What's New
Speeches & Articles
Newsletter - Mar 2012
Contact Information
Photo Album
Parliamentary Highlights
MEPs' Transparency

The Freedom Association
Visit the
Freedom Association

Parliamentary Highlights

This is for people who want more information on actual reports/legislation going through the Parliament.

Summary of Strasbourg Session (2-5 June 2003)

Members Statute - Rothley Report

The European Parliament voted in favour of a Common Statute for MEPS. The decision contains the text of a draft Statute for MEPs and thus covers a number of highly contested issues. On the issue of salaries (the Members' "allowance"), MEPs, including British Liberal Democrats, voted in favour of a salary equivalent to 50% of the basic salary of a judge at the European Court of Justice (article 16). At present, the figure would be around €8.500 per month (or €102.000 per year).

On the other key issue of taxation (article 18), Parliament, including British Liberal Democrats, voted in favour of giving MEPs the favourable European tax, which exempts them from national taxation and National Insurance.

Jonathan Evans MEP said: "We have consistently stated that the pay of a British MEP should be equal to that of an MP in Westminster. We are also determined to ensure that MEPs pay the same tax as their constituents. For these reasons we could not support the proposals."

Regional Free Trade Areas - Mann Report

Parliament adopted an own-initiative resolution which examines the relationship between various regional free trade areas and the multilateral trading system of the WTO. The resolution argues that the different forms of regional integration, of which free trade areas are one, are not intended purely to eliminate customs duties but are also an instrument which serves geopolitical and strategic ends.

Internal Energy Market - Turmes, Rapkay, Mombaur Reports

The European Parliament adopted three legislative resolutions on the internal energy market.

Following several rounds of tri-logue talks, the Council has modified its common position, enabling compromises to be reached. A deal has been agreed on national regulatory authorities, ensuring that these will contribute to the development of the internal market and create fair competitive conditions. The need for close, transparent co-operation between these authorities and the Commission is spelt out. Parliament also succeeded in its demand that the Commission should report regularly to Parliament on the detailed provisions on labelling. In addition, where appropriate, the Commission must submit proposals to Parliament to ensure full and effective independence of distribution system operators before 1 July 2007.

Giles Chichester MEP said "This package of directives on gas and electricity for common rules in the internal market and a regulation on cross-border trading and access to networks for electricity is a big step forward in liberalising energy markets within the EU. Legal unbundling of transmission systems, rules on access for generators to the grid and setting tight deadlines for markets to be opened to give all consumers, business and domestic alike choice of supplier all represent a significant advance on the existing situation. The UK, of course, completed full liberalisation of energy markets long ago under Conservative policies and our national interest lies in opening up markets for our energy companies across the continent."

Forthcoming IGC - Commission Statement

Jonathan Evans MEP spoke in the debate on the forthcoming IGC, which will discuss the proposed EU constitution among other things.

He said that he saw the discussions leading to more centralisation and less democracy with fundamental changes to the second and third pillars i.e. foreign policy and home affairs. Furthermore, with the inclusion of the Charter and the proposal for a public prosecutor, this was far more than a "tidying up exercise". He called again on the UK Government to hold a referendum on the issue.

MEDA 2000 - Piétrasanta Report

The European Parliament adopted an own-initiative report on the MEDA programme for 2000.

The MEDA programme is the principal financial instrument of the European Union for the implementation of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership. The programme offers technical and financial support measures to accompany the reform of economic and social structures in the Mediterranean partner countries.

EU-USA Judicial Co-operation - Hernández Mollar Report

The European Parliament adopted a non-binding recommendation to the Council on the imminent EU-USA agreements on extradition and judicial co-operation in criminal law matters. Under Article 24 of the EU Treaty, these agreements will be concluded on the EU side by the Council acting alone. Parliament calls the Council's practice of excluding national parliaments and the European Parliament from the conclusion of agreements based on Article 24 "a flagrant breach of the democratic principle on which the Union claims to be founded".

MEPs insist the US should co-operate by handing over evidence in individual cases. This would enable European citizens who have committed a crime on European territory to be tried in their own country instead of being extradited to the US.

