News

17.9.15  David Campbell Bannerman Ridicules EU Migrant Postcard Plan

Interviewed by the Express,  David Campbell Bannerman MEP ridiculed the EU migrant postcard plan, saying that the approach means that member states will be ‘ keeping their fingers crossed that rejected asylum seekers voluntarily return to their country of origin”  and that migrants will actually  “report back in on their return.”   The MEP went on to say that the measure represented a  ‘dangerous new low’ for the EU and will mean in practice that   “We will be none the wiser how many rejected asylum seekers have voluntarily returned and how many have remained in the EU illegally by fleeing.’   David Campbell Bannerman concluded that “the EU’s confused and feeble policy means Europe now has no effective border with the Middle East.”

Read the article here –

http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/604840/EU-tells-migrants-Send-us-postcard-when-back-home

 

24th July 2015

David Campbell Bannerman MEP Demands Axing of EU’s Unused Parliament Complex in Luxembourg

Interviewed by the order-order.com website, David Campbell Bannerman MEP for the Eastern Counties demanded that the EU’s unused third Parliament in Luxembourg should be axed as the building hasn’t been used since 1981. This is because the building has been mothballed as the Parliament now only meets in Brussels and Strasbourg. The unused Luxembourg Parliament costs £45million to maintain as it includes a 208 seat chamber and attached buildings. Moreover, the MEP has even been refused permission to visit the Luxembourg Parliament as tours are only granted to the citizens of Luxembourg, France, Belgium, Germay and the Netherlands. This means that 65% of the EU’s entire population cannot visit a building which is paid for by their taxes. Find out more here.

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6th July 2015 David Campbell Bannerman MEP Says Greece Must Leave Euro

Interviewed on the American business news channel,  CNBC, on Sunday 5th of July 2015,  David Campbell Bannerman MEP of the Eastern Counties, said that Greece leaving the Euro would be bloody and difficult but it would be better for the country.   He stated that Greece’s debt which amounts to billions of Euros need to be wiped out and the drachma re-created in a radical solution.

See his appearance here or go to the speeches page.

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13.6.15 David Campbell Bannerman MEP speaks at Iran Freedom Conference

“European lawmaker from the UK, David Campbell Bannerman, addressed the major Iran Freedom rally in Villepinte on Saturday, June 13, 2015. The event was held at Parc des Expositions exhibition center.

Campbell Bannerman, President of the European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Iraq, called for protection of Iranian dissidents in Camp Liberty.

Iranians and their international supporters including 600 international lawmakers and personalities attended the rally in support of Iranian opposition leader Maryam Rajavi’s 10-point plan for a future free Iran.

They indicated that the prevention of nuclear proliferation and the defeat of Islamic fundamentalism calls for supporting Iran’s Parliament-in-exile, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), to bring about regime change.”

You can see the speech here

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19.5.15 David Campbell Bannerman MEP Slams EU Defence Policy

Speaking in the European Parliament on Tuesday, 19th of May 2015, David Campbell Bannerman MEP, said that the EU Parliament Danjean Report ‘invents EU defence roles that are not wanted, and not desirable.’ The MEP noted that the EU is planning ambitious operations in the Mediterranean but their plans bypass the existing NATO HQ in Naples. The MEP finished by demanding why the EU was always trying to duplicate and undermine NATO and who was going to pay for such unnecessary duplication.

Watch a recording of David’s speech here

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19.5.15 David Campbell Bannerman MEP Interviewed on BBC Radio Four PM programme on UKIP Rift

Speaking on the BBC Radio Four PM programme on Thursday 14th May 2015, David Campbell Bannerman MEP of the Eastern Counties said that UKIP was a pressure party and its future – if it has one – lies with moving to the left and appealing to Labour voters.

The MEP was interviewed with UKIP expert Matthew Goodwin who is Associate Professor of Politics at Nottingham University by Eddie Mair.

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14.5.15 UKIP has ‘outgrown’ Farage

BBC Politics Live – 14th May 2015 ( link for BBC Politics Live – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/uk-politics-32726181)

Former UKIP deputy leader David Campbell Bannerman – now a Conservative MEP – tells the BBC News Channel that his former party has “outgrown” its leader. He says Nigel Farage should step down to focus on campaigning during the In/Out referendum on membership of the European Union promised by the PM. “Nigel Farage should work on the referendum and not be fighting this great battle within the United Kingdom Independence Party,” he says. Suggesting that Conservatives’ referendum pledge won votes from UKIP’s right-leaning supporters, Mr Bannerman adds: “UKIP will have to go left if it’s to stay in existence.”

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14.5.15 David Campbell Bannerman MEP Interviewed on R5L on UKIP Split

During his interview on R5L ‘Question Time Extra Time’ on Thursday 14th of May, David Campbell Bannerman, Conservative MEP for the Eastern Counties, said that the Nigel Farage’s resignation and the UKP split was ‘farcical and entertaining’ . The MEP said that Patrick O’Flynn’s attack on Nigel Farage was ‘extraordinary’ and that it was a very personal attack from Mr O’Flynn who was UKIP’s General Election Campaign Director. David Campbell Bannerman MEP went on to say that with the Conservative victory at the General Election, UKIP had lost its unique selling point as the Conservative Government will now deliver a Brexit Referendum.

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David Campbell Bannerman MEP Believes Conservatives Will Win General Election

Interviewed on Bloomberg News on Monday 4th May, David Campbell Bannerman MEP for the Eastern Counties, said that the Conservatives will be the largest party following the 2015 General Election and may even have a small majority.

David Campbell Bannerman Speaks at International Diplomatic Forum

On Tuesday the 24th March, David Campbell Bannerman MEP of the Eastern Counties spoke on the benefits of Brexit at the World Diplomatic Forum London conference on EU/UK Relations in front of an audience of senior diplomats from around the world.


The ‘Alternatives to EU Membership’ Conference on Wednesday 18th February was hailed a great success with such leading speakers as Rt Hon Owen Paterson MP, Sir Bill Cash MP, John Mills, Matthew Elliott and of course the organiser David Campbell Bannerman MEP who spoke on EEA Lite.

You can view all the speeches from the conference by clicking this link here.

ECR EU Conference
Over 110 delegates attended the ECR EU Conference held at Europe House, London, hosted by David Campbell Bannerman MEP

To find out more information about David’s book ‘Time to Jump’ or to order a copy, you can visit the Time to Jump website here.

David Campbell Bannerman has also published ‘The Ultimate Plan B: A Positive Vision of an independent Britain outside the European Union’ booklet. You can request a copy or download a pdf. More information can be found here.

Delegates’ Response:

This is what Delegates said of the Conference:
“Thank you for hosting an excellent conference which helped me complete my journey towards euroscepticism!”
Jonathan Roberts, UK Chamber of Shipping

“Thank you very much for organising yesterday’s conference – it was truly superb!”
Rory Broomfield, The Freedom Association

“We go to so many debates and discussions about the EU and I have certainly been to my fair share over many years but this was the best by far!”
Lindsay Jenkins, author

David Campbell Bannerman with the ecigs group

Opposing EU overegulation and unjustified interference in the life of British and other citizens

 

Bloated EU squanders £440m on pen-pushers in over 120 countries

THE bloated global ambitions of Brussels bureaucrats were laid bare yesterday.

http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/413470/Bloated-EU-squanders-440m-on-pen-pushers-in-over-120-countries

Ever-expanding scope of the EU diplomatic service

SURELY there cannot be many cushier jobs than that of a member of the EU diplomatic corps posted to Barbados. Who wouldn’t jump at the chance of a couple of years of sun, sea and expenses?

http://www.express.co.uk/comment/expresscomment/413496/Ever-expanding-scope-of-the-EU-diplomatic-service

18.5.12

Euro collapse predicted by MEP two years ago

A Euro-MP predictions that the Euro will collapse look ever more certain to become a reality as Greece looks set to default on its debt repayments.

Conservative MEP David Campbell Bannerman, has been predicting the collapse of the Euro since 2010.

In a television interview nearly two years ago he said: “With its massive bailout package, the EU is trying to buck that market, and it’s not working.

“The Euro is in serious trouble.

“The Euro has always been a political project, you cannot throw billions at a political project, the markets see through it, they will bring it down, that’s what’s going to happen.

“The Euro, in its current form will collapse.

“You’re trying to force very divergent countries together, Germany is very powerful doing very well with its exports. Greece, Italy and Spain are very weak as is Ireland, you cannot force all of these countries economies together into the Euro, it doesn’t work.

“There will be a big economic cost for all of us, our banks will be hit in the UK and I don’t welcome that, however I think that by liberating these countries from this straight jacket, so they can have their own currencies, they will be able to float and get their economies moving again.”

Mr Campbell Bannerman who is in favour of a referendum over whether the UK should remain in the EU, added that the smaller economies should be relieved by approaching collapse. He explained: “For a few years now the Euro has been like a prison cell for the smaller member countries.

