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

Davies: Ban Discards

An agreement between ministers to curb the discard of fish has been criticised by a local Euro-MP for leaving gaping loopholes.

Fisheries ministers agreed on Wednesday (27.2) to reforms of the EU common fisheries policy, but said that close to 10% of all fish caught can still be discarded, dead.

Liberal Democrat MEP Chris Davies described the loophole as a breach of the principle that all fish caught should be landed. Continue reading

Lyon: “EU budget deal needs to do more on research and competitiveness”

George Lyon MEPCommenting on the news of a budget deal agreement in Brussels, Liberal Democrat MEP George Lyon and Vice President of the Budgets Committee said:

“The news that heads of state have agreed a deal on the EU budget is a sensible and realistic result that reflects the tough economic  times that ordinary people are facing.

The European Parliament’s priorities are quite clear: A realistic budget for jobs and growth, real flexibility to spend a smaller budget more effectively and a guarantee of a mid-term review in 2017 when economic times improve. Continue reading

Hall: Blow for eurosceptic Britzerland solution

Fiona Hall MEPThe EU’s 27 Member States today expressed their deep dissatisfaction with the bloc’s relationship with Switzerland calling on the country to enter into a mutual arrangement similar to the Norwegian model.

Every two years, the Council assesses its relations with the four countries countries that are part of the European Free Trade Agreement (EFTA). This year Member States declared the Swiss option as completely unsatisfactory.

Swiss participation in the single market has stalled for years as EU Member States demand a new Norway type arrangement of automatically adopting nearly all EU laws without having any say on their creation.

The leader of the Liberal Democrats in Europe, Fiona Hall MEP, commented on today’s Council report: Continue reading

McMillan-Scott calls for treaty change for Single Seat following ECJ ruling

Today the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled in Case C-237/11 (Joined Cases C-237/11, C-238/11), France v European Parliament against MEPs’ decision to merge two Strasbourg plenary sessions into one week in October.

 

Senior Liberal Democrat MEP Edward McMillan-Scott, European Parliament Vice President and co-founder of the cross-party Single Seat campaign commented: Continue reading

BEARDER: Time to bust those euromyths

Catherine Bearder MEP - South East EnglandLet’s face it, is it any surprise people in the UK get exasperated by the European Union?

They are swamped with erroneous tales of alleged devious directives and barmy plans from ‘meddling Brussels bureaucrats’.

I have my favourites.

There was the ‘fear’ sparked amongst the European male population after the story of the German man who claimed to have been made impotent by Euro coins. Continue reading

McMillan-Scott: MEPs want Treaty change in support of Single Seat for the European Parliament

On the eve of a major seminar [Strasbourg, 24 October 1330 - 1530] on the European Parliament’s controversial monthly trek from its home in Brussels to its official ‘seat’ in Strasbourg, MEPs have voted overwhelmingly to invoke their new powers under the Lisbon Treaty to propose treaty changes.

By 615 – 64, MEPs voted for a change in the treaty to allow for a Single Seat and in a series of budget votes with similar majorities pointed out that the economic and environmental savings of such a move.

The cross-party Single Seat campaign, led by two parliament Vice-Presidents, Edward McMillan-Scott (UK, Liberal Democrat) and Alexander Alvaro (Germany, FDP) has figures showing the additional costs at some €180m per year and 19,000 tonnes of CO2. They also asked governments to address the issue in the current negotiations on the EU’s Multi-Annual Financial Framework 2014 – 2020. Mr McMillan-Scott said: Continue reading

Bearder: Let’s get ‘game-changing’ EU-US Free Trade Agreement

Catherine Bearder MEP - South East EnglandLiberal Democrats in the European Parliament today welcomed the interim report of the EU-USA High Level Working Group on Jobs and Growth and urged both parties to launch a free trade agreement as soon as possible.

The interim report concludes that a ‘comprehensive transatlantic trade and investment agreement’ is the best option for supporting jobs and promoting growth and competitiveness across theAtlantic. Such an agreement could have huge benefits for the British economy, and the US Chamber of Commerce has estimated that the elimination of import tariffs alone would raise EU-US GDP by $180 billion.

Catherine Bearder MEP, Lib Dem EU spokesperson for international trade, commented:

“I call on the European Commission and their American counterparts to launch negotiations for a free trade agreement as soon as possible. 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