ARCHIVE OCTOBER 2015

  • 14/10/2015

    ECR supports reallocation of resources to tackle Europe’s refugee and asylum crisis

    The European Parliament has today voted in favour of reallocating resources in the EU budget to help manage the refugee crisis.

    European Conservatives and Reformists Group shadow rapporteur Richard Ashworth MEP supported the plan, but has made it clear that the swift adoption of the plans must not be at the expense of ensuring the funds are targeted to provide real value on the front line.

    The reallocated €801 million includes around €100 million for the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) and the Internal Security Fund (ISF), €300 million to reinforce the European Neighbourhood Instrument, €200 million for the EU Regional Trust Fund in Syria, €200 million to provide immediate help for the UNHCR and World Food Programme, as well as extra resources for 120 extra staff for agencies such as the FRONTEX border agency, the European Asylum Support Office, and EUROPOL.

    The changes do not increase the overall payment appropriations of the EU, as money is taken from other budgetary headings and the so-called ‘Flexibility Instrument’.

    Responding to the vote, Mr Ashworth said:

    “It is clear that managing the refugee and migrant crisis is going to need resources both at the front line, and in improving standards in Syria’s Neighbourhood.

    “I do worry that we have not had enough time to examine these measures and to ensure these extra funds will give the greatest value to European taxpayers. We will be following closely how the money is spent to ensure it focuses on the right priorities.

    “We need to get the basics right in responding to this crisis and so ensuring funding is going towards processing, security, integration and basic humanitarian facilities, is a good place to start.”

  • 11/09/2012

    The Week Ahead in Strasbourg

    The Week Ahead in Strasbourg

    State of the Union

    President Barroso will deliver his third ‘State of the Union’ speech setting out the commission’s agenda. ECR group chairman Martin Callanan MEP will argue that the EU needs fundamental reform and a change of direction in order to meet the challenges of the 21st century and restore its relevance.

    Debate: Wednesday @ 09.00

    Fisheries reform

    MEPs will vote on several aspects of reform of the Common Fisheries Policy, including proposals led through the parliament by ECR MEP Struan Stevenson regarding the organisation of markets in fishery and aquaculture products.

    Struan’s proposals set out conditions to incentivise fishermen to support sustainable fishing practices, help Producer Organisations deal with day to day resource management and market issues and improving the market position of the EU. Mr Stevenson is proposing an enhanced role for Producer Organisations to ensure the smooth running of the markets, to help fishermen minimise discards and to have an EU wide eco-label to help consumers make informed choices. Increased labelling on where and when the fish was caught will also be important parts of the reform.

    Vote: Wednesday @ 12.30

    Better legislation

    A report containing proposals on how the EU can produce less burdensome legislation, authored by ECR MEP Sajjad Karim, will be put to the vote. In his report Sajjad calls for the smallest businesses to be exempted from regulation unless the commission can prove the benefits to them. The report is critical of the commission for failing to fully respect the subsidiarity principle when drawing up impact assessments for new legislation. It also supports efforts to increase transparency in national transposition, so as to prevent ‘gold-plating’ of legislation. Finally, the report continues to press the Commission on the need to reduce the overall regulatory burden imposed by European legislation, and for a ‘one-in, one-out’ policy to be put in place for future legislation.

    Vote: Thursday @ 12.00

    Energy Efficiency

    The parliament will vote on an agreement reached with national governments that will help consumers to make ambitious but realistic energy savings that form part of the EU’s goal to reduce energy consumption by 20 percent by 2020.

    ECR shadow rapporteur on the proposal Vicky Ford MEP believes that the deal represents a fair compromise, particularly considering the often rigid approach taken by some MEPs. Countries have agreed to establish strategies for renovating buildings, with three percent of central government buildings to be renovated each year. Countries will need to set up energy efficiency obligation schemes requiring energy distributors or retail companies to help consumers by saving 1.5 percent of their energy sales each year. Companies will also have improved access to energy audits, which in particular help SMEs to cut the costs of their energy bills.

    Vote: Tuesday @ 12.00

    Syria and Russia

    The EU’s High Representative Baroness Ashton will debate the situation in Syria, and the recent concerning judicial cases in Russia. ECR foreign affairs spokesman Charles Tannock MEP believes that the international community must continue to exert maximum diplomatic pressure on Syria, and on those countries, such as Russia, that have refused to suitably condemn the regime. On Russia itself, Dr Tannock will argue that the Pussy Riot case is one of a growing number of concerning apparent abuses of the judicial system, following on from the Khodorkovsky case, which undermine the perception that Russia is governed by the rule of law.

    Debate: Tuesday from 15.00

    Pakistan flood assistance

    Following the devastating Pakistani floods in 2010 the EU proposed a temporary trade waiver that would give preferential access on 75 tariff lines – mostly textiles – to assist the country with its reconstruction.

    Despite being proposed in 2010, the waiver has been blocked in the World Trade Organisation by, amongst others, India and Bangladesh. Successful EU lobbying and improved bilateral ties between the countries has encouraged them to drop their objections. Now the parliament will finally vote on the proposals. ECR international trade spokesman Robert Sturdy MEP has been a strong advocate of the measure, which helps Pakistan through trade instead of solely aid.

    Vote: Thursday @ 12.00