“There economies have been stifled, and soon they will be free to return to their own currencies and, with a devaluation, get started on a journey to recovery they could never have embarked on while being in the Euro.

“Politically, they will also be able to claw back some of the sovereignty and political power they had to give up in order to bailed out earlier in the year.

“That is why other than some short term additional economic difficulty, news of a Euro collapse could be better for growth and recovery in long run.

“It would also be confirmation that the whole EU concept is flawed, and Britain should renegotiate its membership as soon as possible.

“Just as the doomed Euro project shows the countries are too different to be forced into economic union, growing public dissatisfaction over the dearth of regulations and laws that are eroding our sovereignty shows that political union should also be stopped in its tracks.

“The Euro was the flagship project of the EU, it has failed, and with it so has the EU project itself.”

ENDS

 

20.4.12

No role for EU in Social Security,  says Euro-MP

Plans by the EU to become involved in the welfare benefits offered by member countries has been rejected by one of the UK’s Euro-MPs.

The proposals were debated at a session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Thursday, and also included recommendations on pension and self-employment.

Voting against the plans, Conservative MEP< David Campbell Bannerman said

“I don’t believe the EU should be involved in social security matters.

“I think it is trespassing into national responsibilities and it seems to be a world away from the trade agreement that the EU is meant to be about.

“I am particularly concerned about some of the self-employment elements.

“I was self-employed myself, I ran a consultancy, and in this report it refers to paying unemployment benefits to the self-employed, all around the EU.

“This again is undermining our flexible economy in Britain.

“When you are self-employed, you do things your own way, and it gives people a lot of freedom, and these proposals undermine that freedom.

“This report may be about technical matters but I’m totally against it on principle.

“The EU should keep out of social security, pensions and benefit matters.”

ENDS

 

18.4.12

Euro Problem still Unresolved

“I personally believe that Britain should leave the European Union. It might not look like it at the moment, but I think it is the best outcome for the British nation.” Said David Campbell Bannerman, in an interview with Icelandic news website mbl.is. He was in the country for the joint meeting of the European Parliament and the Government as part of their application for admission to the European Union.

Mr Campbell Bannerman says he is in favor of friendly relations and trade with the EU but does not want Britain to be part of a European political superpower. “There was a report to the EU Parliament earlier this month, I participated in discussions about, which called for a common tax system, a common welfare and benefits system, a joint pension and even common divorce law for the entire European Union. Although I voted against it, the report was approved. ”

He explained that in its current form the EU is not simply the trade agreement that British people voted to join in the 1970s “It’s a political alliance and the British nation has never consented to it.

“I think the British people should be given a referendum on our membership of the European Union to decide whether we should stay in this political union or leave it and have just a friendly business relationship through free trade agreements.”

Asked whether he believes that Britain should at some point in the future adopt the Euro as its currency, instead of the British pound, Campbell Bannerman said he did not see it happening in the future.

“There is no talk of it in the UK anymore, and it’s really not the policy of any of the three major political parties in the country. There are serious difficulties in the euro area, and there appears to be no end in sight.

“My personal opinion is that the Euro in on the verge of breakdown,” says the MEP when asked about the situation in the euro area and if he thinks the EU is taking the right steps to solve the difficulties. He said that plans to print massive amounts of Euros, to buy bonds, is a mistaken strategy: “I am very worried because it leads ultimately to worthless currency,” he says. He said that although it may lead to a temporary calming down of the money markets it would still leave the  underlying problems of the Euro area unresolved.

“It doesn’t help any of the countries facing severe difficulties. Spain and Italy are considered in this context, especially Spain. Portugal is probably next in line. Ireland is in a better position but is still confronted with great difficulties. Even Britain and France are struggling.

Mr Campbell Bannerman speculated that the problems could lead to some countries going bankrupt.

He added: “If a country does become insolvent, they should leave the Euro and devalue their currency. I think the markets will take care of the rest. I think the greatest danger that threatens the euro is that the markets lose confidence in the politicians being able or willing to solve the problems.

“The tremendous danger of printing more and more euros is that it may eventually lead to a similar situation in the German Weimar Republic, where people had to use wheelbarrows full of money to buy necessities. ”

“It brings a huge risk to try to underpin the euro in this way.”

Asked finally if he reasonably believes that Iceland could join the EU and maintain control over their own fisheries, the MEP says he has no faith in it.

“Even the fisheries manager of the European Union [Maria Damanaki], I spoke to a few weeks ago, and is herself flexible and trying to do her best, admits that there is very little room within the convention to meet the requirements of Iceland,”

He added that if Iceland were granted any significant concessions on fishing other European Union countries, including the United Kingdom, would insist on the same, which in turn would lead to the common fisheries policy failing.

“I personally believe that the current fisheries union would have dramatic consequences for the Icelandic economy and believe that it would not be in the best interests of the Icelandic nation in the long run,” says Campbell Bannerman also stated policies have cost the UK up to 100 thousand jobs, both in the fishing industry itself and related activities.

“The policy has had dramatic consequences for the British fishing industry and economy. It is of course entirely for the Icelandic nation to decide what it does, this is her decision, but I think people need to examine these issues very carefully in light of how important fishing is in Iceland. ”

ENDS

 

14.3.12

In response to the excellent news that Chelmsford is to be granted City status by The Queen, local Euro-MP David Campbell Bannerman said: “I am delighted for the people of Chelmsford.

“This is a very appropriate recognition of the importance of Chelmsford in the region and the role it plays culturally and otherwise. It is deserving of significance.

“Essex is a better place with the presence of the city, and this announcement is confirmation of that.

“I am sure that some of the other great towns in the East of England will achieve status over time.”

ENDS

 

14.3.12

EU Fishing Commissioner admits some fishing renegotiation possible in questioning by Euro MP

The EU’s Fishing Commissioner, Mrs Damanaki, acknowledged there is a groundswell of support for renegotiation of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) in Britain and for the UK taking back powers over fishing in UK waters after questioning by Conservative Euro MP David Campbell Bannerman at the Strasbourg Parliament.

She commented: “Yes I am informed about renegotiation in general. On fishing, there are some good amendments proposed from the Commons and Lords. We are trying to work with them within the framework of the (EU) treaties. I would like to welcome common proposals and show flexibility within the Treaties.”

Mr Campbell Bannerman MEP commented: “Most sensible people admit that the Common Fisheries Policy has been a disaster for Britain. We used to have 70% of the EU’s fish, now we’re lucky to have a quota of 12%. Over 100,000 UK jobs in fishing related industries have been lost and most fishing in the East of England confined to the scrapheap. Whilst I commend the Commissioner for being one of the most flexible and listening of the Commissioners, it is clear that she is left with little manoeuvre within the noose of EU Treaties. Only by leaving the EU can Britain regain its territorial waters – up to 200 miles from our coasts under international law, which has greatly benefited non-EU Norway and Iceland. We could do the same.”

ENDS

 

14.3.12

Euro-MP: Iceland would be mad to join the EU

One of the UK’s Euro-MP’s has suggested that Iceland would be ‘mad’ to join the EU.

Eastern Counties MEP David Campbell Bannerman used his speech in the European Parliament to voice his solidarity with the great majority of voters in Iceland that are against joining the 27 country union.

In his speech on Wednesday, he said: “I think, as two thirds of Icelandic people thought in a poll just last month, that Iceland would be mad to join the EU.*

“Mad because membership would destroy Iceland’s key industry – fishing – through the disastrous Common Fisheries Policy, as it has destroyed 100,000 fishing related jobs in the UK, and nearly all fishing in my East of England constituency.

“Mad because they would have to join the disastrous Eurozone and abandon the floating Krona – which has brought a boom in exports.

“Mad too to slow its economy down with a barrage of EU red tape. Iceland’s growth is currently 3.1%; EU GDP is estimated to be zero for 2012.

“Why risk it?”

Countering the argument that allowing Iceland to join the EU is the best way of recovering the UK’s losses in the ‘Icesave’ collapse, Mr Campbell Bannerman explained: “There is an effective legal mechanism outside the EU: the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) Court has already ruled they must cover Icesave.”

Accusing the EU of being deluded about Icelanders wanting to join, Mr Campbell Bannerman added: “The EU must stop kidding itself that Iceland wants to join.

“Iceland’s sane option, as I believe Britain’s is too, is to stay proud, independent and self-governing.”

ENDS

Notes:

*Capacent Gallup Poll for the  Federation of Icelandic Industries, February 2012

Further Info: Oliver Adam 07788 55 8041

 

16.2.12

‘Time to let the Euro go’ Says UK Conservative MEP

The Euro is a disaster for the World economy and has failed, whilst measures to save the Euro are more dangerous than allowing the Euro to breakup, according to one of the UK’s Euro MPs.

In a blistering speech to the European Parliament, Conservative MEP David Campbell Bannerman attacked the currency as having led to ‘the trampling of democracy’ in Greece and Italy, amongst other EU countries.

