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

Summary of Strasbourg Session (5th - 8th September 2005)

Main Events of the Session:

Tackling terrorism

The European Parliament must act to enable, not obstruct, law enforcement authorities in their efforts to combat terrorism, Timothy Kirkhope MEP, Leader of Conservatives in the European Parliament, said today in a parliamentary debate on the terrorism threat opened by Home Secretary Charles Clarke MP.

Mr Kirkhope said: "Harmonisation of anti-terrorism measures is a flawed approach. It denies our police and security services the flexibility and adaptability they need to stay one step ahead of the terrorists. Cooperation between member states is the way forward.

"It is of paramount importance that law enforcement authorities have the tools they require to protect us. They must not be hamstrung by excessive and unnecessary bureaucracy.

"Terrorists seek to divide us. To defeat them we must use the means at our disposal, particularly new technologies and advances in data retention. Let us ensure we find the right balance between the rights of individuals to fair treatment and the rights of society to live free from fear."

UKIP votes for more red tape on the "Sunshine" Directive

Conservative MEPs narrowly failed in their attempt to scrap the infamous "sunshine directive" - because UKIP MEPs voted against an amendment which would have removed natural sunlight altogether from the scope of a draft EU law at the European Parliament in Strasbourg this week.

UKIP's ten MEPs voted against this key amendment, which was tabled by the Conservatives. The amendment achieved 361 votes, with 296 against, but failed by just six votes to reach the "qualified majority" level of 367 votes required to amend legislation in a second reading.

Conservative MEPs however achieved a significant victory by persuading a majority of MEPs to support a fall-back compromise amendment which proposed that the issue be left to member states to decide.

Labour MEPs fought against this key principle of subsidiarity but were defeated. Philip Bushill-Matthews MEP, Conservative employment and social affairs spokesman in the European Parliament, said:

"We achieved a great victory today. But our victory would have been complete if MEPs from the UK Independence Party, who always boast that they are the champions of freedom against EU intrusion, had not actively voted to keep natural sunlight within this directive. They have much to answer for, and UK businesses should now know who has let them down.

"Conservatives support the original idea of this directive, to promote health and safety for workers exposed to artificial radiation from, for example, computer screens. But to extend this to monitoring natural sunlight is totally over the top, which is why we have led the way with a number of amendments.

"However, the Commission said earlier that it would not accept the Parliament's amendments. The Parliament in turn has said that the Commission must climb down. It is now up to the UK Presidency, which has lamely gone along with this proposal up until now, to start giving a firm lead on this issue. Businesses across the EU should not be burdened by yet more red tape."

Children's medicines

The European Parliament has backed a new EU regulation aimed at creating new children's medicines and ending the medical guesswork that often sees doctors estimating appropriate drug dosages for children.

John Bowis MEP, Conservative health spokesman in the European Parliament, welcomed the result of the vote, which will bring the European Union's research and development of paediatric medicines up to par with that of the United States.

The EU's record on developing medicines suitable for children is poor. Approximately 20 per cent of the EU's population is aged between 0-19 years but well over 50 per cent of medicines used to treat children have neither been tested nor authorized for use on children. Because children absorb medicines differently to adults, the side effects can be felt differently by children if they are prescribed with a smaller dose of an adult drug.

An EU fund will also be set up to coordinate research into medicines for children called "Medicines Investigation for Children of Europe". The fund will coordinate a network of paediatric medicine researchers and research centres. Speaking after the vote, Mr Bowis said:

"The European Union is seriously lagging behind the United States in its development of medicines for paediatric use. It is time we had US-style arrangements in Europe to encourage more research and authorization of drugs aimed specifically at treating children. The vote moves us another step closer towards giving a fair deal to children who will have suffered negative sideeffects after adult drugs were badly prescribed.

"Two million European infants, children and adolescents are living with a disabling disease or a physical or mental impairment. These people and their families stand to benefit from these proposals."

End EU Council secrecy

Timothy Kirkhope MEP, Leader of the Conservatives in the European Parliament, called for the UK presidency of the EU to push through reforms which would open up Council of Ministers meetings to public scrutiny.

The argument for greater transparency in the EU is something that Conservative MEPs have been championing for years. The Prime Minister said in June, ahead of Britain's assumption of the EU presidency, that there was a strong case for making Council meetings public. Mr. Kirkhope urged Tony Blair to now make the reform a priority.

Mr Kirkhope said the change was very simple to enact and long overdue. He said secrecy in the Council was undermining public confidence in the EU, and that transparency was essential to make the EU more relevant to people's lives. Although the reform was contained in the moribund European constitution, the change was not a constitutional one and did not require the adoption of the constitution.

Mr Kirkhope said:

"It is unacceptable that the Council of Ministers continues to meet behind closed doors when its members are debating new laws and it is acting as a legislative assembly. Transparency and openness are essential if the EU is to gain the confidence of its citizens and make its politicians more accountable. Making this change would be simple but its implications would be significant. I hope the British presidency will make this a priority. We do not need a constitution to get it done - we just need the political will."

Combating tropical diseases

The European Parliament supported a Conservative MEP's report calling on the European Union to give major and neglected diseases in developing countries a higher priority in its research programme.

John Bowis MEP, Conservative health spokesman in the European Parliament, won solid support for his report, which was written in response to a new programme launched by the European Commission aimed at tackling HIV/AIDS, malaria and TB.

