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

Summary of Strasbourg Session (23-26 September 2002)

Commission Discipline

Conservative MEPs this week challenged the Commission to account for details of an internal report which demonstrates the failings within the EU Commission´s disciplinary process.

Chris Heaton-Harris MEP said: "This report represents a staggering indictment of the Commission's ability to handle its own affairs let alone those of the people of Europe. Over the last 5 years there have been 40 actions taken against individuals found to be guilty of a total of 48 separate infringements.

Despite cases of rape, fraud, paedophile pornography, misuse of funds, harassment, theft, forgery, striking and wounding, depraved behavior, aggression, corruption and conflict of interest, only one individual has been dismissed in the last 5 years.

The Commission's own disciplinary process is clearly unable to take appropriate action against employees who commit hideous and in some cases criminal offences.

Parliament needs to know that those responsible for this failure have themselves been removed from their posts, what new immediate measures are being put in place to improve the process and what police action has resulted from any of these infringements over the last five years."

Movement of GMOs - Sjostedt Report

Conservative MEPs voted against the Sjostedt report.

The report gives a more precise description of the documentation required to enable GMOs to be monitored throughout the export process.

Some of the worst amendments were removed in plenary. Exemptions for the movement of GM research materials in transit, and contained conditions between EU and Non-EU countries were carried. A number of unwelcome votes were lost, however, such as the scope to include foodstuffs and feed, which themselves did not contain GMOs but might be derived from them.

John Purvis MEP said "Vital amendments were passed in this report which help insure the EU can remain a practicable location for GM research. This is especially true when we consider the benefits this research could bring developing countries."

Animal Testing Resolution

Conservative MEPs this week voted in favour of a Resolution that criticised the EU Commission for failing to make progress with the introduction of its own ban on the marketing of animal testing.

John Bowis MEP, said: "It is simply not acceptable for the Commission to try to avoid compliance with its own laws. Parliament has said very clearly that it wants an end to the marketing of animal tested products with a timescale which ensures human health is protected."

"If the Commission is genuinely concerned about its legal position it should put pressure upon the Council of Ministers to agree the sensible line proposed by the Parliament."

Strasbourg Session

Conservative MEPs this week launched a campaign that called for the abolition of the Strasbourg Session of the European Parliament. This coincided with the 50th Anniversary of the first meeting of the European Coal and Steel Community´s common assembly.

Jonathan Evans MEP, Leader of the Conservatives in the European Parliament, said: "The Parliament's meeting in Strasbourg is an unnecessary waste of everyone's resources. To see 17 articulated trucks carry the contents of our offices once a month from Brussels to Strasbourg is a joke. No serious body could operate in this fashion and pretend to work effectively.

Now we know the true cost involved in this absurd arrangement, all Members should see that it is abolished.

The best anniversary gift European politicians could give the people of Europe would be an offer to return €200m in savings by abolishing the Strasbourg meeting"

Life Assurance - Inglewood Report

Lord Inglewood´s report recommended the approval of the Commission's proposal to simplify and clarify EU law on life assurance

Internal Market Commissioner Frits Bolkestein said, "EU law on life assurance had over the years become very complex. This Directive will make it clearer, more coherent, and easier to understand and apply. It is part of the EU's determined effort to simplify and clarify its legislation, to the benefit of businesses and customers."

Quality of Petrol and Diesel Fuels - Hautala Report

Conservative MEPs voted against the 'Red Diesel' amendments in the Hautala Report that would have applied the same sulphur levels to non road vehicles.

This report deals with the fight against sulphur emissions in exhaust fumes.

These amendments were voted onto the report in committee with Labour MEPs support. Consequently, they were also passed in plenary with 17 Labour MEPs abstaining, despite the govts strong rejection of these amendments

The purpose of the report is to reduce the sulphur content of petrol and diesel to a maximum of 10 mg/kg. However, Hautala wants this standard to apply not only to ordinary road vehicles but also to non-road mobile machinery and agricultural and forestry tractors. Overall the latter account for only 8.5% of diesel consumption in the EU but they have, according to the report, a polluting impact. All vehicles, from the ordinary car to the hefty bulldozer, would thus be covered by the Directive.

Robert Goodwill MEP said: "Labour says it is listening to the countryside but those MEPs who voted these measures through in Committee are clearly deaf and dumb.

With the weekend's outpouring of country feeling it is incredible that Labour MEPs may now have added to the crisis in the rural economy.

Our farmers, fishermen and construction businesses need these increases like a hole in the head. With farm incomes already rock bottom this only adds to the agony."

Recreational Craft - Callanan Report

Conservative MEPs voted in favour of the Callanan as a whole, but rejected amendments 1, 11, 13, 16 and 20 which would have made the report too strict.

The overall objective of this report is to protect human health, the well-being of citizens and the environment by reducing exhaust emissions and noise emissions of petrol and diesel engines intended for recreational craft and personal watercraft and to promote harmonised EU legislation in order to regulate exhaust and noise emissions of recreational marine engines within the internal market.

An outstanding area of concern in the second reading phase, according to Callanan, is that of craft undergoing a major craft conversion. They must have a new noise compliance test if subsequently placed on the EU Market, which would incur exorbitant costs, disproportionate to the amount of noise reduction, and which the individual owner would be obliged to bear.

Amendment 13, involving Table 1a regarding emission limits for future design and construction of propulsion engines did, however pass through.

As did Amendment 20, stipulating that in three years following the entry into force of the Directive, the Commission shall submit a proposal for a further stage of requirements and limit values for emissions from recreational craft engines.

Martin Callanan MEP said: "I am pleased with the outcome of the vote in plenary, and also that the Parliament supported all of my recomendations. I now feel that we have reached a proposal which will be good for the boating industry and boating users. The worst proposals put forward by the Germans were rejected."

Plenary Highlights 2-7 September 2002
Plenary Highlights 8-12 April 2002