He said: “The Euro is a dangerous and failed construct and no political posturing or economic gesturing gets us away from the basic truth – that the Euro is disastrous for the world economy.

“The sooner that troubled countries like Greece default and devalue, the better.”

“The cure is now more dangerous than the malady.

“Is there no end to these desperate measures to prop-up this political currency?”

Mr Campbell Bannerman also raised concerns that the EU now finds itself having to rely on other nations that do not share our human rights values, for financial aid.

He added that the EU are: “Going cap-in-hand to China for rescue funds – and at what price?”

Accusing the EU of misusing finance from the International Monetary Fund, for Euro bailouts, and calling for the currency to be abandoned, Mr Campbell Bannerman ended: “For all our sakes, let the Euro go.”

ENDS

Watch his speech here

More info: Olly Adam. 07788 558041

26.1.12

Euro MP forces EU Commissioners to admit to damaging Small Businesses

Small Businesses are being put at risk through excessive EU over-regulation, senior EU Commissioners were forced to admit yesterday after questioning by Euro MP David Campbell Bannerman at a high level seminar.

Under questioning from the MEP, the Euro Director for trade, Ms Signe Ratso, admitted there is a danger that EU over regulation could put European companies at a disadvantage when trying to win business against non-EU companies, particularly in developing nations. Deputy Director General Mr Crespo also admitted to Mr Campbell Bannerman that the EU was over-regulated, and claimed that there would be a 25% cut in overregulation by 2012.

In response to the admission, Mr Campbell Bannerman (an Eastern Counties Euro-MP) said: “It is clear that EU over-regulation is bad for British business.

“Independent studies have put the cost of the 100,000 plus EU directives and regulations at between 4% and 10% of the UK’s GDP.

“Business leaders have told me their companies are being hamstrung by overregulation. The most recent person to express the view that the EU is heavily over-regulated was the Chairman of banking giant HSBC, Douglas Flint, in response to my questioning at a recent EU briefing.

“Although there were assurances that the EU will cut bureaucracy by 41bn Euros of a claimed EU estimate of only 140 billion Euros, it is nowhere near enough.

“According to the former EU Competition Commissioner Verheugen, overregulation costs businesses in the EU a staggering 600bn Euros per year.

“Over regulation is killing SMEs on a daily basis.”

One idea floated at the seminar was the use by SMEs of the ‘Enterprise Europe Network’, a new pan European organisation designed to make it easier for companies to export.

Mr Campbell Bannerman added: “I oppose this European Enterprise Network strongly, and even the expert Professor Smallbone of Kingston University had major doubts about it. It seems to suggest UK companies would have to follow EU rules and work with other EU companies in clusters. It is too prescriptive, and our economy is more flexible and less taxed than Continental equivalents – it could destroy SMEs, not help them.

“The EU’s share of the world’s GDP is set to decline to 15% in 2020 from 36% in 1980, therefore it is a shrinking market for UK companies, who would be better-off setting their sights further afield.”

“If British businesses want to develop, we ought to be looking to make more alliances outside of the EU rather than pursue closer ties within the EU.  Trade with the EU is only 10% of the UK economy, we need to think globally not regionally.

ENDS

Further info:  Oliver Adam 07788 55 8041

10.01.12

David Campbell Bannerman MEP appeared on ITV Anglia News and said that the new High Speed Rail Line mustn’t bypass East Anglia.

You can watch the news item here

ENDS

01.12.11

‘Red Baroness’ shot-down over absence

The EU’s Foreign Minister has been criticised for never having visited her own organisation’s head quarters in Brussels.

Details of her absence from the European Defence Agency (EDA) were revealed in an answer to a question put by Conservative Euro-MP David Campbell Bannerman.

At a meeting of the European Parliament’s Security and Defence Committee earlier this week Mr Campbell Bannerman asked the Chief Executive of the EDA, Madam Arnould,  whether her boss Baroness Ashton (Head of the European Defence Agency) had visited the EDA Headquarters. Madam Arnould had to admit that there had been no visit at all, even though the Headquaters are barely a 10 minutes drive from Ashton’s personal office.

On hearing the news, Mr Campbell Bannerman said: “I fully understand that with her background as former Treasurer of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) – ‘The Red Baroness’ Ashton would clearly prefer to ban the bomb than to discuss our defence, I really do think it quite extraordinary that in the two years since her appointment she hasn’t been able to make the 10 minute journey to visit her own Defence headquarters.”

Britain’s membership of the EDA is due to be reviewed in a years time, Mr Campbell Bannerman claims the organisation is a wasteful duplication that the UK can ill-afford in the current economic climate.

He added: “Although I’m not in favour of the EDA and it’s ambition to form a single Euro army, it beggars belief that its own Head, the person responsible for the EU’s dangerous Common Foreign and Security Policy, will not deign to visit her own headquarters.

“What an insult that is to the good military and defence people there!”

ENDS

11.10.11

David Campbell Bannerman MEP appeared on LBC’s James Whale Show to reject European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso demand that Britain should pay more for the Greek bailout.

You can listen to the broadcast here

ENDS

03.09.11

Tory presents Blueprint for EU withdrawal

As the debate over Britain’s membership of the EU gathers pace, with emphasis on a ‘new relationship’ with the EU, one of the UK’s Conservative Euro MPs has published a ground-breaking document that explains both the benefits of leaving the EU and the mechanism by which it could happen.

The move looks likely to intensify the debate within Conservative ranks, as delegates meet for their annual conference.

The booklet, called ‘The Ultimate Plan B: A Positive Vision of an independent Britain outside the European Union’ will be officially launched at Conservative conference Freedom Association fringe event on Sunday. Positive Vision tackles some of the long-held myths about what the UK receives from its membership of the EU, as well highlighting how Britain would be substantially better off by retaining trade links with the EU but withdrawing from the political union.

David Campbell Bannerman MEP, the author said: “Whilst Eurosceptic voices in the Conservative party have recently become louder, this booklet is the first proper consideration of how a fundamental renegotiation of Britain’s relationship with the EU would be of great benefit to the UK, and how it would be possible to do so.”

“It is the first time this kind of study has been undertaken so comprehensively.

“It dispels many myths that politicians use to keep in the EU, myths like the one that leaving the EU would cost us 3 million jobs, which is a nonsense as we are the EU’s largest single trading partner and we’d have a free trade agreement, as the EU already has with 53 other nations and with 74 more such agreements in preparation.”

The most significant myth it dispels is that leaving the EU would be a complex procedure, ‘Positive Vision’ explains that in theory it could be done in a single day – just by repealing Ted Heath’s 1972 Act – though negotiating a free trade agreement would take longer.

Mr Campbell Bannerman added: “There have in the past been studies that show how numerous EU regulations have such a detrimental effect on the UK, but this is the first document that shows how Britain can leave and why it should leave the EU – all done in a calm, factual and measured way.”

ENDS

Local Euro-MP says 100,000 EU regulations threaten economic recovery

One of the region’s Euro-MPs is arguing that the Parliament he is a part of should have less, not more influence in the UK, and warning that unless overregulation from the EU is slashed, the country’s economic recovery will be at risk.

In speeches at the European Parliament yesterday, (14/9/11) David Campbell Bannerman said: “Why, when 90% of the British economy is nothing to do with trade with the EU and 80% of the UK economy is trade within the UK do we have to comply with all of the EU regulations?”

As the number of laws, regulations, directives and decisions from the EU imposed on the UK smashes through the 100,000[i] mark, and costs the UK £118bn per year[ii], Campbell Bannerman fears some of the worst is still yet to come.

Companies using agency workers are set to be among the latest to be hit by a raft of EU regulations.

Mr Campbell Bannerman added: “We in the UK have a far more flexible workforce, which is vital for our prosperity and recovery. Now temporary workers could lose their contracts owing to yet more bad regulation.

“The question is why, when 80% of agency workers are in the UK, the EU should have any role in this legislation at all?

“The same is true of the dreadful Fund Managers Directive, where again, 80% of fund managers are based in the UK.

“The lesson is: EU regulation destroys jobs.

“We need less regulation now.”

[i] www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/article395139.ece

[ii] www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/6198708/EU-costs-Britain-118bn-a-year.html

ENDS

Lessons still not to keep patients safe

Three years on from the death of Suffolk man David Grey at the hands of a foreign Doctor, and one of the region’s Euro-MPs has said that new recommendations from the General Medical Council (GMC) do not go far enough in their efforts to prevent a repeat of the tragic circumstances that led to his death.

The concern comes on the day that the GMC confirm that although they have devised an induction programme for foreign Doctors, EU rules prevent them from checking that doctors from member states can actually speak English.

David Grey was killed when a Doctor Ubani from Germany, confused over which drug he was using, accidentally administered a fatal overdose to the patient.

