:
“It is absurd to suggest that we must somehow choose between trade with Europe and with the rest of the world. We are on the cusp of a game-changing trade deal between the EU and the US, worth billions of pounds to the British economy, and major trade agreements with India and Japan are also in the pipeline. To leave the EU now would be ridiculous. We would be turning our back to the global economy and jeopardising crucial trade and investment.” Continue reading