Newsletter from Europe Issue 8/2002
Bashir Khanbhai MEP
(Norfolk and Suffolk)

 

 

RENEWABLE ENERGY IN EAST ANGLIA

All of us welcome the reduction of carbon emissions in the atmosphere. I am therefore pleased to report that the East of England is at the forefront in such measures and leads the UK in renewable energy production.

Every week, a company in Shipdham, Norfolk collects 50,000 litre of used vegetable oil from restaurants, cafeterias and factories throughout England. It chemically treats this waste oil and produces pure biodiesel, glycerine and soap concentrate.

This biodiesel can run any diesel engine without modification giving the same mileage and engine performance as normal diesel. Unlike fossil fuels, it does not produce particulates in the air on combustion, thereby helping enormously all those suffering from asthma and other air-borne allergies. Furthermore, it produces no more CO2 than the plants consumed in the first place in growing the seeds that yield the vegetable oil.

Another company in Essex has developed a unique way of extracting gas and oil from of old vehicle tyres. This process, pyrolisis, does not require burning the tyres and there is no air pollution or emission of harmful gases. 2 tonnes of waste tyres can produce a massive 4.5 kW of energy!

We discard over 100,000 car and lorry tyres a day in the UK alone, which are expensive to dispose of. From July 2003, an EU Directive will forbid disposal of tyres in landfill sites. Local Authorities are struggling to handle the large number of abandoned cars, fridges, electrical items and old tyres that are dumped in our countryside. Ratepayers will have to foot the bill for disposal unless we can encourage new technology for renewable energy that will convert such waste to energy without any pollution.

HELP THE POOR TO BE SELF-RELIANT

Almost 1 billion people live on less than US$ 1 a day in rural areas of developing countries. As Co-ordinator of the African, Caribbean Pacific (ACP): EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly and Vice President of its Economic Development Committee, I have stressed the importance of encouraging self-reliance through the transfer of technical knowledge and skills to allow the poor to have a stake in their rural economies.

My Parliamentary Report, "Sustainable Agricultural Policy, Agrarian Reform and Rural Development for Self-Reliance in Developing Countries," promotes this principle and encourages future aid programmes to be directed to establish capacity of food production and support for basic needs of the population e.g. health and education.

This Report compliments my other major Report on "Combating HIV/AIDS, TB & Malaria" that sets out the EU blueprint for fighting these diseases in poor countries. It promotes lower prices (tier pricing) of life saving medicines, training of medical personnel and encouraging development of vaccines for global distribution.

PHARMACEUTICALS REVIEW

As a pharmacist for over 30 years, it has been a challenge and a pleasure for me to engage actively in formulating the new EU legislation for pharmaceutical and veterinary medicines.

Pharmaceutical manufacturers have applied quotas to supply of essential prescription medicines to wholesalers. This has resulted in shortages for doctors and hospitals. I have successfully introduced amendments to ensure an uninterrupted supply from manufacturers so that patients are guaranteed the medicines they need.

Similarly, for veterinary medicines, I have introduced amendments that allow our Agricultural Merchants to continue to supply common medicines such as wormers, dips and vaccines without a veterinary prescription. This is essential for farmers and horse owners and will save them substantial costs.

 

 

HELPING OUR BUSINESSES

My Report on "E-Commerce & the impact of technology on small businesses" is ready for debate in Committee and Parliament. This will establish the guiding principles of free enterprise, minimum red tape and tax incentives for prompting small businesses to create the jobs and wealth they do.

I organised and sponsored two Conferences for Small & Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) this year - in Suffolk (July) that was televised by BBC and broadcast on East at Westminster and a second one in Essex (October). Each of them was attended by more than 60 persons representing farmers, businesses, voluntary organisations and local authorities.

The speakers, including a Brussels based specialist, focused on how our businesses could access the vast amount of EU funding that is available. The speakers quoted examples of successful companies and invited participants to ask questions relating to their own businesses. With 350 million of EU funds available to small businesses in the UK until 2006, there is a real opportunity for our businesses to identify if they qualify. Such funding can create new jobs and stimulate growth of small companies.

EU ENLARGEMENT

The European Commission has recommended that ten countries from East and Central Europe should be considered for full membership of the EU in 2004. Such an enlargement of the EU will increase its population from 360 to 450 million, compared to 300 million in the USA!

Enlargement will bring peace, democracy and prosperity to these nations. However, it will pose two major problems for existing EU Member States. The EU has 9 million farmers. Poland alone has 2 million farmers. Farmers in accession countries will expect agricultural subsidies on an equal basis. This is not possible without a huge increase in the EU budget so the new Members will have to accept a phased period for such benefit.

The second problem relates to the free movement of labour. With higher unemployment levels and lower incomes in these accession countries, it is likely that many will be tempted to move from east to west. Nobody knows what impact this would have on services for health, education and housing in countries such as the UK.

ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT THE EU?

Europe Direct is a new service which offers information and answers to specific questions about the European Union.

Ring the FREEPHONE 00 800 6 7 8 9 10 11 and an operator will provide direct responses to general enquiries and direct you to the best source of advice for more detailed questions.

Visit their website: -

http://europa.eu.int/europedirect/en/about_en.html

ACTIVITIES

7 Sep Parliament Delegation visit to Armenia

13 Sep Rochford & Southend Dinner with IDS

14 Sep Norwich South & Mid Norfolk Ball

21 Sep Campaigning for Charles Rose, Bedford

22 Sep Countryside Alliance March, London

26Sep Addressed Faith Conference,Strasbourg

27 Sep Felixstowe Port meeting with Suffolk CC

4 Oct Addressed Health Conference, Gdansk

7-10 Oct Party Conference, Bournemouth

11 Oct Hosted SME Conference, Stansted

18 Oct Brentwood & Ongar Dinner

 

 

 

 

 

 

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