Conservative Euro-MP David Campbell Bannerman, who has followed this case from the beginning, said: “It is encouraging that the report suggests an induction programme to teach doctors about the workings of the NHS and the expectations from UK patients, but surely the most important factor is understanding the language.

“How can a doctor know what is wrong with some one if they can’t understand what the patient is saying to them, or they cannot read the instructions and recommended dosage on a potentially dangerous drug?

“Although the government and the GMC say they are ‘working on’ trying to change the system so they can perform language checks, it has to be remembered that it is Britain’s NHS and we should be able to impose language checks immediately if we want to, not wait for the EU’s say so while millions of patients are put at risk.”

Figures show that one-in-three Doctors registered to practice in the UK qualified abroad.

Mr Campbell Bannerman added: “It cannot be right that a Doctor from and English speaking country such as Australia may have to go through more checks before being allowed to practice here than someone from a non-English speaking country within the EU.

“Under the current rules, the EU is leading to a dangerous dumbing down of an NHS that was once the envy of the world.”

ENDS

Euro-MP supports eviction but disappointed by Fellow Politician

One of the region’s Euro MPs has expressed relief for his constituents that ‘justice has finally been done’ and travellers evicted from the illegal site in Essex after a 10 year legal battle.

Up to 400 residents were thought to live on more than 50 unauthorised plots at Dale Farm, near Basildon. It is thought that up to 80 properties on the site have been built without planning permission from the local council.

The evictions started today when a last ditch legal challenge by one of the travellers failed to block the order.

Speaking this morning, Conservative MEP David Campbell Bannerman said: “The law is there for everyone to follow, not just some of us. No one is allowed to build a house without planning permission, let alone 80. That is the law, and it’s a law that has my full support.

“If a property developer built 80 houses without planning permission there would be outrage and we would rightly criticise the authorities if they did not step in, why should it be any different for travellers that build illegally?”

Claiming that the travellers only have themselves to blame for the eviction, Mr Campbell Bannerman added: “They have had years to put things right and comply with planning law, but they have ignored the law and refused to put things right. I’m sorry to say, they have brought this eviction on themselves, it’s very difficult to have any sympathy for them.

“This is about respecting democracy and the rule of law. Local, democratically accountable councillors refused planning permission, and now the law says that they should be evicted. Anyone that believes in democracy and the rule of law has to agree that the eviction should take place.

“The UK is a very densely populated country. We simply cannot allow people to build houses wherever they feel like it.

“This is not about race, culture or lifestyle, this is about respecting the rule of law and the will of local democracy.

“We must respect the will of the local people who directly and through their democratically elected councillors have said a resounding no to this development. For the last 10 years their lives have been blighted by this illegal development and I am happy for the local people that relief is now in sight.”

Although the Euro-MP is relieved the site has started to be cleared, he has expressed shock at the actions of a Labour MEP Richard Howitt, who fought to allow the travellers to stay at the site permanently, in direct contradiction to the majority of his constituents’ wishes.

Mr Campbell Bannerman finished: “I am surprised and disappointed to see a Labour MEP turning his back on the electorate and siding with the law breakers instead of the local residents. But what can you expect from a party that brought in the ridiculous and much-abused Human Rights Act, that can lead to situations like this – an act that needs to be scrapped as soon as possible.

“Labour bang-on about rights but they stay very quiet about responsibility. In my view the two go hand in hand. You cannot have one without respecting the other. More often than not the Human Rights and could be renamed as Criminal Rights and No Responsibilities Act.”

ENDS

New law could bring the sack at Christmas for Region’s workers

Jobs in the Eastern Counties could be at risk by a new law designed to improve the rights of those working under job agencies.

Local Euro-MP David Campbell Bannerman has raised concerns that the new ‘EU Agency Workers Directive’ could lead to serious job losses amongst companies using agency staff and temporary workers. To avoid the new regulations giving the workers the same benefits as permanent employees, once they have worked in the same place for more than 12 weeks, many will see their contracts terminated.

The Conservative MEP said: “Whilst it is laudable that workers are well treated, often agency and temporary workers are paid more to make up for not having the same benefits as employees. I know – I was an interim manager and consultant for some time!

“Now these EU regulations mean that after 12 weeks with the same company, agency workers will be entitled to the same pay and conditions as their permanent counterparts.

“Often, companies use agency staff because they cannot afford to take on permanent staff.

“Now they won’t have that option unless they change the staff every 12 weeks.

“That means that many people will be losing their jobs just before Christmas.”

Mr Campbell Bannerman explained that the implications for the UK will be greater than for other EU countries, he added: “The UK economy relies more on agency workers than any other country in the EU.

“8 out of 10 jobs effected by these laws will be in the UK.

“This is yet another out-of-touch law coming direct from the EU that has no understanding of how the flexible British economy works, at a time we need all the help we can get to recover from the recession.”

“This is bad news for agency staff and bad news for the businesses that rely on them. The EU has turned out to be more Scrooge than Santa.”

http://www.recruitment-views.com/new-law-could-bring-the-sack-at-christmas-for-uk-workers/1641

ENDS

3.8.11

‘Go East not West on HS2’ says Conservative MEP

David has recently secured coverage in the press, radio and television for his objection to the current proposed route of the HS2 rail link.

BBC News:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-14388165

Bedfordshire on Sunday:

http://www.bedfordshire-news.co.uk/News/Go-eastnot-west-says-MEP-03082011.htm

The original press release was as follows:

‘Go East not West on HS2’ says Conservative MEP

The proposed High Speed Rail link 2 is nothing more than a branch line from the EU and should be rerouted to serve the East and North, according to an Eastern Counties MEP who worked on the previous high speed line HS1.

The charge that the proposed link will serve the rest of the EU more than it will benefit the UK comes as the Government finalised consultation over the proposals. Eastern Counties MEP David Campbell Bannerman believes the main aim of the current proposal is simply to improve links between Birmingham and the EU’s rail network. David has served as Communications Director for UK passenger rail ( ATOC ), a Government Transport Adviser and as Communications Manager for HS1 ( the Channel Tunnel Rail Link ).

He said: “From my extensive knowledge of the industry and of consultation, what is being offered here is not a national British high speed national rail network but a very expensive branch line from the EU high speed rail network, forming part of the EU’s ‘Trans European Network’ (TEN), with the core aim of linking parts of the EU together. That is a very different objective to serving the United Kingdom with an appropriate high speed national rail network. These proposals serve EU connections well but do nothing for Wales and the West Country, and far too little for Scotland, the North and the East of England. The consultation and its purpose has been effectively misleading.”

“The real aim of a British high speed rail network should be to link major centres of populations around the UK together in order to stimulate economic growth regionally, to replace highly frequent short haul air flights and to attract people out of their cars.”

The Euro MP believes that the HS2 should provide a North-South high speed line from London to Scotland via the East Coast Main Line (ECML), fast to York, then Newcastle with some Scottish sections of high speed line, and with branches, some high speed, across to serve Nottingham (from Grantham), Manchester (from York) and the West Coast Main Line (WCML).

He also claims that his case is strengthened by the fact that the ECML is generally flatter, straighter and less urbanised that the large conurbations on the West and North West of the UK. The ECML has a major problem in capacity, and ‘hosting’ the HS2 would mean it receives the major upgrade it deserves.

In response to the consultation, Mr Campbell Bannermen, said: “The high speed rail lines are a fine and excellent proposal in general but this specific HS2 route proposed is wrong and the thinking around it is muddled, rendering the consultation seriously flawed. Just as the original HS1 Route via Kent and Bromley was abandoned in favour of an East of London route, I call for HS2 to be rerouted via the East Coast Main Line (ECML) with a comprehensive rethinking of its route, objectives and planning.”

The government consultation ended on 29th July with a decision expected later in 2011.

ENDS

15.7.11

David Campbell Bannerman MEP in robust debate with Baroness Ashton over EAS

Download David’s correspondence with Baroness Ashton here

David Campbell Bannerman MEP: The Conservative Party – not UKIP – offers the most realistic way out of the EU

It is perhaps appropriate my first article as a returned Conservative is for ConservativeHome, for I have received a genuinely warm welcome home.

Before my seven years with UKIP as Party Chairman, Deputy Leader and Head of Policy (writing the 2010 manifesto), I was a Conservative for twenty years. I served as a Government Special Adviser (Northern Ireland 1996-97), Bow Group Chairman (with Eurosceptics such as Bill Cash, Michael Howard and Dan Hannan), a Conservative councillor in Tunbridge Wells, and as a parliamentary candidate.

Having said that, I have not come home as a repentant sinner but someone who still believes in UKIP’s central message: that of British withdrawal from the EU, which many Conservative members and parliamentarians believe in too, with a number lending their vote to UKIP in European elections. My official statement graciously acknowledged this, saying: “Of course, I have not always seen eye to eye with the Conservative Party on every issue. I continue to believe personally that Britain should leave the EU”.

So why do I think that I am better pursuing this goal from the Conservative camp and not within UKIP?

