MARCH 2013

Key Debate - Preparations for the European Council meeting.

It wouldn't be the same without a monthly summit taking place in Brussels. President Barroso will tell us how its all the member states fault, and he is going to take the EU on a new direction, and then all will be well. It never is, of course, but there is always another new direction to try.

Mr Barroso had to endure criticism and ridicule from MEPs as he tried to put a gloss on the worsening crisis. You can see my speech here:

 

Composition of the European Parliament.

To accommodate Croatia into the EU, several member states will have to relinquish seats in the European Parliament. However, a report detailing several options was debated by MEPs: none of the options offered involves any losses for the UK.

However, I noted that the report does not only address the Croatian situation, but also paves the way for future enlargements during the next legislature.

I questioned a situation in which the smaller EU states have a disproportionately high number of MEPs, leading to British citizens being under-represented.

 

CAP Reform.

The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is long overdue for reform. It is overly bureacratic, expensive, and helps to perpetuate the last vestiges of agrarian farming techniques in Europe.

And so, on Wednesday, we embarked on a mammoth voting session, with the hope of improving the situation. We were soon to realise the truth of this proposed reform. The EU wants to bring back milke quotas, amongst otners, and to introduce export subsidies. This is not reform, this is regression.

I was the only West Midlands MEP to speak in parliament during the preceding debate, you can see my speech here.

Baroness Ashton on Syria.

There is something of a tradition amongst Europhile politicians that they open their speeches by congratulating everybody, usually including themselves. There appears to be one exception to this rule, and that is when Baroness Cathy Ashton appears before us. Nobody congratulates her.

Syria is a tragedy that continues to unfold before our eyes. One after another, MEPs of all political persuasions questioned her ability, and asked what had she actually acheived in Syria, or indeed anywhere else for that matter.

In a disgraceful display of contempt, her premature departure was announced, and whilst we wanted to continue this line of questioning she simply left early. My own protestations were simply "over-ruled".

You can see my speech on the subject here:

Match Fixing and Corruption in Sport.

Match fixing has tainted football, and has allowed organised crime to gain a grip on the sport.

The players who are most vulnerable to bribery and coercion are those in the lower leagues. Often poorly paid, they are fair game for the gangsters.

It is no secret that I love footbal, and so I have very strong feelings on this subject. The EU wants to gain greater powers for itself in response to the current problems, but I argued in parliament that it is for UEFA and Interpol to address the matter, not the European Commission.

My article on publicserviceeurope.com can be found here:

And Finally...

On Wednesday, during the voting session, the Greek MEP Georgios Papastamkos, who was chairing the session was taken very ill. At the time of writing he is still in hospital. All our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family. 

_________________________________________________

We Demand A Referendum!

I am delighted with the growing response to the campaign. My staff are kept busy all day with phone calls and correspondence, and was never as confident about any campaign as I am about this one.
 
Thank you to everybody for your work, your support, and your generous donations. Let's keep the pressure on!

We Demand a Referendum - NEW PARTY

We Demand a Referendum is a new political party which will stand in the 2014 European Elections. We are giving the electorate the chance to directly call for an In Out Eu referendum at the ballot box.

You can join the Facebook group here, and we are on twitter at @lettheppldecide. The website for the new party is at www.wedemandareferendum.org
 
Please support this new party and pledge your vote for 2014. Those who pledge their vote will receive a FREE pledge card.

More of Nikkis Strasbourg Reports