Compensation and Expulsions - Oreja Arburúa Report

The European Parliament decided, in a non-binding vote, to reject a Commission proposal on compensation to asylum seekers after expulsion. While agreeing with its substance and political objective, MEPs pointed out that it was in implementing the proposal for Directive 2001/40/EC (on the mutual recognition of decisions on the expulsion of third country nationals) Parliament had rejected it on the grounds that it lacked a proper legal basis. The European Parliament concludes that, for reasons of consistency, the present proposal should therefore also be rejected.

Conditions of Entry of 3rd Country Nationals - Roure Report

The European Parliament adopted a non-binding resolution on the conditions for entry into the EU for non-EU citizens for education or training.

The European Parliament stated that the new directive should not only apply to students, school pupils, unpaid trainees and volunteers but also to unpaid researchers from third countries. MEPs voted in favour of the opinion that the directive should only apply to legally recognised establishments of higher or professional education, in order to avoid "phantom" establishments which may serve as a gateway for illegal entry.

Movement of GMOs - Sjöstedt Report

Parliament adopted a legislative resolution on transboundary movements of genetically modified organisms.

Sulphur Content of Marine Fuels - de Roo Report

The European Parliament adopted a legislative resolution by 498 in favour, 1 against and 10 abstentions approving a directive on the sulphur content of marine fuels with a relatively large number of amendments. The aim of the Commission's proposal is to reduce the emissions of sulphur dioxide and particulates, thus lowering the extent to which ships contribute to problems of air quality and acidification. The main items in the Commission proposal are to:

•   Introduce a 1.5% sulphur limit on marine fuels used by all seagoing vessels in the Baltic, the North Sea, and the English Channel (SOx Emission Control Areas - SECA) 12 months after entry into force of this directive.
•   Introduce a 1.5% sulphur limit on marine fuels used by passenger vessels in regular service to or from any Community port from 1 July 2007.
The Parliament adopted tighter limits for sulphur fuels to be implemented at the end of 2008 in EU waters.

Protection of Young Fish - Hudghton Report

The European Parliament adopted a non-binding resolution approving technical measures for the protection of juveniles of marine organisms, together with a number of non-binding amendments.

Management of the Fishing Effort - Stevenson Report

The European Parliament adopted a non-binding resolution approving a proposal on the management of fishing resources in specific areas. On the "Irish Box", MEPs approved a non-binding amendment seeking to maintain restrictions on fisheries in the "Irish Box" for a further ten years on conservation grounds.

Neil Parish MEP said: "If we had lost this vote, the Spanish fishing fleet would have been given the green light to hoover up what is left of our fish stocks. These are in catastrophically low numbers already.

The Irish box is one of the most valuable fishing conservation areas in the world. If the Spanish had got their way this time, then I have no doubt that the other protected areas around our coastline would have shortly followed."

EU Fisheries Restructuring - Fava Report

The European Parliament called on the Commission to update its Action Plan to counter the socio-economic consequences of the ongoing reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). Parliament underlines that the plan, unveiled last November, is now outdated after the Council made important changes to reform proposals just before Christmas.

CAP Reform - Cunha Report

The European Parliament adopted this report on the Commission's proposals for far-reaching changes to the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP).

In doing so, the Parliament voted to reject plans to end the current cumbersome and time-consuming production subsidies. Instead, MEPs have proposed a complicated raft of extra form filling and regulation.

Neil Parish MEP said "For once, the European Commission has proposed a system which should reduce the red tape that cripples our farmers. But by rejecting the plans, MEPs would bring a bureaucratic nightmare down on the heads of our farmers.

The Commission plans to end the much criticised production subsidies, and bring in a yearly one-off payment to ensure farmers continue to farm. However, the Parliament has missed its chance for reform. It has voted to retain the old system, and bring in yet more measures for new payments.

CAP has been an unmitigated disaster. We want to give our farmers the freedom to farm what and how they wish. If they can get back to producing what the customer wants to buy, rather than what pays the biggest subsidy, then farming should have a future. The prospect of yet more forms to fill in would cause despair amongst our farmers."