There are essentially two ways for the UK to withdraw from the EU. The first is if a UK Government with a sufficient majority and manifesto commitment repeals the European Communities Act 1973. The second is a successful binding In/Out EU referendum which finds a majority of the British people wanting to leave, with their wishes then being enacted. To date I have been pursuing the first option. I joined UKIP because I believed it had the chance to become a serious, credible political party which could help achieve its goal, through political influence or elected MPs working in coalition, possibly under a new voting system. UKIP would have to win Westminster MPs, by building up its support base and electing local councillors over time, and demonstrate that the EU issue was essential to domestic issues. Hence the vital role of policy.

But I have left UKIP now because I believe it has no credible plan – its sole aim now is to achieve twenty MEPs – but it is MPs, not MEPs, that will get the UK out the EU. The party is disorganised and unfocused, has dumped four years of policy work that was beginning to make UKIP relevant in domestic elections, and has now gone to war on its own MEPs.

In short, UKIP has decided it really is a single issue pressure group rather than a political party. In that decision it has let down the many decent, principled, hard-working and dedicated people in UKIP.

So what of the second option – an In/Out referendum on the EU?

I do not come to this naively. Whilst I would personally advocate an In/Out referendum, I recognise that the official Conservative position is not to have one, but I do welcome the ‘referendum locks’ on any further transfer of sovereignty, the Sovereignty Bill, and David Cameron’s robust stance on the EU budget.

I feel though that circumstances can change rapidly, as history illustrates. Harold Wilson firmly ruled out a referendum on EEC membership in 1970, but later his shadow cabinet voted for the one that took place in 1975. Even the pro-EU Tony Blair surprised everyone by announcing a referendum on the EU constitution in 2004 saying that “the weather had changed” and in the Commons: “Let the issues be put. Let the battle be joined!”.

I think a decisive factor in an In/Out referendum taking place is to what extent Europhiles as well as Eurosceptics want to resolve the issue. The Conservatives’ partners in the Coalition, the Lib Dems, have publicly backed a ‘real’ In/Out referendum. Whilst they were decisive in opposing a UK referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, Nick Clegg said in 2008 that “it is time to give its first chance in 33 years to decide if it wants to be in or out of the EU… we have been signed up to Europe by default: two generations which have never had their say.”

The Lib Dem 2010 manifesto stated that the party would call an In/Out referendum “the next time a British government signs up for fundamental change in the relationship between the UK and the EU”.

Labour recently announced an opportunistic Eurosceptic stance, saying they may back Tory “No-Bailout” advocates, with the Shadow Treasury Minister commenting that the UK “had pumped in more than its fair share”. Whilst Ed Miliband is reported to be wary of going for an In/Out referendum (but is pro a Euro referendum), his Shadow Minister for Europe, Wayne David, said only in February that “the Labour Party is having a fundamental policy review and this [an In/Out referendum] is one of the things that will be considered”.  Old Labour, such as Tony Benn, were often withdrawalist and Labour remain the only major party ever to have advocated withdrawal in a manifesto.

If numbers get tight then the DUP’s clear position to have an In/Out referendum could be decisive. The Greens were also against a European superstate in their 2010 manifesto, and the SNP have Eurosceptic tendencies on fishing and other issues, and a consistent enthusiasm for constitutional referendums.

Public support for such a referendum is likely to grow, and politically neutral groups such as the EU Referendum Campaign and People’s Pledge are having a galvanizing effect. Many supporters of such a referendum are not Eurosceptic.

For us ‘outers’ to win such a campaign, as both the AV and EEC referendums have illustrated, the campaign needs to start right away. I think we Eurosceptics have been too focused on pointing the negatives out about the EU (we are spoilt for choice) but really have a duty to articulate what I call a ‘Positive Vision’ of an alternate, independent Britain in a friendly free trading relationship with the EU.

I think the myths need to be nailed – the ‘three million jobs lost’ argument nonsense (the EU already has 64 free trade agreements and the UK is the EU’s single largest single trading partner). The advantages of independence in terms of freedom of action (full immigration controls, restoring fishing waters to 200 miles, scrapping of the Working Time, Temporary Workers, AIFM and financial services Directives), freedom of resources (EU membership fees alone are soon to reach £60 million a day) and freedom of people (the return of democratic decisionmaking to Westminster) are all saleable.

In conclusion, I have decided with sadness that UKIP cannot achieve its stated ends as a party but retains an important role as a pressure group. I believe it is only the Conservative Party that can realistically offer a way out of the EU, through a future manifesto or through support for an In/Out referendum. Now I seek to persuade from within, not to shout from the sidelines.

Conservative Home  – http://conservativehome.blogs.com/platform/2011/06/david-campbell-bannerman-mep-the-conservative-party-is-better-placed-than-ukip-to-deliver-a-referend.html

16 March 2011

Question for written answer to the Commission

Subject: Euro army ‘start-up fund’ financial contributions from Member States

During a debate on the common foreign and security policy/common security and defence policy in Brussels in February 2011, there was mention of a ‘start-up fund’ to assist in the activities grouped under these headings. Could the Commission provide more details about the financial contributions each Member State will be making to this fund?

Answer given by High Representative/Vice President Ashton

on behalf of the Commission

6 June 2011

The procedures for setting up and administering the start-up fund will be adopted by the Council on a proposal from the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. The Commission cannot prejudge these Council decisions.

23 March 2011

Question for written answer to the Commission

Subject: Withdrawal from ECHR and EU sanctions

It has been reported in the press that the UK Government could withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights (please see Daily Telegraph (London) ‘UK “should withdraw from European Court of Human Rights”’ 8.2.2011). They claim that this would not mean having to withdraw from the European Union. Could the Commission comment on whether such a step would be grounds for action to be taken against the Member State in question? If so, could the Commission cite the legal basis for such action?

12 April 2011

Joint answer given by Mrs Reding on behalf of the Commission

The Commission would refer the Honourable Member to its answer to Written Question E‑5000/2006(1) in which the Commission explained that respect for fundamental rights as guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights is an explicit obligation for the Union under Article 6(3) of the Treaty on European Union. The Court of Justice has held that the Convention is of special importance for determining the fundamental rights that must be respected by the Member States as general principles of law when they implement Union law. The rights secured by the Convention are among the rights guaranteed by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union which are likewise addressed to Member States when they implement Union law. In the negotiations for the accession of new Union members, respect for the Convention and the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights is treated as part of the Union acquis.

The Commission also explained that any Member State deciding to withdraw from the Convention and therefore no longer bound to comply with it or to respect its enforcement procedures could, in certain circumstances, raise concern as regards the effective protection of fundamental rights by its authorities. Such a situation, which the Commission hopes will remain purely hypothetical, would need to be examined under Articles 2 and 7 of the Treaty on European Union.

Ends

17 March 2011

Question for written answer to the Commission

Subject: EU support for gang rapist in Medellin v Texas case

It has been reported in the press that the EU attempted to get the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to stop the execution in Texas of Jose Medellin, convicted for raping and murdering two teenage girls (see http://www.internationaljusticeproject.org/pdfs/40659Brief.pdf). Could the Commission clarify what was the case here? Was any further action taken by the Commission in relation to this case?

31 March 2011

Joint answer given by Mr Barroso on behalf of the Commission

The European Union presented in 2005 an amicus curiae brief to the United States Supreme Court in the case of Mr Medellin, at the initiative of the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The Honorable Member is advised to address requests for further information on this matter to the Council.

17 March 2011

Question for written answer to the Commission

Subject: Article 11(2) of the TEU and international sports and cultural forums

Article 11(2) of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) is reported by the press as meaning that all EU Member States must vote in the same way in international forums such as the UN. Could the Commission clarify whether this includes sports and cultural forums such as the International Olympic Committee and FIFA?

2 May 2011

Answer given by High representative/Vice‑President Ashton on behalf of the Commission

Article 11(2) of the Treaty establishing the European Union provides that ‘the institutions shall maintain an open, transparent and regular dialogue with representative associations and civil society’. It has no effect on the activities of the Member States in any international fora.

The question may refer to Article 24(3) of the Treaty establishing the European Union (the content of which was formerly numbered Article 11(2), before the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty). Article 24(3) sets out the principle of loyal cooperation in the common foreign and security policy. This provision is not applicable to the activities of the Member States in sports and cultural fora such as the International Olympic Committee and FIFA.

17 March 2011

Question for written answer to the Commission

Subject: Article 11(2) of the TEU and violation by Member States

Article 11(2) of the Treaty on European Union is reported by the press to mean that all EU Member States must vote in the same way in international forums such as the UN. Could the Commission provide details of sanctions that would/could be taken against any country that violated this article?

Answer given by High Representative / Vice President Ashton on behalf of the Commission

(14.6.2011)

Article 11(2) of the Treaty establishing the European Union provides that “the institutions shall maintain an open, transparent and regular dialogue with representative associations and civil society”. It has no effect on the positions to be expressed by the Member States in international fora.

