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Sunday, 9 October 2011

Brussels Commentary Employment Committee 5th/6th Oct 2011

Brussels Commentary       Employment Committee                  5th/6th
Oct 2011

Wednesday started with an MEP complaining that there was no translation
into his language, Danish. He's right of course, and several others
supported him, but in terms of showing "solidarity" with him. They just
can not talk in ordinary terms, they have to use Euro-speak.

We must help combat poverty and social exclusion, apparently, by
submitting a Reform program to the Commission, that's in the Lisbon
treaty. We must also provide more affordable housing and there are moves
afoot to introduce a minimum income.

The issue of Seasonal Workers was debated. Illegal immigrants are being
exploited, surprise, surprise, although some people think it's the other
way round. Some of the committee want the employers to pay for the travel
of these workers from home back to home, and to find their insurance,
while equal pay was raised. Other members thought that only EU people
should be allowed to move about as seasonal workers!

Of more interest to me was a debate on health and safety regarding
electromagnetic fields. For once I was interested because a presentation
from 5 people was largely technical, usually any visiting experts are just
hot air. I am interested in MRI scanning because the 2004 regulations set
the levels of field strength so low to protect medical staff that it would
have spelt the end of MRI. Hence my question, the video of which will be
on my web site in due course.

Thursday    Having debated work-place stress a member from the Czech
Republic said that he felt under stress having seen the voting list for
the day. I don't know why, the votes on whether Croatia should join the EU
only covered a page and a half. I'll admit the voting list for Poverty and
Social Exclusion did occupy 36 pages, but he is paid to do this! Including
the items mentioned above it passed by 34 to 5 with 5 abstentions.

Today ended with a visit by Commissioner Andor, our man in the EC. I was
going to ask a question, but that was impossible because I wanted a real
answer. His twenty minute presentation, -with plenty of "solidarity"-,
included "Gender equality", the unemployment situation,- esp among the
young-, and telling us that there was a 430 million Euro budget for the
Globalisation Adjustment Fund. My question, on "Bombardier", would have
needed a bit of time to answer but, had this been the full one hour
session as advertised, that would have worked. However, he turned up 30
minutes late, having preferred to take a press conference into overtime.
So I waited for him to finish and departed, there being only 12 minutes
left, within which he would have found no time for Bombardier.

Derek Clark   MEP                                      Brussels Oct 6th 2011

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