Showing: June 2012
Here you can find an archive of all the news items that have been on this website as well as any comments, polls or surveys.
Conservative international trade spokesman hails EU trade charge
Posted,6/27/2012 5:00:00 PM
Yesterday, three major trade announcements were hailed by the European Commission in Brussels.
Actor Hugh Grant In Brussels
Posted,6/27/2012 4:00:00 PM
by Timothy Kirkhope MEP
Light touch on battery-cage rules lets down British farmers
Posted,6/21/2012 5:00:00 PM
European Commission measures intended to put pressure on 10 countries, all of which are defying new regulations banning battery-hen cages, were criticised by Conservative MEPs today for being too light and too late. Conservative Agriculture spokesman Julie Girling said British farmers had invested millions of pounds upgrading their operations to meet the new welfare rules. Now they faced financial disaster through being undercut by continental cheats. The Commission announced today a first step towards legal action against nine member states for failing to implement new welfare rules. The new regulation bans all hen cages unless they are of an "enriched" type which allows more space as well as a nest-box, litter and perches. Commission lawyers have sent a "reasoned response" to "Belgium, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Cyprus, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland and Portugal which are still allowing the use of un-enriched cages for laying hens. Sending a reasoned opinion is a step in the procedure before referral to the EU Court of Justice. Mrs Girling said: "These key animal welfare rules came into force in January, but we have known they were coming for fully 12 years. "We have been warning long and loud that thousands of continental farmers would fail to meet the new requirements. We told the Commission it would need to act with speed and resolve to make sure British farmers - who have done the right thing by animal welfare and the law - would not lose out. "Yet six months on farmers in these 10 countries have done nothing - and their national governments have stood by. Every day that passes without decisive action is another day when British egg-producers face loss of their livelihoods because of unfair competition. "Lack of a swift and firm response has clearly led some foreign producers to think they can continue cheating the system unchallenged. "It is long past the time for 'reasoned responses' and time instead for tough and rigorous enforcement."
EU tells UK to increase VAT on energy saving materials
Posted,6/21/2012 4:00:00 PM
News that the European Commission wants the UK government to increase the VAT it levies on energy-saving materials flies in the face of its environmental messages, Martin Callanan MEP, Conservative environment spokesman in the European Parliament, said today.
Vicky Ford condemns disclosure U-turn
Posted,6/21/2012 3:00:00 PM
Conservative MEP Vicky Ford issued an sharp response today to a move by four EU member states to block vital rules on economic governance.
European Commission gets tough with Britain - over garlic
Posted,6/21/2012 3:00:00 PM
The European Commission today announced it is to take Britain to court in a marathon dispute over an unpaid garlic bill for £15 million.
London MEP’s proposals for co-ordinating EU donor registries backed by European Parliament
Posted,6/21/2012 10:00:00 AM
Proposals on tissue donations, including bone marrow, which would make it easier to find matches across Europe and help save lives were overwhelmingly approved today by the European Parliament’s Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee.
EU fisheries reform passes major hurdle
Posted,6/20/2012 6:00:00 PM
The reform of the EU's Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) passed a major hurdle today as the European Parliament's fisheries committee adopted proposals put forward by Struan Stevenson MEP, Vice-chairman of the committee.
Fox: Wasted opportunity over credit-ratings agency reforms
Posted,6/19/2012 5:00:00 PM
New rules on credit-ratings agencies, agreed by MEPs today, are a wasted opportunity to increase competition and make users less reliant on individual CRAs, British negotiator Ashley Fox said today. Mr Fox, Conservative MEP for the South West of England & Gibraltar and shadow rapporteur for the European Conservatives and Reformists group on the planned regulations, said the compromises eventually approved by a majority of the Parliament's Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee were a classic missed opportunity. He said: "The Commission and some MEPs have sought to overstretch the EU's reach into areas where it is not needed - and at the same failed to deliver the obvious and limited reforms which could have made a real difference." The bright spot in the negotiations is that Mr Fox's firm stance averted an attempt to ban CRAs such as Moody's, Fitch and Standard and Poor, from delivering unsolicited ratings on national sovereign credit-worthiness such as recent downgrades of Spain, Italy and France. Despite saying sovereign ratings should continue, however, the agreed compromise will force them into a strict reporting calendar, which Mr Fox fears will add needlessly to volatility as markets will unavoidably become "twitchy" around the report date. Under the latest version of the regulations agreed, some customers will be obliged to rotate the agencies they use, but rotation will be restricted to structured finance products only The EU will also create its own credit-worthiness authority using existing institutions, a move Mr Fox says will lack independence and therefore credibility. Organisations will be able to sue agencies if they claim to have lost out from a faulty credit rating - and the onus will be entirely on the agencies to provide absolute proof of their accuracy to avoid a potentially huge payout. Mr Fox says this has the potential to add greatly to costs, distort the market and force agencies into over-caution instead of honest assessment. He said: "I am pleased we have seen off what was effectively an attempt to ban CRAs from publicly pronouncing on the safety of sovereign debt. I said before that you don't get better weather by turning off the forecast. "However, in almost every other area this proposed regulation will be messy, misdirected and meddlesome. Our focus in negotiation has been on reducing overreliance and increasing competition - but the majority of the compromises do exactly the opposite."
Wake-up call on Europe's digital failure
Posted,6/18/2012 6:00:00 PM
Europe has received a wake-up call over its failure to gear up for the challenges and opportunities presented by the digital revolution, Giles Chichester said today.