Welcome to the mad world of the EU!

..working towards the divorce of the UK and the EU...

Friday, 25 November 2011

Brussels Commentary Employment committee 23rd - 24th Nov 2011

Brussels Commentary     Employment committee           23rd - 24th Nov  2011

Tuesday  Health and Safety at Work was up for discussion again and I found myself speaking to this as soon as I sat down, the flight only getting here in time. Video should be on my web site soon, but the response is not worth your time.

A Statute for European Cooperative Societies was debated, where enterprises just like our own "Co-op" and farmers' cooperatives are envisaged. It turns out that there are 160,000 of these independently set up and already operating across Europe. The EU has managed to promote17  more Co-ops employing 32 people, costing you plenty.

Wednesday  Votes on the Co-ops were passed, naturally. Also adopted was the Mid-Term review of Health & Safety at Work, all 240 amendments of it! Not that we voted 240 times for when there is that weight of amendments the rapporteur gets together with the “shadow rapporteurs”, and amendment submitters, to roll lots of them together in “compromises”. These are popular, cuts down the time, but means that one has to vote for some items where a No is wanted, and the other way about.

You might like to know that the two amendments I queried, see video, were both adopted. So “whistle blowers” will still not get protection. Bear in mind that this is Health & Safety, so we are not talking about the nasty little creep who wants to cause some one trouble, or to ingratiate himself/ herself with the boss, over someone, say, cheating on hours worked. We are talking about cutting corners, or deliberately ignoring a precaution, which could lead to injury or worse.

Small traders will also have their business curtailed on Sundays, a loss of trade hard to bear these days. I would agree that Sunday always used to be a day of rest, but try telling that to the supermarkets and high street multiples, times have changed.

Also up for vote today was, “Conditions of entry and residence of third country nationals for seasonal employment”. Third country means from outside the EU and this is only a proposal for  a directive, - the committee is actually asking the commission to set this up! Up to now, under third country legislation, businesses can move to the EU but not their workforce. This proposal would allow employees to come with the business and I do not have to spell out what that would mean.

A small detail emerged in a debate on the long running issue of MRI scanning, by which time the 30 committee members present had dwindled to 8, incl the president! Apparently, in some EU states it is illegal for medical staff, prior to taking a scan, to ask if the patient has a pacemaker or, unbelievably, to ask a woman if she is pregnant. Since an MRI scan is believed possibly to harm the unborn child......   

The day finished with an “exchange of views” on the EGF, European Globalisation Adjustment Fund. This mechanism was introduced to help with the consequences of a company closing, initially due to its relocation to outside the EU. Money is poured in to help employees to cope with loss of wages and to provide re-training, it is not intended to assist the company directly. Only Governments can apply and the threshold is 500 employees losing their jobs.

You should know that the number of applications is increasing, and they are always approved by this committee. There was a Portuguese application today, following, as far as memory serves, some 4 Austrian, 7 Danish and 8 from The Netherlands. The pace is accelerating due to this now being available for re-locations within the EU.

I did a short TV about this on Wednesday evening, which will appear in due course, where I hope I pointed out the essential scam. Firms moving across the EU do so with the aid of EU subsidies and the EU then comes in with yet more of your cash (EGF) to help the redundant employees in the original country. We pay twice over and no money comes back to us from the £51 million we now pay the EU every day, for I cannot remember any case of a UK company making a claim!

In the following EGF debate the Commissioner made great play of “Economic Governance”, which was well received. There are articles in place to cope with “macro-economic” events and all is in line with the “6 pack”. Its all linked to Policy and Economic Performance, including for some reason, Teacher Training! I listened up then but was disappointed not to hear more on that topic, except that it leads to cash flow. Prospective teachers need not worry, they will reduce the audit burden, they won’t even demand an audit of hotel expenses, but they will harmonise rules.

If you think this presentation to be a far cry from the real world of the Greek and Italian disasters you are mistaken. The undemocratic sacking of their properly elected prime Ministers and their replacement with unelected bureaucrats in bang in line with EU policy. Today’s speaker from the Commission remarked that all the above is in line with the development of Economic Governance, declaring:-

The European Commission will take over from Member States when necessary.

Derek Clark   MEP                                              Brussels 23rd Nov 2011

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Strasbourg Commentary Plenary Session 14th - 17th Nov 2011

Strasbourg Commentary                Plenary Session    14th - 17th Nov 2011

Tuesday You may recall earlier comments of mine about the EU moving in on Education,- University Degree documents to carry the EU logo and to be labelled as an EU Qualification, without reference to the University where a student actually graduated. Today we voted on the "Implementation of Professional Qualifications Directive", adopted by 463 - 163 votes. It was an "own initiative" report, that's by an individual, not from the commission. The author was your East Mids MEP, Emma McClarkin, and the Commission often take these individual reports up and push them through later, officially.

