Cut EU Waste and Help Small Businesses Sept02
people at home in the UK are probably unaware that last week, the European
Parliament celebrated the 50th anniversary of the first
meeting of the common assembly of the European Coal and Steel Community.
Far from joining in with these celebrations, I am taking the opportunity
to highlight the enormous amount of taxpayers money being wasted by the
European Union each year.
Members of the European
Parliament spend three weeks every month in Brussels. For
just three and a half days each month, more than 3,000 people - MEPs,
their assistants, translators, Parliament staff, Commission and Council
(including chauffeurs, ushers and catering personnel) move cities to the
second seat of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
Friday before the Strasbourg session, 17 lorries loaded with metal trunks
containing documents and personal effects travel 300 miles to Strasbourg -
and back again seven days later! Yet another convoy transports mountains
of paper from Luxembourg where the translation service and secretariat are
based. At the end of this week, the buildings in Strasbourg are deserted
until the next session. This travelling circus costs European taxpayers
over £100million every year, a figure that will rise dramatically when
the EU expands eastwards in 2004!
To most people in the East of England, the European Parliament is a
remote and irrelevant institution. Our farmers, industries and businesses
suffering from falling incomes and excessive EU legislation cannot accept
this waste of public money. The French cannot force the rest of us to use
Strasbourg as the seat of Parliament – if they do, then they must bear
the full cost! The best anniversary gift European politicians could give the people of
Europe would be an offer to return £100m in savings by abolishing the
wasteful Strasbourg meeting.
other hand, the EU can and does make significant contributions to
businesses and projects throughout Europe. A vast amount of EU funding is
available to the UK and I want to make sure that Eastern Region's
businesses know how to access these funds. Small and medium-sized
enterprises (SMEs), from every sector, create jobs and economic growth and
I am determined to help them prosper in our region. That is why I am
currently organising a conference for our SMEs to address this need.
Funding Explained" will
give participants the opportunity to gain a better understanding of the
types of EU funding available to small businesses and how they may apply
to secure this assistance. Practical advice and examples will be given
during three presentations by representatives from Euro Keys, an
independent European Public Affairs company, the East of England
Development Agency (EEDA) and the European Information Centre.
conference will appeal to a wide variety of organisations from across the
region, including local businessmen, farmers, voluntary organisations and
council directors for business development.
seminar, which is primarily open to SMEs from Hertfordshire,
Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk, will take place
at the Bury Lodge Hotel, near Stansted Airport in Essex on Friday
11th October 2002, 10.30am-2.30pm.
Admission is strictly by pre-booking with Louise Fox (Tel.: 00 32 228
47953 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org) by 4th October 2002. The fee is
£25 and includes a buffet lunch.