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

Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet.
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

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

Watson: Tories must come clean on alternatives to EU membership

Sir Graham Watson MEPLiberal Democrat MEP for the South West Sir Graham Watson has commented on the speech today by Liam Fox calling for an immediate renegotiation on Britain’s membership of the European Union.

“This is a desperate move by a discredited Tory to bang the populist drum to try to revitalise an ailing political career.

“As usual, a lot of hot air is being blown but with few precise proposals. Does Mr Fox wish to see us form a Norway style relationship, where we would lose our rebate, pay £3.5 billion a year into a pot to access the single market but have no say on the directives that we would have to conform to in order to trade freely? Or perhaps a customs union, similar to Turkey, where specific goods would be tariff free but not services and where again, all directives agreed by the others without our input would have to be implemented into UK law in order to trade.” Continue reading