Cereals - Souchet Report

The European Parliament adopted a resolution approving the Commission's proposal on the common organisation of the market in cereals, together with a number of non-binding amendments.

Dried Fodder - Ferrer Report

The European Parliament adopted a resolution approving the Commission proposal on the COM in dried fodder for the marketing years 2004/05 to 2007/08, together with a number of non-binding amendments.

Rice - Ojeda Report

The European Parliament adopted a non-binding resolution approving the proposal on the common organisation of the market in rice, together with a number of non-binding amendments.

Dairy Sector - Jeggle Report

The European Parliament adopted two non-binding resolutions approving proposals on the dairy sector, one on establishing a levy in the milk sector and a second on the COM in milk products, together with a number of non- binding amendments.

Hygiene of Foodstuffs for Human Consumption - Schnellhardt Report

The European Parliament supported a Commission proposal which mainly concerns official controls of fresh meat. The directive forms part of the hygiene package and provides the necessary technical addition for a recast of European legislation on food hygiene, animal diseases and official controls on products of animal origin.

Turkey's Application to the EU - Oostlander Report

The European Parliament welcomed the progress Turkey has made towards fulfilling the political criteria for EU membership but said that the conditions for the opening of accession negotiations were not yet in place. In adopting this resolution, MEPs stressed the need for comprehensive state reform and called on the Turkish government to set up a new political and constitutional system which guarantees the principles of a secular system as well as civilian control over the military.

Co-ordination Procedure in Employment - Smet Report

Parliament adopted a non-binding resolution on the "open co-ordination procedure" (sharing best practice across Member States) in the field of employment and social affairs.

The resolution highlights the need for proper supervision of new political processes such as the open method of co-ordination. This method, which has gradually become part of practical policy-making, enables Member States to co-ordinate certain policies voluntarily without giving rise to binding European legislation. However, many people fear that this process is expanding to the detriment of traditional legislation and hence of democratic scrutiny. MEPs therefore appeal to the European Convention to spell out the ground rules for the use of this method more precisely and to incorporate these in the future constitutional treaty.

Women and Sport - Fraisse Report

With the forthcoming Olympic Games in Athens and the European Year of education through sport 2004, this report calls on the Commission and the Member States to give priority to projects which encourage female participation in sport. Parliament adopted the report.

Breast Cancer - Jöns Report

The European Parliament voted in favour of a free Europe-wide mammography screening for all women between the ages of 50 and 69, followed up by free specialist treatment.

During the debate, the UK was cited as an example of good practice. Britain has reduced its breast cancer mortality rate through the introduction of free breast cancer screening and treatment for all women over the age of 50, and all Member States are now recommended to do the same.

John Bowis MEP said: "I am delighted that Europe is looking to the UK as an example of good practice. There is much that governments can do to reduce breast cancer mortality rates, and early detection will also help to reduce health care costs in the long run.

However, whilst EU member states can learn from good practice in the UK, it is clear that the UK still has much to learn from them the rest of Europe when it comes to cancer treatment. Cancer survival rates in the UK still remain below those of most of our European neighbours."

Smoke Flavourings - Malliori Report

The European Parliament adopted a legislative resolution broadly approving the Commission's proposal on smoke flavourings used in foods, although a number of amendments were also adopted. MEPs oppose the inclusion of a positive list of untreated wood which may be used for the production of primary smoke condensates and primary tar fractions, arguing that the list proposed by the Commission in Annex I is not exhaustive and that traditional smoking methods and natural reserves of woods varied between Member States.

Infringements of Community Law - Fourtou Report

Parliament adopted a non-binding resolution on infringements of EU law.

Plenary Highlights 12-15 May 2003
Plenary Highlights 7-10 April 2003
"Mini" Plenary Highlights 26-27 March 2003
Plenary Highlights 10-13 March 2003
Plenary Highlights 10-13 February 2003
Plenary Highlights 13-16 January 2003
Plenary Highlights 17-20 December 2002
Plenary Highlights 18-21 November 2002
"Mini" Plenary Highlights 6-7 November 2002
Plenary Highlights 21-24 October 2002
Plenary Highlights 23-26 September 2002
Plenary Highlights 2-7 September 2002