Why European Parliament? Sept99

Britain is at the heart of Europe. British leadership in European affairs based on long experience of democratic government and international trade is vital in shaping the future development of Europe. The launch of the Euro, the socio-economic adjustment necessary for enlargement to the East and the realisation of an open, competitive single market for goods and services require meticulous vigilance and ingenuity to enact efficient legislation that promotes subsidiarity, enterprise, and accountability.

The Conservative victory in the 1999 European Elections in Britain has given the centre-right party (The European Peoples’ Party EPP) a majority in the European Parliament. It is the only check on the socialist domination of the Council of Ministers and the bureaucratic European Commission.

I look forward to playing my full part in the European Parliament to promote legislation that encourages free enterprise, free markets and creates jobs. People of Europe – the taxpayers – need more opportunities to trade and work. They do not need a centralised bureaucracy that wastes public funds. They need less government and more enterprise. As a Member of the Budget Control Committee, I will have the opportunity to assess the efficiency of the EU institutions and ask for investigation into any mismanagement or fraud of public funds.

Biotechnology and its applications will have an enormous impact on the food we grow and consume. As a Member of the Committee on Industry, External Trade, Research, IT & Energy I will have the opportunity to assess the advances in Biotechnology and new WTO regulations affecting trade in products such as GM foods.

International aid to poor countries has often been misapplied and wasted in projects that are unsustainable. It is vital that aid is given to promote self-reliance and sustainable development at the grassroots. Helping small farmers to acquire technical skills to plant, harvest, store, process, package and market their products will give aid a real meaning. It will give incentive to millions of poor people to have a stake in their land, their local markets and in the rural areas where they prefer to live. It will open the door for them to market directly their products in the developed world. Many missionaries, established in the remote rural areas in the poorest sub-Saharan countries, have shown that their efforts in setting up schools, hospitals, vocational training centres and cottage industries have brought enormous direct benefit to the community. The cost of such assistance is very small indeed! As a Member of the International Co-operation & Development Committee I will have the opportunity to promote such an approach for future aid programmes.