Lib Dem MEP Leader Fiona Hall on Business for Britain report

Commenting on the report by campaigning group Business for Britain which calls for firms that do not export to the rest of the EU to be exempt from EU regulations, Leader of the Liberal Democrat MEPs Fiona Hall said:

“Ironically, this proposal would lead to less business for Britain and an increase in red tape. Having multiple sets of rules would carve the British economy in two and create a bureaucratic nightmare for businesses seeking to expand into the rest of Europe. 

“Liberal Democrats have led on reforming the EU to improve its competitiveness, including by exempting small businesses from costly accounting requirements. This should be everybody’s priority. 

“Rather than putting forward half-baked proposals, Business for Britain should be honest and admit that their real intention is to pull us out of the EU altogether, something which businesses in the UK are overwhelmingly against.”

Business Secretary Vince Cable added:

“One in 10 jobs in the UK rely on trade with the EU. By being in the EU, British businesses also benefit from a common set of rules to do business and attract foreign investors. We should be supporting all British businesses to take advantage of the single market, not holding them back by shutting the door on the biggest trading block in the world.”

Hall: Siemens to stop investment if Britain leaves EU

The managing director of Siemens UK, which employs 13,000 people across the country, has warned that his company would stop investing in factories in the UK if it was not part of the EU. He added that leaving the EU would be “disastrous” for British manufacturers. This follows a poll last month which found that eight out of ten manufacturers want to remain in the EU.

Leader of the Liberal Democrat MEPs Fiona Hall commented:

“The message from business is loud and clear, it’s in Europe in work.

“Thousands of jobs are created each year by foreign investors who see Britain as a launch-pad into the world’s largest single market. Leaving the EU would mean losing that status and putting crucial jobs and investment at risk.” Continue reading

Hall: Biofuel vote is step in the right direction

MEPs today voted in favour of a 6% cap on the amount of crops that can be used to generate energy for transport and in favour of taking indirect land use change (ILUC) factors into account, but postponed a final vote on biofuels until further deliberations.

The leader of the Lib Dem MEPs and European energy spokesperson, Fiona Hall, commented after the vote:

“Indirect land use change (ILUC) needs to be taken into account when evaluating biofuels and their potential to decarbonise the transport sector. The European Parliament signalled today that from 2020 crop-specific ILUC will indeed be factored into the calculations in the Fuel Quality Directive. Continue reading

Hall: Government review shows EU membership vital for jobs in UK

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

Hall: EU announces 22 billion euro boost for innovation

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

Hall: EU funding helps UK punch above its weight on science

Today MEPs and national ministers in Brussels agreed on the new EU research and innovation programme “Horizon 2020″.

Over the past five years, the current EU framework programme (FP7) has brought over £3 billion in science funding to the UK, supporting cutting-edge research in areas such as stem-cell therapy, clean energy and nano-technology.

The leader of the UK Liberal Democrat MEPs and European industry spokesperson Fiona Hall said:

“EU research funding has been hugely beneficial to the UK and we punch well above our weight in the science sector.

“We need this additional EU investment in our research sector to ensure that the UK retains its competitive edge and that our world class universities continue to act as a magnet for global talent.

“Economic growth and job creation are driven by innovations that rely on science and research. Research is an area with clear EU added-value and it should be a priority for EU spending.”

The deal still has to be approved by EU Member States and the Parliament’s plenary and is subject to the EU’s long term budget before it can come into force. 

Note to editors:

Horizon 2020 is structured around three pillars.

The first pillar ‘Excellence in the science base’ aims to strengthen the EU’s world-class excellence in science, particularly through a significant strengthening of the European Research Council, which mainly focuses on frontier research.

The second pillar ‘Creating industrial leadership and competitive frameworks’ aims to support business research and innovation. Actions will cover: increasing investment in enabling industrial technologies and support for innovation in SMEs with high growth potential.

The third pillar ‘Tackling societal challenges’ aims to respond directly to challenges identified in Europe 2020. Its focus will be on the challenges of: health, demographic change and well-being; food security and the bio-based economy; energy; transport; supply of raw materials; resource efficiency and climate action; inclusive, innovative and secure societies.

EU deal on cleaner and cheaper cars

Last night a deal was reached between MEPs and national ministers in Brussels on EU targets to reduce CO2 emissions in cars.

The deal confirms the 2020 target of 95g CO2/km and puts a cap on super credits that are used to reward manufacturers of polluting cars if they also produce low carbon cars such as electric, hydrogen and hybrid vehicles. 

The leader of the UK Liberal Democrat MEPs and European energy spokesperson Fiona Hall said:

“This deal will not only give much needed certainty to manufacturers and boost the production of low carbon cars; it will also benefit drivers by making cars more fuel efficient and cheaper to run. Continue reading

Hall: We need mandatory renewables target for 2030

Fiona Hall MEPAhead 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

Davies/ Hall: Conservative MEPs betray British business in carbon vote

MEPs in Strasbourg today narrowly (334-315) rejected a proposal by the European Commission to delay the auctioning of greenhouse gas allowances to avoid a further drop in the price of carbon. The European Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) was originally introduced to incentivise investments in low carbon technologies by putting a price on polluting greenhouse gas emissions.

UK Liberal Democrat MEP Chris Davies, the environment spokesman for the Liberal Democrat (ALDE) group in the European Parliament, commented after the vote:

“MEPs have turned their back on the future.  Continue reading

Hall: MEPs push for more fuel efficient and less polluting cars

Fiona Hall MEPLiberal Democrat MEP Fiona Hall welcomed today’s vote in the European Parliament’s Industry Committee to renew the procedure in which vehicles are tested on their emissions and fuel efficiency.

Current tests do not take place under real life conditions and turn a blind eye to the practice of taping over cracks around the doors and grill, over-inflated tyres, adjusting the wheel alignment and brakes, using special super-lubricants, minimising the weight of the vehicle, testing at altitude and at unrealistically high temperatures and on super-slick test-tracks.

Ms Hall was responsible for drafting a report in the Industry Committee on measures to help reach the EU’s 2020 targets of cutting CO2 emissions for passenger cars. Commenting after the vote, she said: Continue reading