It is possible that the press reports refer to Article 24(3) of the Treaty establishing the European Union. This provision reads as follows: ‘ The Member States shall support the Union’s external and security policy actively and unreservedly in a spirit of loyalty and mutual solidarity and shall comply with the Union’s action in this area’. It sets out the principle of loyal cooperation in the Common Foreign and Security Policy, which was set out earlier, before the Lisbon Treaty, in Article 11(2), of the Treaty on the European Union. Article 24(3) must be read together with Articles 4(3) and 34 of the Treaty on the European Union. These provisions do not state that Member States must always vote in the same way in international fora such as the United Nations (UN). However, they do require that Member States, once they have agreed on a Union position on an issue coming under the Common Foreign and Security Policy, they will need to comply with that position including in relevant fora. The Member States also have the obligation to refrain from any action which is contrary to the interests of the Union. There is no specific sanction mechanism foreseen, but the last sentence of Article 24(3) provides that the Council and the High Representative shall ensure compliance with its principles.

17 March 2011

Question for written answer to the Commission

Subject: Working Time Directive and NHS

It has been suggested that doctors and other medical staff (doctors, nurses, ambulance crews and midwives) will not be exempt from the EU Working Time Directive. Could the Commission clarify this?

27 April 2011

Answer given by Mr Andor on behalf of the Commission

Doctors, nurses, ambulance crews and midwives all come within the scope of the Working Time Directive(1), provided that they work for an employer. The position is different as regards self-employed persons, who are outside the scope of the directive. This may be the case, for example, for some midwives and doctors. The Commission invites the Honourable Member to refer to the Commission 2010 report(2) on implementation of the directive (and in particular Chapter 2 thereof) for more details.

17 March 2011

Question for written answer to the Commission

Subject: Leaving the EU and voting rights in the Council

It has been rumoured that during the negotiation period for a country leaving the EU, the Member State in question is not permitted to vote in the Council. Is this the case and, if so, could the Council state what the legal basis is for the bar on voting during that period?

27 May 2011

Reply

According to Article 50(1) TEU: ‘Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.’

According to Article 50(4), ‘(…) the member of the European Council or of the Council representing the withdrawing Member State shall not participate in the discussions of the European Council or Council or in decisions’ related to the negotiation of the agreement between the European Union and that State setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal or to the date from which the Treaties cease to apply to that State.

This is without prejudice to the representatives of the withdrawing State continuing to take part in the other deliberations of the European Council or of the Council of the European Union until the Treaties cease to apply to that State.

17 March 2011

Question for written answer to the Commission

Subject: Leaving EU and two year period

It has been stated that during the negotiation period for a country leaving the EU, if a deal is not agreed within two years of submitting the application to leave, the country in question is considered to be no longer under the jurisdiction of the EU, and therefore no longer an EU member. Could the Council clarify what would happen in the event that a suitable deal could not be reached within two years of informing the Council of a decision to leave the EU?

16 May 2011

Reply

The procedure for a Member State to withdraw from the European Union is set out in Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union.

According to paragraph 3 of that provision, in the absence of an agreement setting out the arrangements for the withdrawal between the Member State concerned and the European Union, the Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question two years after the notification of its intention to withdraw from the Union, unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period.

16 March 2011

Question for written answer to the Commission

Subject: VP/HR — Positive discrimination and EU Ambassadors

Will there be requirements to actively promote female ambassadors?

13 April 2011

Answer given by High Representative/Vice-President Ashton on behalf of the Commission

HR Ashton is personally committed to give the greatest importance to a strong role of women in the EEAS. The EEAS is therefore fully gender-sensitive when it comes to making appointments, not least for management functions. In the Council Decision establishing the organisation and functioning of the EEAS, there is an explicit reference to the core principle of gender balance in its Article 6(9), which is uncontested.

Clearly to ensure a greater gender balance in HQ and in Delegations, EEAS will continue to ensure the equal treatment of women applicants. But the best way to move towards greater equality is to make sure that strong women candidates apply for these positions.

For Delegations, the latest appointments of management posts in Delegations (Head of Delegation, deputy and chargé d’affaires) have doubled the proportion of women from 11 out of 146 management posts to 26. This trend will continue.

Personal Statement From Stuart Agnew MEP

Written Question: Erasmus Mundus and Iranian physics students

Thursday 24 March, 2011

Subject: Erasmus Mundus and Iranian physics students

How many Iranian students have studied physics at European universities under the Erasmus Mundus scheme?

Joint answer given by Ms Vassiliou on behalf of the Commission

Under Action 1, Erasmus Mundus Masters Courses and Joint Doctorate Programmes are delivered by consortia of universities from Europe — and increasingly — from third countries.

Many are multi-disciplinary, and combine studies in distinct but related academic areas to deliver a course that matches clear academic and/or labour-market needs. They award EU‑funded scholarships to students and doctoral candidates from third countries and — since 2010 — from the EU.

Since 2005, eight Iranian students have been awarded scholarships to study in a course that focuses on physics and/or materials science, one has been awarded a scholarship to study in a course that focuses on biological sciences (but which combines these with physics) and none have been awarded scholarships to study in a course that focuses on chemistry.

Under Action 2, Erasmus Mundus partnerships bring together universities from Europe on the one hand and those from a particular region in the world on the other. Together the partnerships manage scholarships for mobility flows between the two regions for the whole range of academic levels and for academic staff.

Since 2007, when the first partnerships were selected, three Iranian students studied physics and/or materials science at a European partner university, five studied chemistry and two students and one member of university staff have studied/taught biology at European partner universities thanks to Action 2 scholarships.

Written Question: EU Fuel Tax

Thursday 24 March, 2011

Subject: EU‑wide fuel tax

Does the EU intend to have its own EU‑wide taxation on fuel?

Answer given by Mr Lewandowski on behalf of the Commission

In the Budget Review communication(1) of 19 October the Commission provided a non‑exclusive list of candidates as a new own resource. This list included an ‘EU energy tax’.

This was further described in the Staff working paper accompanying the communication(2): ‘Existing taxes on energy consumption (in particular on motor fuels) could fully or partially (up to the level of the EU minimum tax rates) serve as own resources for the EU budget or could be replaced by an EU levy on energy/CO2 emissions. Member States could apply national duties (“surcharges”) on top of the EU duties. Member States would collect the energy levy and transfer the proceeds to the EU budget.’

It is clear that each of these candidates has its particular characteristics and presents advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, the Budget Review indicated that ‘in the light of the comments received, the Commission will submit proposals as part of its overall proposals on the next Multiannual Financial Framework’.

The Commission will now further develop its analyses on these options and, where appropriate, make concrete proposals by mid‑2011. These proposals will be made in the best interest of the European Union and take into account the positions of Member States and stakeholders.

In this context, the fact that the European Union receives own resources does not mean that it would act itself as a tax administration, alongside the national ones. Moreover, the Treaty clearly stipulates that all categories of own resources need to be laid down in the own resources decision, a document which requires unanimous agreement in Council as well as ratification by all Member States. So the Member States keep control over all sources of financing of the EU budget and will continue to do so in the future.

Written Question: Euro Collapse

Thursday 24 March, 2011

Subject: Currency use in the event of the euro collapsing

In the event of the euro collapsing in one or more EU countries, which currency will be used in the interim?

Answer given by Mr Rehn on behalf of the Commission

The Commission wishes to draw the Honorable Member’s attention to Article 140.3 TFEU: Membership in the euro area is irrevocable.

Written Question: Sanctions

Thursday 24 March, 2011

Subject: Sanctions against Member States with poor finances

It has been suggested that countries which have poor budgets will have EU payments (e.g. CAP subsidies, regional development funding) suspended until their finances are in order. Could the Commission provide clarification as to what sanctions, if any, will be levelled against Member States which show a lack of financial discipline?

Answer given by Mr Rehn on behalf of the Commission

At present sanctions are to be imposed on euro area Member States who fail to comply with a notice to take measures necessary to correct their excessive deficits issued under Article 126(9) of the TFEU(1). Those Member States can be forced to lodge a non-interest bearing deposit and ultimately to pay a fine under Article 126(11) of the TFEU. Moreover, a further possible sanction applies to Member States which are recipients of the Cohesion Fund. Here the Council may decide to suspend all or part of the outstanding commitments under this Fund if a Member State is found to have taken no effective action in response to the recommendations to correct its excessive deficit made under Article 126(7).

In order to tighten the existing provisions of the TFEU and the Stability and Growth Pact, the Commission proposed in September 2010 that for euro area Member States non-interest bearing deposits and fines would already come in at earlier stages of the excessive deficit procedure than at present(2). Moreover, in the preventive arm of the Pact(3) euro area Member States where a significant deviation from prudent fiscal policy-making is observed would be subject to an interest-bearing deposit. The legal basis of the new enforcement mechanism proposed to those ends is Article 136 of the TFEU, which is about strengthening coordination in the euro area and hence by definition cannot be applied to EU Member States which have not adopted the euro.

