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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 (10 - 13 January 2005)

Main Events of the Week:

Report on the EU Constitution

The European Parliament adopted the Corbett / Mιndez de Vigo Report on the EU Constitution - 500 MEPs voted in favour, 147 - including British Conservative MEPs - voted against. Labour and Liberal Democrat MEPs all voted for the Constitution in the face of overwhelming evidence that their constituents oppose the proposals.

Timothy Kirkhope, Leader of the Delegation, said: "I and my British Conservative Colleagues have voted against the Parliament's Report on the EU Constitution because we believe that it centralises more powers, makes the institutions more remote, reduces the powers of nation states and leads us inexorably to a European 'Superstate'."

"The UK Labour Government has deceived the public in stating that this Constitution is merely 'a tidying up exercise'. By contrast, the Belgian Prime Minister has more honestly called it 'the capstone of a European Federal State'."

"In order to be successful, Europe must develop as an equal partnership of nation states. When the British people and probably others reject this Constitution, they will not be rejecting membership of the Union. But they will be signalling very clearly their opposition to any European integration process."

"Of course, the Constitution is of such far-reaching significance that its rejection in one or more of the Member States will render it null and void, both politically and morally. Should this be the outcome of the ratification process, Europe would then have a fresh opportunity to establish a modern Union that respects and celebrates its diversity, rather than one which demands conformity and this opportunity is one that we would welcome."

Tsunami Resolution

Conservative MEPs were heavily involved in the drafting of the resolution on the recent tsunami disaster in Asia. This was adopted by the Parliament and received overwhelming support from all sides of the political spectrum. The exception however, was UKIP. Of those UKIP Members that bothered to vote, Batten, Booth, Clarke, Nattrass, Whittaker, Wise and their non-attached allies, Kilroy-Silk and Mote - all abstained.

Nirj Deva, Development Spokesman, said: "I am utterly flabbergasted by the response of UKIP to an exceptional resolution with no federalist ambition whatsoever, but rather one which genuinely attempts to alleviate the suffering of those who have already lost so much. It is sickening to think that any individual, whatever their political colours, can abstain on measures which aim to prevent the further exploitation of vulnerable orphans and export the much needed technology for early warning systems to prevent the repeat of such a disaster. Perhaps they simply did not want to join the rest of the Parliamentarians who committed themselves to donate a days wage to help the victims."

5th Motor Insurance Directive

Conservatives have been at the forefront in striving to secure a package that will help those unfortunate enough to be involved in road accidents outside their home Member States. It will also help motorists who exercise their rights to live and work in other Member States to deal with car insurance formalities.

Following Parliament's adoption, Malcolm Harbour, Internal Market Spokesman, said: "Taking into account the growing mobility of EU citizens, the improvement of motor insurance conditions is of major benefit. The Directive's approach in compensating non-resident car-drivers as quickly and simply as resident ones, is a substantial improvement for UK citizens driving abroad for private or professional reasons."

Ukraine Resolution

Parliament adopted a resolution supporting Ukraine following its recent Presidential elections.

Charles Tannock, Foreign Affairs Spokesman and the Parliament's Representative for monitoring the Ukraine elections and co-author of the resolution, said: "We congratulate the European Parliament for supporting, with such a large majority, the fledgling democracy of Ukraine and Viktor Yuschenko's intentions to join the European Union. We can be proud as Conservatives, following Michael Ancram's recent announcement, that we are among the first major European parties to endorse Ukraine's entry into the EU. It is therefore deplorable that UKIP, who having expressed their intentions to withdraw the UK from the EU, now wish to remove the right for any country to have aspirations to join. It is worth noting that only 19 Members voted against, made up of UKIP and Communists - including Batten, Booth, Clarke, Nattrass, Whittaker, Wise and their non-attached allies, Kilroy-Silk and Mote."

Votes this week

Nicholson - PEACE Programme
Adopted - Conservatives in favour

Election of the European Ombudsman
Mr. Diamandouros was elected

Medina Ortega - Civil Liability in respect of the use of motor vehicles (2nd Reading)
Adopted - Conservatives in favour

Corbett / Mιndez de Vigo - Constitution for Europe
Adopted - Conservatives against

Resolution - United Nations Framework convention on Climate Change
Adopted - Conservatives in favour

Resolution - EU aid for tidal wave victims in Asia
Adopted - Conservatives in favour

Resolution - Transatlantic relations
Adopted - Conservatives in favour

Resolution - Debt Relief for developing countries
Adopted - Conservatives in favour

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

Resolution - Results of Ukraine elections
Adopted - Conservatives in favour

Resolution (Rule 115) - Tibet: Tenzin Deleg Rinpoche
Adopted - Conservatives in favour

Resolution (Rule 115) - Torture in Iran
Adopted - Conservatives in favour

Resolution (Rule 115) - Trafficking in women and children in Cambodia
Adopted - Conservatives in favour

Party Watch - where different from Conservatives

(+) Corbett / Mιndez de Vigo - Constitution for Europe (A6-0070/2004)

Liberal Democrats
(+) Corbett / Mιndez de Vigo - Constitution for Europe (A6-0070/2004)

(-) Nicholson - PEACE Programme (A6-001/2005)
(0) Resolution - UN Framework convention on Climate Change (Kilroy-Silk & Mote (-)) (B6-0032/2005)
(0) Resolution - EU aid for tidal wave victims in Asia (RC B6-0034/2005)
(-) Resolution - Transatlantic relations (RC B6-0021/2005)
(-) Resolution - Debt Relief for developing countries (RC B6-0023/2004)
(-) Resolution - Results of Ukraine elections (RC B6-0038/2005)

•  Plenary Highlights 15 - 18 November 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