Wednesday, October 21, 2009

From yesterday's debate...

Following on from my post yesterday on climate change here is a very interesting video from my colleague Linda McAvan, taken from yesterday's debate in the European Parliament. It shows just how similar the BNP and UKIP are and how out of touch with public opinion they are.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Copenhagen and climate change talks

Having seen the latest meeting of the Maldives cabinet held underwater to highlight the fact that it could be the first nation to sink below the waves, I spent yesterday evening in a long voting session on a European Parliament resolution, preparing the EU's strategy for the crucial climate change talks due to take place in Copenhagen in December.

As an active member of the Parliament's Environment Committee, I have been involved over the past few years in agreeing ambitious legislation to slash Europe's CO2 emissions from 1990 levels by 20% by 2020 or by a t least 30% in the event of an international agreement. It is on this firm ground that the EU is going in to these negotiations, as a leading player with established credentials.

I voted to support two fundamental points:

1. The need to maintain ambitious targets which should be a 25-40% reduction in emissions for developed countries compared to 1990 levels

2. Help for developing countries - Stressing the historical responsibility of developed countries and the obligation we have to assist developing and least developed countries to adapt their economies. This aid should be additional to existing commitments, not instead of.

I also believe that we need to enable as much technology transfer as possible to developing countries. This means sharing our low carbon technologies so they can reduce their own emissions in the most cost effective and painless way.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

In Parliament this week

It's a full week here in Brussels, with both my committees sitting (Environment and Civil Liberties) as well as a mini-Plenary session.

On the agenda for the Plenary is a debate on calls for the establishment of an EU-wide fund to protect the passengers of failed airlines. This is of particular relevance to the UK, given the collapse last year of XL. I am backing a reserve compensation fund which all airlines should pay into in order to adequately compensate those passengers who lose out. I called for this exactly one year ago so it is pleasing to now see this on the European agenda.

We are also debating the outcome of the Irish referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, which is something which David Cameron is so far refusing to do at his own party conference.

And finally, Labour MEPs will be lending our support to a proposal which will ensure that people charged in cross-border criminal cases must not be charged twice for the same crime in two different Member States.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

An upbeat Party Conference

It's been a really busy week. I've been in Brighton for Party Conference, and in my new role as Leader of the EPLP I gave a speech this morning to the floor. You can watch it below:

I warned how Britain’s influence in the world would become weakened if a Conservative Government is returned at the next General Election, and highlighted that although David Cameron pretends that the toxic Tory brand has changed, all the time his Euro MPs are clear proof that it has not.

As for the general mood in Brighton - it has been upbeat and there is a real sense of fighting spirit and a determination not to sleepwalk into a general election defeat. The Tories are vulnerable when it comes to their policies and their stance towards Europe and it is the job of every one of us to expose this vulnerability starting from today.