Newsletter from Europe Issue 4/2002
Bashir Khanbhai MEP
(Norfolk and Suffolk)





Almost 24,000 of the 30,000 population of Gibraltar attended a public meeting and roared approval when Chief Minister, Mr. Peter Caruana, said “Our rights, our wishes, our aspirations as a people are not for bilateral negotiation between Britain and Spain. Gibraltar is ours. It is neither Britain’s to give away nor Spain’s to claim”.

Gibraltarians wish to remain under British rule as they have for 300 years. The British public supports the view that the Gibraltarians must decide their own future. Spain, to this day, retains sovereignty over Ceuta and Melila that are enclaves on Moroccan soil. Yet now, Spain challenges British sovereignty whilst rejecting Moroccan claims on Ceuta and Melila. It is refusing to co-operate fully with British Gibraltar that, like any other part of UK, is part of the EU!

Spain, a big beneficiary of EU funding, has cleverly manipulated the EU to sustain its strained relations with Gibraltar. Britain, a net EU contributor with more voting power than Spain at the Council of Ministers, should insist that Spain co-operates with Gibraltar. If Gibraltar is undeveloped, why is it not getting funding for regeneration like other poor regions of the EU?

The people of Gibraltar, like the people of Ceuta and Melila, must be allowed to vote in EU elections. The EU must offer assistance in improving its infrastructure links e.g. roads, port, airport. Gibraltar, under British rule, can prosper if the Churchillian bulldog continues to guard over the rock!




A new EU Directive on Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) will require that, in future, all electrical equipment, with a battery or cable, will have to be disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner.  This includes personal computers, mobile phones, televisions, kitchen appliances and children's electrical toys. This means disposal of 1 million tons in the UK at huge expense!

The Blair Government failed to implement an earlier EU Directive on disposal of foam with CFC from fridges by not having specialised processing plants like there are in Holland and Germany. That is why our Local Authorities are inundated with hundreds of thousands of old fridges for which we, as taxpayers, are paying millions of pounds for the cost of collection, storage and eventual disposal!




Over 100,000 tobacco farmers in the EU (60,000 in Greece, 27000 in Italy and the rest in France and Spain) receive £620m in annual subsidy from the Common Agricultural Fund!

The livelihood of these farmers, family members, their employees, including casual labourers, depends on the EU subsidy for tobacco, the major crop where they live. Politicians in these countries claim that these hundreds of thousands of people live in sensitive areas (e.g. northern Greece bordering with the Balkan states) and the subsidy, only 2% of revenue collected in taxes, is a small price to pay for political stability in the regions concerned.

Tobacco, like coffee and cocoa, is a cash crop grown in many developing countries. The growers earn little and the prices have not risen for years. A typical tobacco grower in Africa or Asia receives about £1.40 per kilo for his leaf realising a profit of £0.70. This 1Kg of leaf would produce 1000 cigarettes such that the cost of the leaf in a pack of 20 cigarettes is a mere 4 or 5 pence, just 1% of the retail price! The Government’s tax, including VAT, is 80% and the remaining 19% covers production cost, huge advertising expense, marketing & distribution costs and the profits of manufacturer and distributors.


The EU collects £30bn each year from taxes on sale of tobacco products in its 15 Member States. The UK Government collects £3.20 tax from every pack of cigarettes sold in Britain at £4 whilst the poor grower receives 4 pence! Clearly, no Government in Whitehall will be “tough on tobacco sales” as so much revenue flows into the treasury without much public protest.

We subsidise EU farmers to grow tobacco. Tobacco companies spend a fortune on advertising to encourage us to smoke. A part of the taxes we pay our Government is used to advertise against smoking and a larger part for treating smokers in hospital when they suffer from smoking related diseases! We ban fellow citizens from smoking in public places and tax them heavily for doing so elsewhere. We accept, without much fuss, the death of 500,000 Europeans from smoking related diseases each year!

Why do we allow our Governments to pay for this EU tobacco subsidy to farmers and pay for funding EU anti-smoking campaigns? Why do we not give this money as subsidy to our pensioners for winter heating, public transport and other amenities?




Every year the Heinz Schwarzkopf Foundation Young Europe presents the award: -


"Young European of the Year"


The sum donated for this prize is €5,000 (£3,070) which is intended to finance six months of practical training with a Member of the European Parliament or another European Institution, but also for projects which promote European accord.

They are looking for young people from Europe between 18 and 28 years old who have shown an above-average commitment to fostering international understanding and the union of Europe and who wish to actively promote this idea in the future.

If you know a young person who fits this description and deserves to be rewarded with this prize then please contact our Brussels office with their details. The deadline for entries is 15th June 2002.




5Mar: Foreign Office visit (Morocco & Tunisia)

8Mar: Addressed South Norfolk CA AGM

19Mar:UN Development Conference, Mexico

21Mar: Downham Market College visit to EP

5Apr: Capel St. Mary & Hadleigh Branch AGM

10Apr: Constituents visit Strasbourg EP

12Apr: Hoveton & Stalham Branch AGM







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