Newsletter from Europe Issue 9/2002
Bashir Khanbhai MEP
(Norfolk and Suffolk)




Thank you to all friends and supporters who gave up time at weekends to vote in our Region's hustings. Whilst the single meeting in Newmarket in 1999 attracted almost 900 people, only a total of 544 people turned up at the four venues this year. Essex had the highest turnout of 220.

Extraordinarily, Robert Sturdy and I tied for second place with exactly the same number of voting points (2219). Election rules for such a result dictate that the choice should be made on the number of first choices. Robert scored 6 more first choices than me and was placed second on the Eastern Region list. I have accepted my position as the third candidate on the list and I am extremely grateful to all my friends and supporters who worked so hard to help me.

With enlargement of the EU, our Region will have only 7 MEPs so we will all have to work hard to secure a good turnout and a high Conservative vote to ensure that the four incumbent Conservative MEPs are returned to Brussels.



Currently, there are no specific safeguards on the quality and safety of unlicensed herbal remedies in the UK. Anyone can buy these products without being aware of important information on pharmacological action, adverse effects and possible interactions with food, alcohol and prescription medicines. Clearly, there is a need for both choice as well as public safety.

 The new Herbal Medicines Directive proposes to set up a special Committee within the European Medicinal Evaluation Agency (EMEA) that will monitor and advise on registration and licensing of traditional herbal medicines. There will be minimum standards for content and quantity of ingredients. The labelling requirements will also cover specification for therapeutic indication, route of administration, dosage and adverse reactions. These measures will also discourage and eliminate the unchecked presence of low-grade herbal products with little therapeutic benefit.

People in our region have nothing to fear from this new Directive. Once it has been considered by the Council of Ministers, any amendments will return to Parliament in Brussels/Strasbourg for a Second Reading. As a qualified Pharmacist for 32 years, I will not hesitate to go an extra mile to ensure an appropriate balance so that there is choice of availability as well as safeguards for contents and labelling.



Since Labour came to power in 1997, British businesses have faced unnecessary red tape and crippling direct and indirect taxation. This burden has eroded their competitive edge and reduced domestic sales and UK exports.

As a principal member of the Committee on Industry, Trade, Research and Energy, I have analysed how British businesses can be freed from these constraints. My current Parliamentary Report, "Impact of the e-Economy on European Enterprises" examines the influence of Internet Technology and its implications for the success of small businesses.

The report encourages financial incentives for small enterprises to acquire and use the new technology, as well as to train their employees. It also promotes drastic cuts in taxes, red tape and the burden of data collection. Such measures will stimulate e-commerce and ensure that Britain achieves greater productivity and manufactures high value added products to compete globally.

I have been invited by the European Commission to speak at their Conference on the E-Economy and Small Businesses in Athens in January 2003.





The European Commission wishes to force perfume manufacturers to declare all ingredients on their packaging. Such declarations are alleged to enhance consumer awareness of allergies and improve the safety of cosmetic products.


Perfumeries like Guerlain, Chanel and Patou are incensed that the EU intends to force them to disclose their secret formulations!


Formulating and packaging perfumes for sale is an art and only the best ingredients and presentations win the hearts of young and old With high investment in research and development, formulations and ingredient sources are trade secrets.


Packaging for Coke, Heineken, Fairy Liquid and Palmolive soap do not declare any such formulations nor do they disclose the analysis of the perfumes or flavouring oils they use.

How can the EU implement such a ruling? How will the EU monitor the hundreds of products imported by individual travellers returning to the UK? This is yet another bad proposal from the EU and I shall oppose it!




The European Parliament Directive on Temporary Agency Workers will hit the UK more than other EU Member States as more than half of all EU temporary workers (700,000) are in the UK. The Directive offers these temporary workers the same rights (pay and conditions) as full time workers right from day one of their employment.

The impact of this would be devastating for UK agriculture, factories, hotels and restaurants and a vast number of small family-run businesses.

Companies are likely to reduce their use of temporary workers, putting an estimated 170,000 jobs at risk.

Others will pass the cost on to consumers through higher prices and in all cases

employers will hold down or reduce wages and benefits for existing full time employees.

All countries on the continent use temporary workers and many of them work on very low wages, without contract and without registration for taxation. More workers are exploited in these countries than in the UK where temporary workers from agencies usually enjoy higher pay, flexibility of hours and security of employment.

The EU needs a Directive to regularise the temporary workers market on the continent by encouraging temporary employment to be managed by agencies. This will reduce the black economy in Italy, Greece, France, and Spain among others, and reflect the true Gross Domestic Product and disposable incomes of their citizens. However, I shall be opposing the latest proposal, as it is not acceptable to Britain in its current form.



The Ethiopian Government have invited me to their country to assess the famine and the state of the economy. I am scheduled to fly to Addis Ababa on 7thJanuary 2003. I have chosen to take an experienced Dutch Socialist MEP and the Development Committee General Secretary with me to ensure that my Report will have cross party support.


I shall submit my full Report to the European Parliament in January 2003 so that it can soon be adopted and actioned.




Maria and I would like to wish all friends and supporters a very Happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year!




03 Jan Textile Industry Group, Melbourne, OZ

07 Jan Ethiopia Visit: Famine Assessment

16 Jan EU Business Seminar, Athens

17 Jan Mid-Norfolk Dinner with K. Simpson MP

23 Jan Development for the Poor (ACP), Brussels

30 Jan Breckland District Council Visit

30 Jan Address Royal Society of Chemists, UEA

31 Jan Food & Agriculture Mtg, Easton College  






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