Wednesday The day began with a major debate, "Economic Governance." Barosso, Von Rompuy and Jean-Claude Juncker led and trotted out all the usual rhetoric, Solidarity and so on. I have to say Barosso was less bombastic than usual, but he pressed for Treaty changes, the Community Method and declared that the Euro is central to the EU; excellent news!

Jean Claude Juncker wants the EU to become more political, yes, more political! He also wants the Euro Group, of which he is President, to be permanently established in Brussels.

Von Rompuy, made a lasting impression, can't tell you what he said!

Of group leaders the ALDE leader, Verhofstadt, did not disappoint. He was more vehement than usual, demanding that the Commission get a grip of the financial crisis. Not elected members mark you, either here or in the Greek or Italian governments.  He wants the "Community Method" not the "intergovernmental" one, he always does, he wants a single European State run by bureaucrats,- but what else from a former Belgian Prime Minister. 

If you have not seen the video of Nigel's response make sure you do, soon.

Thursday  Came the vote on Combating Illegal Fishing, to which I spoke earlier, text and video on my web. It passed by 491 - 7 votes. This includes a move to establish a common Coastguard organisation, as though we didn't have one ourselves, tried and tested over the years. They just do not understand that, as they don't understand the stupidity of this being voted on by countries which have no coast line!   

Which leads me to fishing and the Boston fishermen. I saw them last week having been to the offices of the Inshore Fisheries people the previous day. Would you believe that I heard two quite different accounts. The Boston boys know that there are about 30,000 tons of cockles out in the Wash, but they are not allowed to go for them; used their quota up earlier in the year. Never mind the fact that many cockles will die over the winter and, in so doing, exude poisons which kill the juveniles to be found close to the dead adults. Thus next year's lot will be killed off before they mature!

I'm off to Kings Lynn again tomorrow. I wonder what these inspectors will think of the coverage I've got in the two Boston papers this week! More to come after tomorrow. With a bit of luck my comments about the coastguard will be in the  nationals tomorrow, or over the week end.

Combating Illegal Fishing at Global Level

Speech to Parliament                                        16th Nov 2011

Debate;  Combating Illegal Fishing at Global Level

The CFP was only introduced in 1973 when the UK joined the Common Market. Up to then UK fishermen had looked after their fisheries so well, without all these regulations, that other, profligate, member states wanted a slice of our action.

The result, illegal Fishing. Any system with complex rules and regs produces cheats, that's human nature.

Now you want to duplicate our Coastguard and to consider more rules to combat possible illegal recreational fishing. Do you never stop meddling?

To preserve fish stocks member states must be made responsible for their own fishing waters, up to the 200 mile limit, or the median line. Bi-lateral arrangements would be up to them and they would have to protect their own fish stocks in their own interests, under their laws and enforcement.

Norway does just that. Stocks have recovered, especially the  spawning stocks of several species, but then, Norway is not in the EU and does not have to obey your crazy rules. They ban discards, requiring that all fish caught are landed.

Meanwhile, EU stocks are seriously depleted. I know that  thought is being given to discards, but, after 38 years of waste, will our stocks recover?

As to combating illegal fishing globally the EU's discard policy is the greatest illegal fishing scandal of all, that, and licensing European Fishing fleets to raid the waters of the third world, reducing those peoples to poverty. Now, that's what I call illegal.

Derek Clark  MEP             Strasbourg 17th Nov 2011

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Debate,- Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion

Speech to Parliament                               Strasbourg                          15th Nov 2011

Debate,-  Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion

To quote from your own documents,-
"National and local events will take place in every EU Member State, awareness raising campaigns, workshops, school indoctrination and so on and so on..".

The documents also say that this is mainly the responsibility of the member state no EU money is forthcoming, so its member state's money. How do those countries most in need manage that?

Only last month this house voted to raise the take from member states by 5%. Of a hundred budget lines some 20 were for a reduction. With like minded MEPs I supported those, which would have saved European taxpayers 100 million Euros, but was outvoted by most of you, on all except 2 lines, so only 1 million was saved.

If people keep more of their earnings they spend more, helping other businesses to keep going and helping employment.

So the member states who really need help for this program will not get it, where will they find the money, you've already raided their bank balances for bail out funds.

(NB Commissioner Andor speaking at the start said that  EU funds would support this program,  hence the comment in para two)