Newsletter from Europe 12/00
Bashir Khanbhai MEP
(Norfolk and Suffolk)

 

 

EU BUDGET 2001

Conservative MEPs aimed to amend the EU Budget 2001 as follows:-

  1. Funding for Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) swallows up almost 50% of the EU Budget. As UK agriculture is efficient and needs less subsidy, we should aim for Member States to finance more of the funding for CAP from their own Treasuries. This would reduce substantially our EU contribution and allow more support for our own farmers.

  2. Re-allocate budget lines into Reserve in a number of specific areas where we assess the EU management policies need improvement.

  3. Oppose budget lines where funding is not justified e.g. Subsidy to Greek farmers for growing tobacco ($984m); subsidy for olive oil sector ($360m); subsidy for wine ($325m).

 

We will continue to fight waste, fraud, mismanagement and unnecessary subsidies so that taxpayers money is used effectively in promoting business including our agriculture.

 

EURO

A weak Euro is bad for British exporters and farmers. Its weakness reflects the failure of political leadership in the EU. European politicians should bring about economic and structural reform in their countries before rushing into enlargement.

Action is lacking in several areas: capital markets - there is no support for pensions reform; transport - there is a reticent attitude towards liberalisation of rail freight; intellectual property rights - progress on the Community patent is half blocked; energy - there is no initiative to lower energy taxes which are five times higher in the EU than the USA.

SMALL BUSINESSES IN THE UK

In 1999 there were about 3.7m active enterprises of which over 95% employed fewer than 10 people. These small businesses form the lifeblood of our economy as they account for more than 50% of the private sector workforce. Small firms contribute over 40% of the UK's total output. Whilst large companies - especially state owned - are shedding labour, small firms have created over 2 million new jobs in the last 10 years. 

Excessive paperwork (red tape) and high cost of employing labour discourage growth of small businesses e.g. Working Time Regulations cost UK business 2.3bn each year. If only a quarter of the 3.7m small businesses in the UK were able to take one more employee, our country would achieve full employment!

 

SUGAR

The EU Sugar Regime, renewed every 5 years, provides:-

a) Production quotas for each Member State

b) Producer levy that ensures no net burden to the EU budget from EU production

c) An acceptable return to growers despite lower quotas and lower prices for UK farmers resulting from a weak Euro.

d) Regulated access to the EU market to African, Caribbean & Pacific countries (ACP) producing cane sugar.

New proposals from the European Commission will allow unlimited free access to ACP producers, abolish the EU Storage Cost Compensation scheme and renew the Sugar Regime for only two years.

Such measures will  allow middlemen in ACP countries to import cheap sugar from third countries to export to the EU at a higher price.  EU sugar producers and refiners will be devastated.

Efficient UK producers of beet sugar, especially in East Anglia, will experience considerable hardship and upto 23,000 jobs could be at risk countrywide!

 

CONSERVATION OF WILD BIRDS 

EU Directive 79/409/EEC of April 1979 requires that wild birds "are not hunted during the rearing season nor during the various stages of reproduction" and in the case of migratory species, "during their return to their rearing grounds."

This Directive is 20 years old and a number of difficulties have arisen in precisely defining the reproduction and migratory periods of the birds concerned. I have, together with other MEPs, encouraged debate and consultation with the European Commission. Clearly, a new Directive should be based on the most recent scientific data allowing sustainable management of migratory birds.

 

BAN FOR ANIMAL WASTE IN FEED

The EU has proposed new criteria that would require that animal feed may only use animal products fit for human consumption. Such products from healthy animals will be subject to appropriate treatment and approval by health inspectors. Regulations will determine collection, transport, storage and processing. Protein meal not destined for feed will be marked by a dye. 

 

EU CHARTER OF FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS  

Heads of State of the EU, including our PM Tony Blair, decided at the Cologne European Council in June 1999 that a "European Charter of Fundamental Rights" should be drawn up, setting out all the civil, political, economic and social rights of EU citizens. The European Council also stated that the Charter might subsequently be incorporated into the Treaties so that it could become legally binding on the EU authorities and serve as a basis for court action by any citizen.

Such a binding Charter could conflict with existing legislation and tradition in Member States and will open the flood gate for endless litigation in the courts. So far, Mr.Blair has given the impression that the EU Charter will not be binding.  

Copies of the Charter can be obtained from: European Parliament, 2 Queen Anne's Gate, London SW1H 9AA, Tel: 020 7227 4300 or Fax: 020 7227 4302 or E-mail: eplondon@europarl.eu.int or download from http://www.europarl.org.uk

 

 

INFORMATION: EU CONTRACTS/FUNDING

1. Europa is the EU's official website. It contains information on all of the Union's activities and has specific pages devoted to contracts and funding is: http://europa.eu.int

2. For information on grants and loans: http://europa.eu.int/comm/secretariat_
general/sgc/info_subv/index_en.htm

3. Homepages of Commission departments: These often contain information on calls for tender and funding. http://europa.eu.int/comm/dgs_en.htm

4. TED (Tenders Electronic Daily) gives information on roughly 500 new EU contracts every day!

http://www2.echo.lu/ted

5. CORDIS is a "horizontal" database containing information on research funding available from all Commission departments. http://www.cordis.lu

6. Euro Information Centre in UK can be contacted on Tel: 0800 78 36 553

 

RECENT VISITS TO THE CONSTITUENCY

1. EUW Meeting in Coltishall, Norfolk.

2. John Innes Centre, Norwich North & South.

3. Alms Houses & Woodbridge School.

4. Southwold Conservative Association.

5. Downham Market Conservatives.

6. Furnell Transport, Hemel Hempsted, Herts.

7. Conservative Cllrs at Herts County Council.

8. Eastern Region Assembly, Thurrock.

9. Meet businessmen & Francis Maude in Norwich.

 

VISIT TO STRASBOURG IN 2001

June 10-14th  & September 2-6th

2 nights in Strasbourg & 2 nights in France

Cost:- About 150 incl B&B, twin occupancy

Single supplement 18 per night

Maximum 34 per coach for each trip

Apply in writing. 

MERRY CHRISTMAS & A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL FRIENDS AND SUPPORTERS IN THE CONSTITUENCY!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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