New EU regulation on money laundering

The following is a letter sent to local media in the south east of England on Thursday 27 February 2014

New legislation drafted by UK Conservatives in the European Parliament will help law enforcement trace international money laundering.

The new regulation will strengthen rules regarding the information that accompanies all bank and wire transfers, to fill the gaps and loopholes that can be used by criminals and terrorists to launder funds. The law, which mirrors updates to international standards, is expected to enter into force next year.

Under the new the rules money transfers can be traced by law enforcement bodies by enhancing the traceability of transfers within the EU, particularly by providing more information on the payee. And it improves the procedures for verifying transfers made from outside the EU, by requiring payment providers to establish risk-based procedures to determine when necessary to execute or reject a transfer, or to demand more information.

The new rules will encourage the use of electronic money as this is vital to people who do not want to use banks. However, this regulation will seek to encourage people away from cash, which is hard to trace.

Money laundering is synonymous with terrorism and serious organised crime. Internationally, we must have in place a robust response to this challenge and this updated regulation will provide it.

Ashworth: Tragic floods merit EU solidarity cash

Richard Ashworth Conservative MEP for south east England, supports calls for the UK government to make an application for aid from Europe’s Solidarity Fund to help alleviate the suffering caused by storms and floods .
Richard Ashworth, Conservative MEP for the South East and budget spokesman for his group in the European Parliament, said: “In my book, this is exactly the kind of distress that the fund was set up to provide assistance for.

“What is happening across the south of England and Wales is nothing short of a tragedy. People are suffering and that suffering is protracted – the EU needs to respond to any request for assistance positively and as comprehensively as possible.

The UK Government is reported to be assessing whether or not to submit an application to the European Commission for relief aid under the Solidarity Fund. Past recipients have included Germany for floods last year, Italy after the Abruzzo earthquake in 2009 and France after storm Klaus the same year.

Mr Ashworth said: “I would encourage the Government to seek the money, which I think should be given a positive consideration by the Commission . It is no more that Britain deserves.

“We have always been content to do our bit in the past when other countries have suffered appalling devastation and hardship. Now that it is our turn to feel the pain, we should be treated no less favourably.

“When we are in need, it is only right that Europe should return some of our own money to the UK to provide relief.”

Zero tolerance to Female genital mutilation

The following was sent to local media on Monday 10 February 2014

UK Conservatives in the European Parliament have been at the forefront in the battle to eradicate the scandal of female genital mutilation (FGM). UK Conservatives have pushed successfully for a “a zero-tolerance approach” to the issue with 500,000 girls, from the age of only three, deemed at risk in Europe of being subjected to the barbaric practice of cutting away sexual body parts to fulfil cultural tradition. In the United Kingdom it is estimated 65,000 girls were at risk, most are believed to be in London.

MEPs from across Europe voted overwhelmingly to adopt a report which calls for concerted action across the European Union to end the global disgrace of mutilating children and women.

The resolution urges the EU Commission and its diplomatic arm the External Action Service to take a firm stance against non-European Union countries which fail to condemn FGM. It also demands that member states must pursue, prosecute and punish any EU resident involved in the ritual cutting of the genitals of young girls.

It defines the practice as a gross form of violence against women and children and calls for more thorough data to be collected on its frequency and distribution.

Ashworth: Dover port expansion “excellent opportunity to provide jobs and expand the local economy”

Richard Ashworth Conservative MEP for Dover commenting on news that the Dover Harbour Board have announced that it will pursue a major opportunity to regenerate Dover said:

“The expansion of the cargo terminal and construction of a new marina represent an excellent opportunity to provide jobs and expand the local economy. Improving Dover’s competitiveness is good for the country and I am happy to work with the port to explore any and all funding streams to ensure this expansion moves forward.”

Having successfully achieved Government approval in 2012 to develop the Western Docks, Dover Harbour Board said that “plans to seize the opportunity to lock in the many benefits that this could bring just as soon as it possibly can”.