The European Parliament today voted on a report calling more European coopeation to address organised crime, corruption and money-laundering in the EU. The report calls for stronger maritime cooperation and border management to stamp out human-trafficking and the smuggling of counterfeit products, weapons and illegal drugs. It also calls for better information-sharing and coordination between national authorities to enable them to fight organised crime and confiscate criminal assets more effectively.
Bill Newton Dunn MEP, the Liberal Democrat Coordinator on the European Parliament’s committee on Organised Crime, commented:
“Shockingly, at a time when governments across Europe are struggling to balance the books, we are losing billions of pounds worth of tax revenue each year to gangs of ruthless criminals. VAT fraud alone is estimated to account for €100 billion of lost revenue a year to the EU, while £4.7 billion of taxes are being lost to criminals annually in the UK. Continue reading →
Chris Davies MEP, Liberal Democrat Environment Spokesman in the European Parliament, today asked what steps the European Commission is taking to reform the EU’s emissions trading system (ETS) in a parliamentary question to Environment Commissioner Connie Hedegaard.
Chris Davies said:
“The back-loading of carbon allowances approved by the European Parliament in July was an important step, but it was just a temporary sticking plaster.
“To really fix the EU’s Emissions Trading System, we need to treat the cause not just the symptoms. That means long-term structural reforms to shore up investment in green technologies, and the forging of links with other trading schemes to achieve a truly global carbon market.
“Structural reform of the ETS would also level the playing field for British industry, by bringing the price of carbon in the EU into line with our own ambitious carbon floor price.”
Speaking after new rules on flying time limits were rejected in the European Parliament’s Transport Committee today, Liberal Democrat MEP Phil Bennion commented:
“I am not convinced by the argument put forward by the pilots union that this proposal would lower standards in the UK. The British government was advised by the Civil Aviation Authority on all the safety aspects throughout the negotiations, and I believe they were right in saying that the best balance had already been struck.” Continue reading →
Liberal Democrat MEP and European Transport Spokesperson Phil Bennion has welcomed today’s ruling by the European Court of Justice that rail passengers are entitled to a partial refund of the price of their train ticket in the event of significant delay, even where that delay is attributable to “force majeure”. Continue reading →
MEPs voted today to approve the EU’s new science programme, Horizon 2020, which will invest almost £60 billion in research and innovation over the next seven years.
Fiona Hall, leader of the UK Liberal Democrat MEPs and European industry spokesperson, commented:
“This is an exciting time for the research community and for businesses up and down the country. Liberal Democrats have ensured that over £2.3 billion will be allocated to small innovative businesses, which provide the key to creating new skilled jobs and rebalancing the economy. We also pushed for simpler rules to reduce administrative costs and make it easier for smaller firms to apply for funding.” Continue reading →
Today the UK government published the first six reports of its balance of competences review, launched in July 2012, which aims to provide a comprehensive audit of the impact of EU membership on the UK.
Fiona Hall MEP, leader of the Liberal Democrats in the European Parliament, commented:
“This review should inject a welcome dose of realism into the current debate on Britain ‘s EU membership. Most importantly, it underlines that being an influential member of the EU single market is vital for jobs and growth in the UK . Continue reading →
The European Commission has announced that it will be teaming up with the private sector and national governments to invest 22 billion euros in key sectors over the next seven years. The funding will be part of the new EU research and innovation programme “Horizon 2020,” which is due to be voted on in the European Parliament in September.
Leader of the UK Liberal Democrat MEPs and European industry spokesperson Fiona Hall commented:
“Investing in innovation is the key to delivering sustainable jobs to the UK while promoting the transition to a greener, more competitive economy.” Continue reading →
Lib Dem MEP and European Transport Spokesperson Phil Bennion has welcomed proposals from the European Commission to modernise the EU’s rules on package holidays and bring them into line with the modern era. The new rules include stricter controls on price surcharges, reduced red tape for travel agents and improved cancellation rights for customers who book package holidays online.
“Almost half of Brits went on a package holiday in 2012, and in this tough econonimc climate people are increasingly looking to save money by booking customised package deals online. These new rules will strengthen the rights of customers to claim compensation, cancel their bookings and access all relevant information, even when buying online packages with several different companies across Europe. Continue reading →
Commenting on the Foreign Affair’s Committee report on the UK’s relationship with the EU, the leader of the Liberal Democrats in the European Parliament, Fiona Hall MEP, said:
“The report makes it crystal clear that the way to reform the EU is by engaging in a pan-European debate and negotiation and not by seeking special treatment as envisaged by the Conservative party. Continue reading →
Responding to Lord Lawson’s call for the UK to leave the European UnionFiona 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 →