Newsletter from Europe 02/01
Bashir Khanbhai MEP
(Norfolk and Suffolk)





The East of England plan is intended to promote sustainable economic growth, social cohesion and enhance the environment. It covers Luton, Southend, Waveney & Great Yarmouth, Breckland District, the North Norfolk Coast, the Fens, rural East Suffolk and part of central rural Norfolk. Both Objective 2 programmes run for 2000-2006 and include themes of equal opportunities, sustainable development and the Information Society. Website for more info....


The ESF will invest £3.7bn in employment and human resource programmes over the next six years. The policy focus will move from training to a wider range of measures investing in people. Almost £11bn (half of total ESF budget of £21bn) will support schemes to improve employability across the EU whilst £5bn will target promotion of entrepreneurship. A sum of £6.9bn is earmarked for adaptability of the workforce - lifelong learning, IT skills and small businesses. Website for further information:



Around 500,000 farmers in the EU should benefit from a scheme to cut red tape as those receiving small amounts of direct aid (up to £607) will  apply once when they enter the scheme rather than make a separate claim for each type of premium each year. Form filling will be a one-off event for small farmers with the scheme operating as a pilot during 2000-2005. This should help many farmers in Eastern Region.



The EU has formulated a conservation strategy to help cod stocks recover in the North Sea. The quantity of mature cod currently present is at an historically low level and overfishing is depleting this fast risking replenishment by natural reproduction. Mature cod  were protected during last year´s spawning season to improve the egg yield and therefore increase the young cod stocks. The EU proposals will extend these measures to last through this year´s spawning season as well as closing the spawning grounds for 10 weeks.


Environmentalists estimate that thousands of dolphins and porpoises are killed each year in EU waters. Accidental entanglement in fishing nets - or "bycatch" - is the greatest immediate threat to small marine animals. Cetaceans entrapped in fishing nets will remain concious until their oxygen reserves are depleted. In their struggle to free themselves they suffer serious injury and many die. I shall be signing a declaration in the Parliament to urge the EU to incorporate adequate measure to deal with this in the revision of the Common Fisheries Policy.



The EU beef market needs immediately a scientific-market based package that will help farmers and protect the consumers. EU consumption has fallen by 27% and many third countries have banned EU beef. A surplus of 800,000 tons is forecast for this year and buying into intervention is not a solution, because of both the cost and the limits on storage. EU beef production must be restricted with early marketing premium for calves or payments to encourage more extensive farming.


The purchase-for-destruction scheme (for cattle over 30 months old) operating in UK has now started in France, Ireland, Luxembourg and Spain. The Commission Report on implementation of BSE control measures in the Member States can be accessed on Website:



The European Court of Auditors (ECA) confirmed that the EU decision to provide £230m in emergency food aid to the Russian Federation in 1999 was based on "political" considerations and not genuine need..The Commission had studied the situation and concluded that there was no food shortage in Russia at the time but it disregarded its own findings and backed the plan in late 1998. The EU saw an opportunity to offload its surpluses, especially beef. Such assistance  could have been given more cheaply and effectively by using export refunds, which make up for low prices on external markets.

Food aid comprising cereals, beef, pigmeat and milk powder only partially benefited the poorest as prices were still too high for them. Implementation was delayed resulting in arrival at destination after the harvest when demand was weakest but storage costs the highest! Such assistance to Russia and East European countries have enriched a few corrupt politicians and officials in these countries at the expense of the European taxpayers. The Commission has learnt nothing from the "Flechard" case that remains unresolved to this day. The EU must stop  political interference with the free market, reform the CAP and improve the  competence of the Commission!



Millions of EU citizens take daily food supplements, usually concentrated sources of nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids, essential fatty acids, fibre, plant and herb extracts. Consumer demand for these products has increased enormously with annual sales of some £3bn in the UK and £2.5bn in Germany. The European Commission is concerned that proliferation of these products will make it harder to monitor their medical impact on the EU population. Further, there are differences between Member States in formulation, dosage, purity criteria, labelling and regulatory approval.

In my 30 years experience as a pharmacist I have seen many people deriving substantial benefit from such products - products that are assessed by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, the British Medical Association and UK Government´s Ministry of Health. I have confidence in the competence of such authorities.  The bureaucrats in Brussels should not interfere with Member States in such matters.



I have been appointed the European Parliament Rapporteur for "Accelerated Action to Combat Communicable Diseases". I shall be consulting the Governments of countries where the diseases have impacted seriously, the International Agencies (WHO, UNAIDS, Red Cross), the Pharmnaceutical Industry, NGOs and fellow MEPs to seek concensus so that my Report can lead to a Programme of Action for delivering access to treatment at  an affordable price, resources for prevention and appropriate incentives to encourage research and development of new drugs and vaccines.


1. Visited Palestine as a Member of the European Parliament Delegation to Palestine.

2. Attended the NFU Suffolk Annual Meeting in Stowmarket.







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