Newsletter from Europe Issue 2/2002
Bashir Khanbhai MEP
(Norfolk and Suffolk)

 

 

FOOT & MOUTH DISEASE (FMD)

 

Mr. Blair's Labour Government rejected our proposal to hold a public inquiry for FMD for fear of exposing the gross errors made by Ministers, civil servants and scientific advisers to MAFF. What were these errors? Diagnosis and authority to slaughter, imposition of movement restrictions, management of slaughter and disposal, communication with infected farms, management of disinfection and payment policy are just some of them!

The European Parliament has established a Temporary Committee that will:-

       assess efficacy of meat imports from third world countries

       analyse the implementation of EU law in managing the outbreak of FMD

       examine the relative merits of both vaccination and slaughter policies for FMD

       analyse the financial impact and the efficacy of EU funding in helping farmers

       propose measures for prevention and treatment of other epidemics in future

The Committee Meetings, held in public, will seek information from Government Ministers, scientists, civil servants and affected farmers to give evidence.

I am sorry to report that Labour MEPs from Eastern Region voted AGAINST having such a Committee. Conservative MEPs voted in favour of the probe as we need to take every measure to protect our farmers and rural businesses to preserve the quality of life for our people living in the countryside.

SOCIETAS EUROPEAE (SE)

If companies established in more than one Member State want to merge and operate throughout the EU they would, at present, need to set up a complex network of subsidiaries governed by different national laws - an administratively time consuming procedure which incurs significant legal costs. However, by 2004, it will be possible to create a genuinely European Company, known in all countries by the Latin name Societas Europeae (SE).

       An SE must be registered in the Member State where it has its administrative Head Office.

       It must involve companies from at least two different Member States.

       Minimum capital requirement is Euros 120,000 (75,000) to help SMEs.

       SEs will appear on National Companies Register as well as the EC's Official Journal.

       SEs will be treated like multinationals for tax purposes.

       National laws will apply to employment contracts and pensions although proposals are under discussion to allow a single company pension fund.

Workers representation (workers councils) that requires management  to give the worker full details of present and future business plans, production and sales levels, management changes, mergers, potential closures and layoffs is common on the continent. The UK has more flexible arrangements and this problem needs to be addressed.

There are advantages in establishing SEs, especially with EU enlargement, as a single European Company involved in pan-European road building projects could attract private venture capital more easily than a series of national companies all operating under different national statutes.

 

 

CONSERVATIVE PARTY NEEDS WOMEN

Women have run the Party for years! Women form the backbone of the Party for social events, fund raising, election campaigns, managing Associations and recruitment of new members. How dare The Times (17th Jan) publish a headline "Conservatives 'prejudiced against women' "? Mrs.Thatcher was Britain's first Prime Minister. Let nobody forget that she was not only a Conservative, but a great Prime Minister!

Conservative Associations enjoy the autonomy to choose the candidate that is best for their constituency - a candidate who they think will win the election for the Party. It is true that very few women have been short-listed and selected in safe seats. Is this because very few apply or because those who do so do not necessarily have the competence and experience to merit selection? 

I think our Parliamentarians should have at least 10 years of experience of work in the real world so that they appreciate the problems the population at large faces. Such experience allows them to communicate more easily - it will allow them to win back voters who have deserted our Party! 

I urge all Conservatives to persuade competent women to apply to be candidates for Parliament. Our Associations need to interview all women candidates. This will ensure that we shall not miss the good ones, and one who could even turn out to be the second woman Prime Minister of Britain!

 

TRIP TO EGYPT & SAUDI  ARABIA

 

I addressed a Conference in Cairo presided by the Speaker of the Egyptian People's National Assembly (Parliament), the Chief Imam of Al-Azhar and the Pope of the Coptic Church. The Conference focussed on Inter-Faith issues and was attended by Members of the Catholic & Anglican Churches, Members of the Egyptian Parliament & Senate (Upper House).

I discussed the welfare of the Coptic Christians with Pope Schenouda at his residence. He assured me that the situation has improved over the last two years. Discrimination against Copts is illegal and permission to build Churches is readily granted.

I addressed the Saudi Consultative Council (Majlis Al-Shura), the Chamber of Commerce in Riyadh and met the two brothers of the King - the Governor of Riyadh and the Saudi Foreign Minister. I am arranging for one of the largest Saudi Companies (El-Seif Group) to meet the Secretary of State for Trade & Industry, the Director General of the CBI and the Chairman of Lloyds bank as the El-Seif group would like to invest substantial sums in collaboration with UK companies.

ACTIVITIES

1. 08 Jan Met Jack Straw MP at Foreign Office  2  12-17th Jan Visit to Egypt & Saudi Arabia

3. 21 Jan House of Commons Select Cttee

4. 24 Jan Presented my Parliament Report on   EU: India co-operation to Industry Committee

5.  Meeting with 6 Indian MPs in Brussels

6.  25 Jan East of England Panel, Swaffham

7. 01 Feb CPF Group of Bury Cons.Assoc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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