As announced in June 2010, the Commission is currently considering ways of extending this sanctions and incentives ‘toolbox’ to all Member States(4). This occurs notably in the context of the proposals for the next multi-annual financial framework.

Written Question: EU funding and Islamic extremist terrorism in India

Tuesday 15 June, 2010

Subject: EU funding and Islamic extremist terrorism in India

It has been alleged by the Hindu Forum of Britain that EU funding to British Islamic charities has been funnelled by the recipients to Islamic terrorist groups in India (see The Economic Times 27 July 2008 ‘Probe into UK charities funding terrorism in India’). This includes the group ‘Indian Mujahideen’ which carried out the bombings in The Gujarat province of India in July 2008, in which 45 people were killed. What investigation has the Commission launched into these allegations (if any), and what steps is the Commission taking to ensure EU funding to Islamic civil society groups is not misused or passed on to a third party?

Answer given by Mr Piebalgs on behalf of the Commission

The Commission has examined the article ‘Probe into UK charities funding terrorism in India’ which appeared in The Economic Times of 27 July 2008 but has found no mention in this article of alleged misuse of European funds which might have been channelled towards terrorist activities.

All EU grants-financed projects are genuine development-oriented projects or aimed at strengthening the rule of law, democracy and respect of human rights. The organisations which implement these projects are selected through competitive calls for proposals and on the basis of proven experience on the part of the organisations in achieving the objectives defined for the Call for Proposal in question. In the selection process the status of the applicants and possible partners are carefully assessed. As far as payments are concerned, they are carried out when clearly agreed actions defined in the contract, have been implemented by the beneficiary. The final payment is released only on the basis of an external audit report confirming the eligibility of the actions implemented in line with the contractual provisions.

Written Question: Lisbon Treaty amendment procedure

Tuesday 15 June, 2010

Subject: Lisbon Treaty amendment procedure

Article 48 of the Lisbon Treaty discusses the ways in which the Treaties can be amended in future. It mentions a distinction between a ‘simplified revision procedure’ and an ‘ordinary revision procedure’. Could the Commission provide details of the difference between these two procedures?

Answer given by Mr Barroso on behalf of the Commission

In response to the question of the Honourable Member, the Commission would like to mention that only the ‘ordinary revision procedure’ (Article 48(2-5) of the Treaty on the European Union (TEU)) foresees the convening of a Convention and a conference of representatives of the governments of the Member States (Intergovernmental Conference) to agree on the Treaty changes that are subsequently to be ratified by all Member States according to their respective constitutional provisions.

Only the ‘ordinary revision procedure’ can be applied to the full range of Treaty changes, however, while the ‘simplified revision procedures’ are limited as regards the type of amendments they can address. The ‘simplified revision procedures’ can only deal with: The revision of all or part of the provisions of Part Three of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) relating to the internal policies and action of the Union (Article 48 paragraph 6 TEU); or The special cases in the TFEU and Title V of the TEU concerning authorisation of the Council to act by qualified majority (instead of unanimity) or adoption of acts by the ordinary legislative procedure (instead of a special legislative procedure), as laid out in Article 48 paragraph 7 of the TEU. Decisions with military implications or those in the area of defence are explicitly excluded.

For both cases of the ‘simplified revision procedure’, a unanimous decision of the European Council is required. In the first case, the European Council decision must be preceded by the consultation of the European Parliament and the Commission (and by the European Central Bank in the case of institutional changes in the monetary area). The decision shall not increase the competences conferred on the Union in the Treaties and it shall not enter into force until it is approved by the Member States in accordance with their respective constitutional requirements.

In the second case (so-called ‘passarelle clauses’), an envisaged decision of the European Council must be notified to the national Parliaments. If a national Parliament makes known its opposition within six months of the date of such notification, the decision of the European Council shall not be adopted. In the absence of opposition, the European Council may adopt the decision by unanimity and after obtaining the consent of the Parliament, which shall be given by a majority of its component members.

Written Question: Lisbon Treaty and Immigration

Tuesday 15 June, 2010

Subject: Lisbon Treaty and Immigration

Article 62 of the Lisbon Treaty states that ‘The Union shall develop a policy with a view to: (a) ensuring the absence of any controls on persons, whatever their nationality, when crossing internal borders’. In reference to the comment ‘any nationality’, does this refer only to nationals of EU Member States, or any national of any state who is passing through EU territory?

Answer given by Ms Malmström on behalf of the Commission

The objective of establishing an area without internal borders in which the free movement of persons is ensured has been implemented through the establishment of the Schengen area. Currently, 22 Member States and three associated countries participate in this Schengen area without internal border control. The absence of any controls on persons, whatever their nationality, when crossing internal borders as mentioned in Article 62(1)(a) of the Lisbon Treaty [Article 77(1)(a) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union], covers EU citizens as well as third‑country nationals.

Written Question: Nord Stream pipeline and Russian naval patrols

Tuesday 15 June, 2010

Subject:  Nord Stream pipeline and Russian naval patrols

The creation of the Nord Stream pipeline between Russia and the EU will run through the Baltic Sea carrying oil and gas from Russia to the EU. Russia has stated that its navy will patrol this pipeline. Does the EU or any of its Member States in the region intend to participate militarily in these patrol missions?

Answer given by Mr Oettinger on behalf of the Commission

The planned Nord Stream project is an offshore ‘natural gas’ pipeline, which will be laid across the Baltic Sea, from Vyborg, Russia to Greifswald, Germany.

With respect to pipeline patrol to which reference is made by the Honourable Member, it should be underlined that the Commission has received no formal communication  that the Member States in the Baltic Region intend to participate militarily in patrol missions of the pipeline.

Written Question: EU amicus curiae briefs in death penalty cases in the USA

Tuesday 15 June, 2010

Subject:  EU amicus curiae briefs in death penalty cases in the USA

How many amicus curiae briefs did the EU submit in death penalty trials or hearings in the United States during the year 2008? Were these at national level or State level? What was the cost of submitting these briefs every year in the last five years?

Answer given by High Representative/Vice President Ashton on behalf of the Commission

The European Union submitted no amicus curiae briefs in death penalty trials in the United States during 2008. In 2005, the EU submitted amicus briefs to the United States Supreme Court, and to the State Supreme Courts of Oregon, Texas and Virginia. In 2006, the EU submitted an amicus brief to the State Supreme Court of Florida. All amicus curiae briefs have been prepared by lawyers acting on a pro bono basis and there have thus been no costs to the EU. The EU has been advised by an external consultant on all death penalty issues in the US, including the preparation of amicus briefs, since 2001; the fees for this consultant have been met from the national budgets of the Presidencies and not from EU funds.

Written Question: EU and Mano River Union

Tuesday 15 June, 2010

Subject: EU and Mano River Union

Does the EU have any relationship or dialogue with the Mano River Union countries of West Africa? If yes, could the Commission provide details?

Answer given by Mr Piebalgs on behalf of the Commission

The Mano River countries (Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea-Conakry, Ivory Coast) belong to the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group and therefore, their relations with the EU are governed by the EU‑ACP Partnership Agreement signed in Cotonou on 23 June 2000 and revised in Luxembourg on 25 June 2005.

The ‘Cotonou’ Agreement provides, inter alia, for reinforcement of the political dimension of relations between ACP countries and the EU. The EU maintains close links with Sierra Leone, Liberia and Ivory Coast in line with Article 8 of the Cotonou Agreement. A close political dialogue with these countries has been established. The main issues of the political dialogue include political and security situation in the country concerned, fight against corruption, human rights and democratic processes with focus on elections. The political dialogue with Mano River basin countries also comprises a regional dimension. In this context, security topics including the major security threats for the region (e.g. fight against drugs trafficking and other illegal traffics) are being discussed.

Given the political developments in Guinea-Conakry, the EU has adopted appropriate measures under Article 96 of the Cotonou Agreement suspending cooperation activities, and a common position imposing measures targeting the members of the junta and individuals associated with them, which are responsible for the violent repression or the political stalemate in the country and imposing an arms embargo. A recent follow up mission has been able to assess the progress made in implementing the roadmap towards elections and the return to constitutional order, with a view to progressively resume the suspended cooperation.

The EU is also one of the major multilateral donors in the Mano River area. The overall financial assistance through projects and budget support to Sierra Leone, Liberia and Ivory Coast amounts to almost EUR 600 million. The assistance to Guinea–Conakry is currently limited to emergency and humanitarian aid and activities in support of the political transition. A positive assessment of the roadmap implementation could allow for the progressive resumption of cooperation with Guinea.

The EU supports regional integration in West Africa through its mutual cooperation with the Economic Community of West Africa States (Ecowas) and/or the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA). The abovementioned countries take part in regional activities including the regional programmes.

