Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Strasbourg Seat "Insult to Taxpayer, Affront to Common Sense"

MEPs must be allowed to decide how the European Parliament should organise its own business. That's the message from a parliamentary hearing in Brussels organised by the EP's Constitutional Affairs Committee.

Ashley Fox MEP, a leading figure in Single Seat Campaign to scrap wasteful parliamentary sessions in Strasbourg, helped organise the hearing and is the co-author of a report for the committee on "The location of the seats of the EU institutons". Most importantly, the will of MEPs should be paramount in deciding the key question of where the Parliament holds its sessions, the hearing was told.

Friday, 17 May 2013

Tajani at 11th European Business Summit entitled "Unlocking Industrial Opportunities"

Antonio Tajani, Vice-President of the EC in charge of Industry and Entrepreneurship, participated in the 11th European Business Summit entitled "Unlocking Industrial Opportunities". This event was a joint initiative of the Federation of Enterprises of Belgium (FEB-VBO) and BusinessEurope. 

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Catalan Bull Fight – Cutting Off Spanish Funds

There are no sacred cows, in Catalunya at least. Spanish MEPs from the Catalan region have called for the European Commission to ensure that funds are not directed from the Common Agriculture Policy to benefit bullfighting in Spain. MEPs Ana Miranda, Raúl Romeva and Ramón Tremosa were joined by Spanish MP Alfred Bosch, in voicing opposition to the use of more than €500m to prop up a traditional industry which they argue would otherwise be bankrupt.

Responding to the issue in March with a written parliamentary answer, Dacian Cioloş, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, stated: “…from the 2003 CAP reform, the support under Pillar I has been decoupled from production and therefore, by definition, is granted per eligible hectare to farmers holding payment entitlements. Consequently, as there is no link to production — let alone a link to the final destination of any bulls reared by the farmer — there can be no legal provision preventing support to be paid to breeders, whose bulls are sold on for bullfighting.”

A red rag to raging MEPs. 

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Anti-Terror Political Oversight Needed - Sophie In’t Veld, MEP

“If we accept the principle that the mere request for secrecy by a third country to classify a document means it is secret, it is denying access to citizens, but also to MEPs, that is ridiculous. There is no political oversight. America would not tolerate that.” - Sophie In’t Veld, ALDE, Vice Chair of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE)


Wednesday, 8 May 2013

In Death Do We Part? Finnish Activist Murdered In Mexico

It should have been different. Mexican, Betty Cariño and Finnish national Jyri Jaakkola were on their way to San Juan Copala, Mexico, with a humanitarian convoy. The ‘Triqui’ indigenous people, had declared their commune autonomous in the Mexican state of Oaxaca, the Triqui were enduring paramilitary assaults. Cariño and Jaakkola’s convoy was supporting the Triqui when it was itself attacked. Cariño, and Jaakkola died in a hail of paramilitary bullets.

The Mexican PRI government did nothing to arrest the offenders. Several months after the attack, an opposition alliance won federal state elections and took control of the government. The current Governor, Gabino Cue, now aims to solve the case.

A European Parliament Green Group delegation visited Mexico this month, led by Green MEPs Ska Keller and Satu Hassi, the Greens having maintained a strong interest in the murders. When the two human rights activists were killed in 2010, the case drew international attention, but to date, there has been no prosecution. The case is symptomatic, say Keller and Hassi, of the wider situation in Mexico; an increasing rate of violence, especially against women, journalists and political activists is accompanied by an alarmingly high impunity.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Progress On DAB '13 Sets Stage For Long-Term Budget

President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz, the Presidency of the Council of Ministers and the President of the European Commission met in Brussels, Monday, to discuss budgetary matters. Agreement emerged on key points of the Draft Amending Budget 2013, which paves the way for negotiations to start on the Multiannual Financial Framework. 

European Parliament President Martin Schulz stated: "This was a crucial meeting on budgetary matters and good progress was made. The European Parliament wants to ensure that the EU's bills for 2013 can be paid. European citizens benefiting from programmes ranging from Erasmus to the European Social Fund must know that the necessary funds will still be available at the end of the year. Key negotiations can now be opened on the long-term EU budget, but I underline nothing is agreed until everything is agreed." 


Rehn's Spring Forecast Predicts 'Slow Recovery'

Delivering the European Commission's spring economic forecast, Olli Rehn, Commission Vice-President for Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Euro said: "In view of the protracted recession, we must do whatever it takes to overcome the unemployment crisis in Europe. The EU’s policy mix is focused on sustainable growth and job creation. Fiscal consolidation is continuing, but its pace is slowing down. In parallel, structural reforms must be intensified to unlock growth in Europe."

Rehn reported that following the recession that marked 2012, the EU economy is expected to stabilise in the first half of 2013. GDP growth is projected to turn positive gradually in the second half of the year before gaining some traction in 2014. As domestic demand is still constrained by a number of impediments that are typical of the aftermath of deep financial crises, external demand is set to be the main growth driver this year.