Watson: Tory call for ban on live sport betting “disproportionate” and “unnecessary”

Sir Graham Watson MEPLiberal Democrat MEPs have refused to back proposals to ban online live betting, as adopted today by the European Parliament in a report on the gambling industry drafted by Conservative MEP Ashley Fox.

Whilstwelcoming some of the measures proposed in the report, in particular those to reduce gambling-related addiction, Lib Dem MEP Graham Watson has stated that banning live betting online would restrict consumer choice while failing to have a discernible impact on match-fixing.

The South West MEP commented: 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

Watson: EU delegation to Northern Cyprus asks South to enfranchise Turkish Cypriots

LSir Graham Watson MEPiberal Democrat MEP Sir Graham Watson today led a delegation of eight MEPs to Northern Cyprus, where he met Turkish Cypriot leader Derviş Eroğlu, leaders of the Turkish Cypriot political parties and leaders of business and non-governmental organisations.

Sir Graham said:

“Liberal Democrats deeply regret that, as Cyprus prepares to take on the rotating presidency of the EU’s Council of Ministers, the island is still divided and the Turkish Cypriots still denied the rights and privileges of EU citizenship.” Continue reading

NEWS: Watson and Clegg in Effort to reengage Britain in Europe

Sir Graham Watson MEPLeading Government Ministers, Party Leaders and European Commissioners from Liberal Democratic parties across Europe met in London on the 9th of January at the invitation of Sir Graham Watson, in his role as president of the European Liberal Democrat and Reform party (ELDR) together with UK Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the Liberal Democrats, Nick Clegg.

The main topics addressed were the European economic growth; the eurozone and treaty change and the Multi-Annual Financial Framework, the European Unions long term budget strategy. A number of key Lib Dem Ministers attended the event including Energy Secretary Chris Huhne, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander and Business Secretary Vince Cable.

Prior to the meeting, Sir Graham commented: “Finding a credible solution to the economic crisis remains the number one priority. This will inevitably require greater fiscal coordination, discipline and solidarity among Eurozone countries. The draft Reinforced Economic Union (REU) Treaty under discussion at present is one step in this regard. But fiscal austerity alone cannot solve our problems. Unless we tackle the underlying cause of the crisis – Europe’s chronic lack of competiveness in the global economy – this crisis will be the first of many more to come.”

“What Europe needs is an urgent and far-reaching reform agenda to unlock jobs and economic growth across the Union; a European liberal agenda for the 21st century. Europe has done this before, and reaped the rewards: the Single Market Programme of the 80s and 90s was a truly remarkable liberal achievement, tearing down trade barriers within Europe and unlocking unprecedented levels of new jobs, growth and prosperity. We need to recapture this level of ambition.”

European Liberal Democrats in Government therefore called on all European leaders and institutions to use the extraordinary summit on Jaunary 30th to kick-start and drive forward a plan for Jobs and Growth inEurope.