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Parliamentary Highlights

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

Summary of Brussels Session (6-7 November 2002)

Common Agricultural Policy - Daul Report

The European Commission has tabled a mid-term review of the EU's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). The Daul Report recognises that CAP reform is necessary in the context of enlargement, though it seeks safeguards to guarantee the survival of Europe's small farmers and in particular the 'European Agricultural Model', designed to take account of the different needs of farms across the continent.

It was reported that President Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder struck a deal at the European Council meeting last month which effectively puts proposed reform of farm policy on hold.

Neil Parish MEP said: "What farmers need is an agricultural policy which allows farmers to get more of their income from what they produce and less subsidy and political interference from Brussels. The trouble with the Mid-term review is that it is moving the CAP more than ever towards a social policy and moving farmers away from the market place."

Stability Requirements for Passenger Ships - Poignat Report

Conservatives voted in favour of the Poignat Report which broadly approves a Commission proposal on ferry safety. The report was adopted by Parliament.

One of the main dangers for a ship with an enclosed ro-ro deck is the effect of a build-up of a significant amount of water on that deck. In 1996, eight European countries decided to require higher standards of damage stability for ro-ro passenger ships, these were introduced in the context of the Stockholm Agreement (SA). According to the SA, a ship should be designed to withstand the significant wave heights that prevail in the areas where she operates. The result is that a vessel should resist capsize even with a flooded ro-ro deck up to a level of 0.5m. The proposed directive will result in the introduction of the SA in the Community framework and its extension to the Southern European waters and the Atlantic coast.

Jacqueline Foster MEP said: "In light of the appalling ferry disasters which resulted in many fatalities, the ratcheting-up of existing safety and stability requirements for these ships operating in European waters is the only way forward."

South East Europe - Lagendijk Report

Conservatives voted in favour of the Lagendijk Report which responds to the Commission's first annual report on the Stabilisation and Association process for South East Europe. The report was adopted by Parliament.

In 2000, following a decade of turmoil in the Balkans, European leaders decided that the route to stability in the region was through steadily closer association with the EU and the clear prospect of membership. This policy, known as the Stabilisation and Association process, combines the development of privileged political and economic relations with the countries in the region, supported by the substantial financial assistance programme (CARDS). The EU has provided over 5 bn to the region since 1991.

Completing the internal market - Commission statement

The European Commission made a statement on 'completing the internal market'.

Malcolm Harbour MEP said: "The completion of the market for service industries must now be a top priority. Member States can start addressing the issue now, without waiting for the Commission's proposal. For example, they could make a commitment to reform their laws on new business establishment and encourage service firms to set up cross border activities.

"Despite all the plans and targets, it is clear that many Member States are frustrating the Single Market's developments. The new competitiveness Council must make clear commitments to meet the spring 2003 deadline for introducing single market rules if it is to carry any credibility at all."

Economic and social cohesion - Schroedter Report

Conservatives voted against the Schroedter Report, which responds to the Commission's first progress report on economic and social cohesion. The report was however adopted by Parliament. The report stated that the per capita GDP criterion should not be the only indicator when it came to identifying regions in need of assistance and that other indicators reflecting regional sensitivities and development difficulties should also be taken into account.

Plenary Highlights 21-24 October 2002
Plenary Highlights 23-26 September 2002
Plenary Highlights 2-7 September 2002