Mr. Bowis's report highlights in particular, the lack of research that the EU carries out into lesser known diseases such as sleeping sickness and dengue fever. Between 1975 and 1999 less than one per cent of new drugs placed on the market were developed for infectious tropical diseases. Patients suffering from parasitic infections such as trachoma or potentially fatal leishmaniasis are often given archaic drugs which can be highly toxic, ineffective or difficult to administer. Mr. Bowis's report calls for urgent action to develop new drugs and to make them available to developing countries at affordable prices.

The report also draws attention to the rapidly increasing number of cases of mental illness in many developing countries. Cost-effective treatments exist for most of these disorders but appropriate mental health legislation, treatment and community care are not made the priorities that they should be.

Mr Bowis said:"The European Union is right to be addressing HIV, TB and malaria in the developing world, but there are many other diseases that also merit attention.

"Health systems in the developing world need a great deal more investment to cope with these diseases but the EU must also give these diseases the attention they deserve when it publishes its priorities for research and development.

"The international community must live up to its responsibilities and intensify work on improving treatments for diseases which are killing millions of people in poor countries."

Votes this week

Consultation of the European Economic Social Committee
Adopted - Conservatives against

Consultation of the Committee of the Regions: Debate on the EU
Adopted - Conservatives against

Brok - Protocol to the Euro-Mediterranean Agreement with Morocco, following enlargement
Adopted - Conservatives in favour

Brok - Protocol to the Euro-Mediterranean Agreement with Tunisia, following enlargement
Adopted - Conservatives in favour

Brok - Protocol to the Euro-Mediterranean Agreement with Jordan, following enlargement
Adopted - Conservatives in favour

Daul - Common organisation of the market in raw tobacco
Adopted - Conservatives abstained

Daul - Introduction to organic production of agricultural products and foodstuffs
Adopted - Conservatives in favour

Barsi-Pataky - European programme of satellite radio navigation
Adopted - Conservatives in favour

Costa - Agreement between the EC and Lebanon on certain aspects of air services
Adopted - Conservatives in favour

Costa - Agreement between the EC and Georgia on certain aspects of air services
Adopted - Conservatives in favour

Casaca - Data on fishing activities, remote sensing
Adopted - Conservatives in favour

Klamt - EC-Albania Agreement on the readmission of persons residing without authorisation
Adopted - Conservatives in favour

Gahler - Access to Community External Assistance
Adopted - Conservatives in favour

Sjöstedt - Management of waste from extractive industries
2nd reading approved - Conservatives in favour

Adopted - Conservatives in favour

Saïfi - Textiles and clothing after 2005
Adopted - Conservatives against

Weber - Television without frontiers: Application of articles 4 and 5
Adopted - Conservatives in favour

Hatzidakis - ERDF, ESF and Cohesion Fund
Adopted - Conservatives abstained

Böge - Mobilisation of the flexibility instrument (Tsunami)
Adopted - Conservatives in favour

Böge - Mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund
Adopted - Conservatives in favour

Böge - Revision of the financial perspective 2000-2006
Adopted - Conservatives in favour

Garriga Polledo - Draft amending budget no.4/2005 (Tsunami)
Adopted - Conservatives in favour

Garriga Polledo - Draft amending budget no.3/2005 (2004 spending)
Adopted - Conservatives abstained

Garriga Polledo - Draft amending budget no.5/2005 (Revenue)
Adopted - Conservatives in favour

Öry - Health and safety at work: Exposure to optical radiation
2nd reading approved - Conservatives against common position

De Sarnez - Audiovisual information services: protection of minors and human dignity
Adopted - Conservatives in favour

Grossetête - Medicinal products for paediatric use
Adopted - Conservatives in favour

Becsey - VAT: Simplifying obligations / VAT:One-stop scheme
Adopted - Conservatives in favour

Resolution - Natural disasters
Adopted - Conservatives in favour

Queiró - Basic guidelines for sustainable European tourism
Adopted - Conservatives against

Svensson - Gender discrimination in health systems
Rejected - Conservatives abstained

Honeyball - European Schools
Adopted - Conservatives in favour

Cornillet - Tourism and development
Adopted - Conservatives in favour

Bowis - Major and neglected diseases in developing countries
Adopted - Conservatives in favour

Rule 115 - Resolution - Famine in Niger
Adopted - Conservatives in favour

Rule 115 - Resolution - Human rights in China
Adopted - Conservatives in favour

Rule 115 - Resolution - Political prisoners in Syria
Adopted - Conservatives in favour

Party Watch - where different from Conservatives

(+) Garriga Polledo - Draft amending budget no.3/2005 (2004 spending) (A6-0248/2005)
(+) Queiró - Basic guidelines for sustainable European tourism (A6-0235/2005)

Liberal Democrats
(+) Daul - Common organisation of the market in raw tobacco (A6-0233/2005)
(+) Garriga Polledo - Draft amending budget no.3/2005 (2004 spending) (A6-0248/2005)
(+) Queiró - Basic guidelines for sustainable European tourism (A6-0235/2005)
(-) Svensson - Gender discrimination in health systems (A6-0250/2005)

(-) Garriga Polledo - Draft amending budget no.3/2005 (2004 spending) (A6-0248/2005)
(-) Cornillet - Tourism and development (A6-0173/2005)

•  Plenary Highlights 4 - 8 July 2005
•  Plenary Highlights 9 - 12 May 2005
•  "Mini" Plenary Highlights 25th & 26th April 2005
•  Plenary Highlights 7 - 10 March 2005
•  Plenary Highlights 10 - 13 January 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