Written Question: Greenland in Lisbon Treaty

Tuesday 15 June, 2010

Subject: Greenland in Lisbon Treaty

Article 188 of the Lisbon Treaty states that ‘The provisions of Articles 182 to 187 shall apply to Greenland, subject to the specific provisions for Greenland set out in the Protocol on special arrangements for Greenland, annexed to the Treaties’. Could the Commission please explain why a non-EU member is being referred to in a Treaty which only governs EU states?

Answer given by Mr Barroso on behalf of the Commission

The Kingdom of Denmark, including Greenland, joined the European Community on 1 January 1973.

However, following a referendum in 1982, Greenland expressed the wish to leave the Community.

On 13 March 1984, the Ministers for Foreign Affairs adopted a final decision on the terms of Greenland’s withdrawal, now known as the Greenland Treaty(1).

In accordance with the wishes of the Danish authorities, the territory was incorporated into the Overseas Countries and Territories. This means that only Articles 198 to 204 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, relating to the Association of the Overseas Countries and Territories, now apply to Greenland.

Finally, it should be noted that this status has a corresponding protocol (Protocol 34) on special arrangements for Greenland.

Written Question: EU funding Palestinian hate propaganda

Tuesday 15 June, 2010

Subject: EU funding Palestinian hate propaganda

The Taxpayers’ Alliance (UK) report ‘Funding Hate Education’ has alleged that money provided by the EU to the Palestinian Authority has been used to fund educational materials  promoting anti-Semitic values, and praising violent extremism. This included praise for terrorist bombings against European interests and European citizens and soldiers. What steps has the Commission taken to ensure that materials purchased under funding to the Palestinian Authority will not feature inappropriate messages?

Answer given by Mr Pielbags on behalf of the Commission

With the exception of equipment for Vocational Education and Training of a purely practical nature, the EU has not funded educational materials for the Palestinian Authority nor has it any plans to do so.

Written Question: EU representation on the Arctic Council

Tuesday 15 June, 2010

Subject: EU representation on the Arctic Council

The Arctic Council currently includes EU members Denmark, Sweden and Finland. There is currently no representation for the EU itself. In light of the Lisbon Treaty, which gives the EU a distinct legal personality, are there plans for the EU to push for its own seat on the Arctic Council, alongside those of the Member States already represented?

Answer given by High Representative/Vice President Ashton on behalf of the Commission

Along with the three EU Member States which are full Members of the Arctic Council mentioned by the Honourable Member (Denmark, Finland and Sweden), the following EU Member States are permanent observers of the Arctic Council: France, Germany, Netherlands, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom.

One of the proposals contained in the Commission Communication to Parliament and Council of 20 November 2008 on the ‘EU and the Arctic Region’(1) was to ‘enhance input to the Arctic Council in accordance with the Community’s role and potential. As a first step, the Commission will apply for permanent observer status in the Arctic Council’. The Council welcomed the communication in its Conclusions of 8 December 2008 and in particular the decision of the Commission to apply for permanent observer status.

Accordingly the Commission addressed a formal application in December 2008. It is for the Arctic Council Foreign Ministers, who meet at the end of each two-year chairmanship, to take a decision on this application. At the meeting of 29 April 2009, the discussion on the role of observers in the Arctic Council was not finalised, so that the Commission’s application, as well as those of Italy, China and the Republic of Korea, remain for the time being on the table. They will be discussed again at the next Foreign Affairs Ministerial meeting in April 2011, along with the more recent application of Japan.

The more extensive Council Conclusions on Arctic issues of 8 December 2009(2) reaffirmed the EU support to the applications of Italy and the Commission with the following statement: ‘The Council recognises the Arctic Council as the primary competent body for circumpolar regional cooperation and expresses its continued support for the applications by Italy and the Commission to become permanent observers in that body. The Council encourages Member States, and the Commission together with the EEA to continue to contribute to the work of relevant Arctic Council working groups.’ The Commission looks forward to receiving similar support from Parliament in its Report on the Arctic region, which it is  currently preparing.

Thursday 08 April, 2010:

Personal Statement From Stuart Agnew MEP

Stuart Agnew MEP, commenting on the Sunday Times story of 4th April, moved today to clarify some inaccurate remarks he made about the use of Peter Reeve, his shared Constituency Agent.

Mr Agnew MEP comments:  “I made some remarks about Peter Reeve’s work allocation that were ill considered, muddled and factually inaccurate.  I understand that the lady (who turned out to be an undercover reporter) was interested in joining the party and becoming actively involved. As a result, I underplayed the part time work Mr Reeve does for me currently.”

“Whilst I did praise Peter’s work and energy,  I have also unintentionally maligned Mr Reeve and devalued the MEP work he has done for me. I have also totally underestimated the excellent contribution Peter Reeve makes to my colleague, David Campbell Bannerman MEP. I sincerely apologise to both of them for the erroneous impression I may have created.”

“Mr Reeve is Cambridgeshire based. Much of his work is to support the MEP constituency work of Mr Campbell Bannerman, who is also Cambridge based. Mr Reeve does work part time for me on handling constituency business, assisting meetings with local media and local organisations, manning my office, researching into local government issues and handling constituency casework.”

“We have been advised today by the European Parliament Finance Department that these categories of work are all entirely legitimate for MEP staff and that there were no problems in such arrangements. They stressed that these are private agreements between the MEP, who is clearly a political person, and their employees, who are similarly political, and these arrangements are very flexible.  They said there is no definitive guidance on this.”

David Campbell Bannerman MEP added: “I have to completely disassociate myself from these remarks from Stuart Agnew about Peter Reeve. They are simply wrong. In the last month alone, for example, Peter has taken me to town council meetings in Ramsey, set up school talks, accompanied me to meetings with local journalists about constituency issues, taken me to a local airport to hear how EU legislation disadvantages private pilots, and assisted me with constituency matters and local government issues such as regional planning.”

“I have made it clear that any party work must be in his spare time, but Peter is so committed, he is prepared to work all hours for the benefit of his constituents and for us MEPs.”

“I have accepted this fulsome apology from Stuart.”

Ends

Written Question:  Trade Agreements

Thursday 07 January, 2010

Subject: EU Free Trade Agreements

What are the 10 most common clauses (conditions/articles) in EU Free Trade Agreements?

Answer given by Ms Ferrero-Waldner on behalf of the Commission (18.12.2009)

A Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is an agreement whereby the EU and another country or regional customs territory grant each other preferential access conditions into their respective markets. WTO rules specify which criteria must be met for such agreements to be compatible with the multilateral trading system, in particular Article 14 of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) for trade in goods and Article 5 of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) for trade in services (e.g. the FTA has to be reciprocal in nature; it has to provide for the liberalization of “substantially all the trade” between the parties; it does not raise barriers in the trade between the parties and the rest of the world).

FTAs are currently in place between the EU and : Switzerland, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Croatia, Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Euro-Mediterranean (Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestinian Authority, Tunisia), Chile, Mexico, South Africa, the European Economic Area (Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway), the Faroe Islands, and ACP countries.

While negotiations on a very ambitious FTA have recently been concluded with Korea, thus paving the way for its signature early in 2010, FTA negotiations are ongoing with the Gulf Cooperation Council, Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay), India, Libya, Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries, Peru and Colombia (Andean Community), Central American countries, Ukraine, Canada, and the African, Caribbean and Pacific States (ACP) countries. In addition, the EU and Turkey are engaged in a Customs Union (i.e. they have an FTA which is complemented with a common external tariff). Likewise, the EU has two other Customs Unions, with San Marino and Andorra, respectively.

Updated information regarding concluded EU agreements and ongoing negotiations can be found on the Directorate-General for Trade’s website: http://ec.europa.eu/trade/creating-opportunities/bilateral-relations/.

The content of an FTA varies between negotiating partners, as it is always the result of a specific negotiation.  However, FTAs negotiated by the EU typically tend to cover :

– elimination of customs tariffs;

– disciplines on non-tariff barriers (e.g. sanitary and phyto-sanitary measures, technical barriers to trade);

– liberalization of trade in services;

– disciplines related to investment, competition, intellectual property protection, government procurement and trade facilitation;

– commitments related to sustainable development;

– dispute settlement provisions to ensure enforceability of commitments;

–  safeguard mechanisms that allow the temporary reintroduction of customs duties in cases a surge of imports from the other party causes or threatens injury;

– provisions on rules of origin;

– institutional framework to review the implementation and operation of  the agreement

Thursday 19 November, 2009

Subject: EU pension

Could the Commission provide details of how many nationals of the United Kingdom are currently in receipt of an EU pension?  Can a list be provided of UK parliamentarians (both House of Commons and House of Lords) who are in receipt of an EU pension?

Answer given by Mr Kallas on behalf of the Commission

On 1 October 2009, there were 1 136 British citizens receiving a pension from the Community institutions’ pension scheme.

The Commission does not have a list of retired Community officials who are also members of either the House of Commons or the House of Lords.