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Parliamentary Highlights

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

Summary of Strasbourg Session (15 - 18 November 2004)

Main Events of the Week:

European Commission

The new Commission was adopted by Parliament with 449 in favour, 149 against and 82 abstentions.

European Court of Auditors Report

For the tenth consecutive year, the Court has been unable to give the EU's accounts the all-clear. There was no 'Statement of Assurance' on the grounds that: "the Court has no reasonable assurance that the supervisory systems and controls of significant areas of the budget are effectively implemented so as to manage the risks concerning the legality and regularity of the underlying operations."

Jonathan Evans said: "Yet again this report questions the reliability of the Commission's accounting practices and the accounts themselves. The Court indicates that nearly 95% of the EU budget has serious problems with regard to accountability and effective spending. It is time that Tony Blair and his Government refused to sign off the EU's dodgy accounts. After ten years in the Commission, the latter five as Vice-President for Administrative Reform, Neil Kinnock's legacy to the taxpayer is a decade of failure."

Instrument of Financial Support to the Turkish Cypriot Community

In April, the Council stated that it was "determined to put an end to the isolation of the Turkish Cypriot community and to facilitate the reunification of Cyprus by encouraging the economic development of the Turkish Cypriot community". As a result, the Commission proposed a package of financial assistance to the Turkish Cypriot community of €259 million. The Parliament adopted the Rothe Report with an overwhelming majority.

Conservatives supported this package on the grounds that the EU takes urgent action to assist the Turkish Cypriot community. Not only must financial assistance be provided, but provisions facilitating direct trade with northern Cyprus should also be implemented.

Climate Change

This concerns the EU strategy for the 10th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP-10) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Buenos Aires in December. Paragraph 12 of the resolution called on the Commission to reject national allocation plans that allowed unjustifiably high levels of CO2 emissions. The British Labour Government has been strongly criticised for requesting an amendment seeking to weaken its original national allocation plan and yet its Labour MEPs voted in favour of condemning such actions.

Conservatives are concerned that the opportunity to tackle climate change through a cost-effective market driven solution is being undermined and devalued so soon after the original UK plan was submitted. Industry is looking for transparency, long term certainty and fairness. Despite all the Prime Minister's rhetoric about the urgency of dealing with climate change, he has once again shown himself to be all talk and no action.

Report on the European Council Meeting

Following the recent European Council Meeting, MEPs approved a resolution outlining Parliament's position on the Lisbon Strategy, Middle East, Iraq, Sudan, Iran, and Ukraine. In the field of Freedom, Security and Justice, Parliament welcomed what it calls the "historic" decision to move to Qualified Majority Voting and codecision on Justice and Home Affairs issues.

Malcolm Harbour said: "The Dutch Presidency has clearly set out a path for improving the business climate that other Governments must follow. Cutting back on regulatory costs must be a shared task between the European Institutions and Member States. It is vital for jobs and growth that doing business is made easier and entrepreneurship is encouraged. Far too many companies - particularly small companies - are discouraged from taking advantage of the European Internal Market by a feeling that the rules are stacked against them. This has to change if Europe's targets of becoming the world's most competitive and dynamic region are to be met."

Votes this week

Daul - Seed produced in third countries (AGRI) (Consultation Procedure)
Adopted - Conservatives in favour

Gauzès - Taxation and savings income in the form of interest payments (Andorra) (ECON) (Consultation Procedure)
Adopted - Conservatives in favour

Gauzès - Taxation and savings income in the form of interest payments (Liechtenstein) (ECON) (Consultation Procedure)
Adopted - Conservatives in favour

Roure - ARGO Programme (LIBE) (Consultation Procedure)
Adopted - Conservatives in favour

Corbey - Packaging and packaging waste (ENVI) (Codecision - 1st Reading)
Adopted - Conservatives in favour

Samuelsen - European Agency for Reconstruction (AFET) (Consultation Procedure)
Adopted - Conservatives in favour

Rothe - Instrument of financial support (Turkish Cypriot community) (AFET) (Consultation Procedure)
Adopted - Conservatives in favour

Rovea i Rueda - Arms exports
Adopted - Conservatives against

Motion for a Resolution - ALTHEA mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Adopted - Conservatives against

Motion for a Resolution - Climate Change
Adopted - Conservatives in favour

Motion for a Resolution - Situation in Cuba
Adopted - Conservatives in favour

Party Watch - where different from Conservatives

(-) Resolution: Situation in Cuba (B6-156/2004)
(+) Resolution: New Commission (RC6-151/2004)
(+) Decision on New Commission (B6-164/2004)

Liberal Democrats
(+) Resolution: New Commission (RC6-151/2004)
(+) Decision on New Commission (B6-164/2004)

(-) Seed produced in third countries (AGRI)
(-) ARGO Programme (LIBE)
(0) (KILROY-SILK (-)) Instrument of financial support (Turkish Cypriot community) (AFET) (A6-007/2004)
(-) Resolution: Climate Change (ENVI) (B6-129/2004)
(0) (KILROY-SILK (-)) Resolution: Situation in Cuba (B6-156/2004)
(-) Resolution: New Commission (RC6-151/2004)
(-) Decision on New Commission (B6-164/2004)
(-) Activities of the European Ombudsman (2003) (PETI) (A6-0030/2004)

•  "Mini" Plenary Highlights 13 - 14 October 2004
•  Plenary Highlights 13-16 September 2004
•  Plenary Highlights 29 March - 1 April 2004
•  "Mini" Plenary Highlights 25-26 February 2004
•  Plenary Highlights 9-12 February 2004
•  "Mini" Plenary Highlights 28-29 January 2004
•  Plenary Highlights 12-15 January 2004
•  Plenary Highlights 17-20 November 2003
•  "Mini" Plenary Highlights 5-6 November 2003
•  Plenary Highlights 20-23 October 2003
•  Plenary Highlights 22-25 September 2003
•  Plenary Highlights 1-4 September 2003
•  Plenary Highlights 30 June - 3 July 2003
  •  Plenary Highlights 2-5 June 2003
•  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