European Parliament recognises need for better regulation from the EU


Parliamentarians from across Europe have voted in favour of British-backed proposals calling on the EU to avoid unnecessary regulation in the Single Market.

The Report approved by the European Parliament explicitly states that new European legislation for the Single Market should only be introduced if it increases competitiveness, stimulates innovation and helps to creates jobs. It also emphasises that rules should only be created at the European level when it is more helpful than creating 28 different sets of rules.

Richard Ashworth, Conservative MEP for South East England, welcomed approval of the Report stating: “This vote is evidence of how the EU recognises that creating more and unnecessary legislation is not the right approach.”

“The purpose of the Single Market is to help businesses trade and gain access to the 500 million consumers within it. It is not meant to increase costs, it is meant to reduce costs. I welcome the core of this report which states that the EU should only legislate when there are clear and tangible benefits to businesses, consumers and citizens.”

Ashworth votes for reauthorisation of glyphosate

The European Parliament has voted to support the re-approval of glyphosate, the world’s most widely used weed killer and a key tool for European farmers.

Parliamentarians in Strasbourg rejected a motion to support a ban on glyphosate, however the text adopted calls for a seven year authorisation as opposed to the 15 years being proposed by the European Commission. The text contains a number of references to glyphosate being a suspected endocrine disrupter, without scientific basis. It also includes prescriptive measures on the use and application of glyphosate, such as banning non-professional use.

The EU’s independent advisory body the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has recently concluded that glyphosate poses no unacceptable risk to human health when used appropriately. In coming to that conclusion EFSA reviewed findings by the World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which has expressed concern about the substance.

The existing approval for glyphosate expires at the end of June, the Commission’s Standing Committee on Phytopharmaceuticals (SCoPAFF) will meet in the coming weeks to agree the conditions of a re-authorisation

Richard Ashworth, Conservative MEP for South East England, welcomed the re-authorisation, but also issued caution over the adopted text stating: “I am glad that my colleagues in the European Parliament have seen common sense and voted with me to support the reauthorisation of glyphosate. It is essential that farmers in the South East have access to all the tools available and that European policy is based on proven science.”

“However the shortening of the extension sets a worrying precedent for questioning the work of EFSA. I am concerned with the report’s references to glyphosate as being a suspected endocrine disrupter as there is no scientific basis for these assertions. Furthermore prescriptive measures on the use and application of glyphosate, such as banning non-professional use are not the right approach. Whilst the outcome is not perfect, overall it is a good result for British farming.”

EU must do more to help farmers in the South East


Richard Ashworth, Conservative MEP for South East England and Agriculture spokesperson, has called for greater action to help farmers in the South East during a debate regarding the ongoing farming crisis held in the European Parliament.

In an exchange of views with EU Agriculture Commissioner, Phil Hogan, Mr Ashworth called for the creation of a more competitive and resilient agricultural industry to address the crisis affecting farmers across Europe. Whilst EU efforts to help alleviate sharp falls in farm incomes have been welcome, these alone will not maintain farmers’ economic viability. Conservative MEPs have championed simplification and greater market-orientation of the Common Agricultural Policy to this end.

Richard Ashworth MEP said during the debate: ” What the Commission can, and must, do is find ways to help the industry become more productive, more competitive and more sustainable. Agriculture needs research and development investment, innovation and simplification. Above all, agriculture needs regulation based on common sense and proven science, not on emotion.

“The Commissioner and farmers understand this well. It is unfortunate that too many members of this house do not.”