The Situation in the Arab World
final Strasbourg session before the summer recess has been a hectic
one, and we find ourselves
on the edge of major world events. Although
this has not really made the press yet, the Middle East is set for
a major upheaval. In September, the Palestinians plan to present
with a Unilateral Declaration of Independence.
I met with Israeli diplomats to discuss the matter, before challenging
Cathy Ashton over the future relationships between certain Arab nations
and the EU. I am also particularly concerned about EU funding of
the Hezbollah controlled Lebanese government.
The Polish Presidency
Poland has taken over the rotating presidency of the Council. The EU has so many presidents that sometimes it is hard to keep up. The Council presidency is actually undermined now, since the appointment of Herman Van Rompuy and Cathy Ashton to their respective offices. I was able to address the highly regarded Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk in the parliament, where I berated the EU on its record in east-west relations.
A Duff Proposal
Lib Dem MEP Andrew Duff is the author of a parliamentary report on
electoral reform in the EU. This proposes the
transnational constituencies, to be contested by pan-European
Pan-European parties (PEP) are anathema to UKIP, which is currently tearing itself apart over the debate as to whether to join a PEP or not, with the 'pro' camp disseminating what can only be described as untruths. I will certainly vote against this.
Wine growers from Alsace were displaying their excellent wines in the parliament this week, and we had the opportunity to try some. The French growers are concerned about the liberalisation of growing rights. 'Liberalisation threatens growers' is their slogan. "And protectionism stifles innovation" I retorted!
New Code of Conduct for MEPs
7 July 2011, the Parliament's Conference of Presidents unanimously
approved a new Code of Conduct for Members
Parliament which sets out rules and principles which MEPs
will need to follow
in their contacts with outside interests and to avoid conflicts
I was invited to participate in the BBC's 'Hard Talk', which was broadcast on West Midlands' radio on Thursday 7th July. Issues as diverse as discrimination in political parties, traveller's invasions, and my campaign for a referendum on our continued membership of the EU were disscussed.
Campaign For A Referendum
We are getting tantalisingly close to our target of 100,000 signatures now. Some high profile advertising is planned for the coming days and weeks, and our team are out collecting signatures across the country. This weekend we will be targeting London. If you have not yet signed, you can do so online.