Newsletter from Europe 06/00
Bashir Khanbhai MEP
(Norfolk and Suffolk)




The University of Cambridge Farm Business Survey reveals that net farm incomes in the eastern counties of England fell for the third successive year in 1998-1999 to a 10 year low average of just £128 per hectare – 9.7% down on the previous year.

Although record yields of winter wheat of 8.44 tons per hectare were recorded in the region, low crop prices and strengthening Sterling resulted in net farm incomes of only £82/ha on the mainly cereal farms – some 40% down on the previous year. Net farm income on mixed cropping was £184/ha. After pig and poultry farms, the dairy with arable farms experienced the greatest fall in both gross output and net farm income. Gross margin fell by 14% to £1008/ha, while net farm income fell by 55% to £93/ha, which provided no return on tenant’s capital. Pig farmers have suffered most of all with exceptionally low prices such that their net losses were £76/ha in 1997-98 and a loss of £652/ha in 1998-99!

The EU reserves 50% of its budget of £60bn for subsidising its farmers. Continental farmers have traditionally secured the lion’s share of this budget. British farmers have faced exceptionally tough times in the last three years. They have not received the subsidies they deserve. Is this Blair’s legacy to rural England? Clearly, the Labour Government has precipitated bankruptcies and hardship for the farming community. I intend to continue to fight for our farmers and fishermen as life in our towns and villages depend on a successful farming economy.


The European Parliament gave approval for:-

·        Reduced levels for tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide yields for cigarettes

·        The need for disclosure of additives to tobacco products, their use and safety.

·        Increased size and clarity of health warnings.

·        The EU limits on nicotine, tar and carbon monoxide to apply to products manufactured for export to countries outside the EU.

I support higher health and environmental standards governed by a reasonable regulatory framework for tobacco products for products made for sale in the EU. However, I do NOT support that products for export outside the EU should be subject to EU limits. Such a measure would result in such production manufactured outside the EU thereby precipitating significant job losses for British factories in Nottingham, Bristol and in the North of England! I voted against this part of the directive as I believe, we in the EU should be creating jobs and not destroying them.


The global electronic commerce market is growing extremely fast and could be worth $1.4 trillion by the year 2003. In Europe, electronic commerce is already worth $17 billion and is expected to reach $340billion by 2003.

The European Directive, to be implemented by all Member States within 18 months, covers all Information Society services such as:-

·        business to business and business to consumer transactions

·        provision of free services to the recipient e.g. funded by advertising or sponsorship revenue

·        online electronic transactions such as inter-active tele-shopping of goods and services and online shopping malls.

Transparency, compliance with codes of practice and cross-border online dispute settlement systems should enhance consumer confidence.


There were two group visits. Mrs. Caroline Savage led a group of 35 constituents in April and Mrs. Pauline Carver led another group in May. With pick-up points in Norfolk and Suffolk, 35 constituents set out on Sunday by coach for a Channel Tunnel crossing and a night’s rest in the champagne district of France. They continued the following day for a two-night break in Strasbourg where they visited the Parliament and the city centre. The return journey offered another rest night in the champagne district and a leisurely arrival in England on Thursday.


Such trips offer a unique opportunity to observe and assess the work of the European Parliament. It offers an opportunity to meet the Members of the European Parliament from our Region. It is a lovely short break and I think all those who came enjoyed themselves.


Future trips:-  10 -14th June 2001

2 - 6th September 2001

Please contact your Conservative Association Chairman and Agent/Secretary to book.




Member of Committee on Budgetary Control

Member of Committee on Industry, External Trade, Research & Energy

Member of Committee on International Co-operation & Development

Conservative Spokesman on ACP: EU Joint Assembly

Member of EP Delegation to Palestine


·        In Parliament and Budgetary Control Committee, I persisted in detailed criticism of fraud, corruption and mismanagement of the European Investment Bank (EIB). Such criticism was reported by British and European media. It finally forced the European Commission to take the EIB to the European Court where it will be obliged to give answers to the questions I have raised!

·        In Parliament, Budgetary Control and Development Committees I challenged Commissioner Nielsen (Development Aid) that specific aid projects were mismanaged in Tanzania. My report on Tanzania, based on a visit there, embarrassed Mr. Kinnock (in charge of reform!), Mr. Nielsen and Mrs. Glennys Kinnock who had different views. It forced Mr. Nielsen to visit Tanzania, give 1m Euros to strengthen Tanzania’s anti-corruption squad and suspend the aid programme pending immediate action from the recipient country!

·        My Report on « Aid for self-reliance » for Africa presented to the EPP-ED Group has persuaded many in Parliament to re-assess EU policies for developing countries. Most countries in Africa and beyond are poorer today than when they became independent. Corrupt governments and ill-conceived aid programmes have contributed to this. The only way out is to help them achieve self-reliance so that they can cease to be beggars for life!

·        I continue to fight for EU funding for Eastern Region. I have promoted the Great Yarmouth’s outer harbour and the East West rail link to connect Felixstowe to our national network. I fought to lift the ban on export of British beef and opposed inappropriate legislation on waste incinerators, battery cage sizes, and tobacco products for export from the EU.

I led a small delegation of MEPs to Iraq on a fact- finding mission. We met Mr.Tariq Aziz, Government Ministers, Iraqi Parliamentarians, the business community leaders, NGOs, UN, WHO, Red Cross, EU diplomats and the leaders of the Christian community. We visited schools, hospitals, poor residential areas and the Shiia areas in Southern Iraq. I presented a New Resolution that was debated and overwhelmingly passed by the European Parliament.







 Promoted & Printed by Conservative MEPs in the EPP-ED Group in the European Parliament, Brussels: Khanbhai, Sturdy, Beazley & Van Orden