Newsletter from Europe Issue 7/2002
Bashir Khanbhai MEP
(Norfolk and Suffolk)

 

 

FAILURE OF EU'S FINANCIAL REFORM

Letter to The Times (printed August 10, 2002)

Sir, In 1999, my maiden speech as a Conservative MEP and member of the European Parliamentís Budgetary Control Committee reflected the concerns of all European MPs at our inability to assess a new team of commissioners after the fall of the disgraced Santer Commission. It seems to me that little has been achieved in the way of financial reform since then.

I was born in Tanzania, where the Government and the civil service were incompetent and corrupt. I thought that I would find it different here in the EU. There are 360 million European citizens in 15 member states and yet we cannot find just 20 men and women with the relevant professional competence and work experience to be commissioners. To make matters worse, the democratically elected European Parliament of 626 MEPs, which may vote on whether or not to dismiss an individual commissioner, is overruled by a recycled politician who, as President of the Commission, reserves the right to sack, or not sack, his own commissioners. Is this a parliament with teeth or just a talking shop?

Neil Kinnockís sacking of Marta Andreasen (report, and leading article, August 3; letters August 8), highlights the Commissionís arrogance and simply confirms the weakness of its accounting systems. Kinnock was appointed vice-president of the Commission to reform and clean up the Brussels bureaucracy, not to silence competent professionals with integrity who exercise their judgement in the best interest of European citizens at considerable cost and embarrassment to themselves.

Public perception, especially in the UK, is that the European commissioners are overpaid, incompetent and arrogant in their use of political power, for which they have no mandate. European citizens will remain disillusioned by the EU until the Parliament is able to choose the commissioners and secure the right to sack them at any time for mismanagement.

 

Comments received:

Cllr. K. Twitchen: "Bashir- you have courage and integrity. Superb article, well done."

 

E. Duck: "I was pleased to read your letter today and that someone like you can bring the facts to the UK public with some authority."

 

B. Shaxson: "Well done, and many, many thanks for your Times letter! If other nations' MEPs were prepared to be equally honest, a truly democratic European Organisation of free countries could evolve. Keep up the good work- you have the majority of British people behind you."

 

G.R.G. Smith: "More power to you Sir. Kinnock would seem to be as useless as when he was a Socialist leader. You have my support."

 

I. Tuhill: "I have never voted Conservative in my 40 years with the vote but I was pleasantly surprised by your article. It summed up exactly what I have against the Commission and I suspect is a major reason for British antagonism towards the Euro. Please continue to expose this nonsense."

 

Cllr A. Delaney: "I wish to congratulate you on speaking out. It is bad enough with the commissioners from Italy and Spain being deeply involved but for Neil Kinnock to sack someone for blowing the whistle on the state of the EU accounts paints a sorry picture. Keep up the good work and naming those responsible for these blatant attempts at a cover-up."

 

EXPANSION OF STANSTED AIRPORT

(Copy of letter to Eastern County Councils)

Dear Sir/Madam,

The massive expansion proposed at Stansted airport will not only blemish the beautiful countryside of mid Essex but also bring unprecedented noise and air pollution to West Suffolk and the Stour Valley, and especially to Sudbury. The main flight path to Stansted from eastern and southern Europe follows a route from Dusseldorf to Brussels and then over the North Sea to the Stour at Harwich and then Sudbury. The explosion in low cost airlines operating out of Stansted has already had a major impact on our part of East Anglia - if the airport gets one, two or even three extra runways, our peace and tranquillity will be shattered.

It is essential for Stansted to improve its road and rail access as well as parking to handle any expansion. The proposed £5.2bn expansion of Stansted from 1 to 4 runways will allow it to handle around 120,000 passengers on 800 flights (1 flight every minute) but such a massive expansion of Stansted over a short time is unnecessary and unacceptable. I see merit in sharing capacity with a new airport in the Thames Estuary, possibly part funded by the EU, that will certainly rejuvenate economically a deprived area. Stansted will have fewer new jobs but the rural character of Suffolk and Essex that attracts all residents and many foreign tourists will be preserved.

As one of the Councils responsible in arriving at a final decision on this important issue, I urge you to consider only a modest expansion of Stansted. I hope you will encourage and support the construction of a new airport in the Thames Estuary to share capacity for increased air travel as a better option, both economically and environmentally.  I am confident that I am reflecting the view of the majority of residents of East Anglia and my Conservative colleagues in both Westminster and the European Parliament.

 SME CONFERENCE - 'ACCESS EU FUNDING'

 

Following the success of my July conference "Access EU Funding" for SMEs in Brome, Suffolk, I am holding a second event in the East of England. This will offer small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from Suffolk, Norfolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire the opportunity to find out how to access funding from the European Union.

If the UK continues to be a full member of the EU then I need to make sure that our region secures maximum benefit. Small businesses create jobs and prosperity and I am determined to help them.

There will be presentations from Euro Keys, an independent European Public Affairs company, EEDA (East of England Development Agency) and the European Information Centre. 

The conference will take place at the Bury Lodge in Stansted, Essex (located just off the M11) on Friday 11th October, 2002 from 10.30-14.30. Admission is strictly by pre-booking with Louise Fox (Tel.: 00 32 228 47953 or email: bkhanbhai@europarl.eu.int). The cost is £25, including a buffet lunch.

 

ACTIVITIES

21 June Addressed Huntingdon CWC Meeting

23 June Annual Civic Service, Sudbury

26 June Royal Norfolk Agricultural Show

29 June N. Norfolk District Council Civic Event

5 July Norwich North Cons. Association AGM

6 July Braintree Conservative Association BBQ

7 July N. Norfolk Cons. Assoc. Summer Fair

10 July Access EU Funding Conference, Brome

12 July Canvassing for Ipswich By-election

12 July Bedfordshire County Council Reception

13 July Saffron Walden Cons. Association BBQ

18 July Norfolk Millennium Library & Sandringham

24 Aug S. Norfolk Cons. Golden Jubilee Ball

30 Aug Anglian Farmers, Easton College, Norwich

 

 

 

 

 

 

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