Brussels Commentary 30 Employment Committee 8th & 9th July 2013
Even in July no less than 16 reports to debate and four to vote on, covering 56 pages, with many amendments on each page. Do you wonder that all this stuff comes out as it does, meaningless tripe but armed with the requirement, eventually, of having to pass into the law of each member state?
Tuesday "Gender balance among non-executive directors of companies listed on the stock exchange". The women's committee, FEMM, sent an opinion on this one, so see Godfrey's contribution in that committee. http://youtu.be/4yqGu1cCrDc Naturally it passed, 27 to 5.
You might like to know that an Empl Cttee member, Mrs McIntyre, spoke vigorously against this report saying that, as the boss of a company she was insulted that people might think she gained that position as a token woman. "No", she said, "nothing of the sort, I got that on my own merits!
Wednesday mainly voting, nearly 2 hours
"Tackling Youth Unemployment" ran to 37 pages, about 350 amendments. (NB If you think I ought to know exactly please realise that the amendments are all numbered but do not come out in numerical order on the voting list. Add to that the 20+ amendments from other committees, also all over the place).
You might also like to know that the voting lists do not come out until about 7.30pm the evening before the vote and John then has the task of indicating how I should vote on each amendment. Before I had a personal assistant here I did that myself by going through the books of amendments, where they are in numerical order. I marked each one, some in the committee session as it went on, the rest at the hotel before and after dinner, then transcribed the indication for myself onto the voting list. John saves me an enormous amount of work. We meet before voting at 9.00 am and go through the votes for me to approve or otherwise. He's on the same wavelength so little difference of opinion.
Youth unemployment in the EU,-
23% across the Eu
15 % or less in Austria, Germany Netherlands
but 9% in Germany and Austria
55% in Greece
55% in Spain
Some NEETS (not employed, or in education or training), EU wide in 2011,-
7.-5 million in 15- 25 age range
6.5 million in 25 - 29 age range.
I remarked in an earlier commentary that I had no idea as to the nature of the "Youth Guarantee" aimed to combat youth unemployment. I now understand that it is a fund for companies to set up training schemes, wonderful! But, small firms, one or two employees, will not have the scope to make use of it, not enough variety, so the big companies, who could do this anyway, will get the cash and, once again, the SMEs left out.
Final comment. The behaviour of members in committee leaves a lot to be desired. MEPs are located in the centre with the wings of the chamber for assistants, the commission reps and so on. Always a few assistants come across to bring info to their MEP which we do not do. John gets it all tidied up before I get in. Today was like Paddy's Market, assistants all over the place, with, at one time, four assistants standing in front of me briefing their MEPs. There was even a 12 year old lad sitting with his father, even assistants are not allowed to sit with the MEPs.
To cap it all, no less than 5 times the president had to tell either the EPP group, or the S & D
MEPs, that there were too many of their group voting. The numbers of MEPs from each political group on the committee are regulated to reflect the groups' numerical strength in the parliament. The numbers of each group voting is available to the president when there is an electronic vote. This only happens in our committee as a check in a close vote and for the final vote on the whole proposal. So, if 5 votes had excess MEPs voting in electronic votes were they still there voting on the show of hands, which is 90% of the votes?
That's how the EU makes decisions which can/ will affect people in the UK.
This being the last committee, following the last plenary before the summer recess, so this is my last commentary until September 12th.
Have a good summer, I will!
Derek Clark MEP Brussels 9th July 2013