Strasbourg Commentary Plenary Session 14th - 17th Nov 2011
Tuesday You may recall earlier comments of mine about the EU moving in on Education,- University Degree documents to carry the EU logo and to be labelled as an EU Qualification, without reference to the University where a student actually graduated. Today we voted on the "Implementation of Professional Qualifications Directive", adopted by 463 - 163 votes. It was an "own initiative" report, that's by an individual, not from the commission. The author was your East Mids MEP, Emma McClarkin, and the Commission often take these individual reports up and push them through later, officially.
Wednesday The day began with a major debate, "Economic Governance." Barosso, Von Rompuy and Jean-Claude Juncker led and trotted out all the usual rhetoric, Solidarity and so on. I have to say Barosso was less bombastic than usual, but he pressed for Treaty changes, the Community Method and declared that the Euro is central to the EU; excellent news!
Jean Claude Juncker wants the EU to become more political, yes, more political! He also wants the Euro Group, of which he is President, to be permanently established in Brussels.
Von Rompuy, made a lasting impression, can't tell you what he said!
Of group leaders the ALDE leader, Verhofstadt, did not disappoint. He was more vehement than usual, demanding that the Commission get a grip of the financial crisis. Not elected members mark you, either here or in the Greek or Italian governments. He wants the "Community Method" not the "intergovernmental" one, he always does, he wants a single European State run by bureaucrats,- but what else from a former Belgian Prime Minister.
If you have not seen the video of Nigel's response make sure you do, soon.
Thursday Came the vote on Combating Illegal Fishing, to which I spoke earlier, text and video on my web. It passed by 491 - 7 votes. This includes a move to establish a common Coastguard organisation, as though we didn't have one ourselves, tried and tested over the years. They just do not understand that, as they don't understand the stupidity of this being voted on by countries which have no coast line!
Which leads me to fishing and the Boston fishermen. I saw them last week having been to the offices of the Inshore Fisheries people the previous day. Would you believe that I heard two quite different accounts. The Boston boys know that there are about 30,000 tons of cockles out in the Wash, but they are not allowed to go for them; used their quota up earlier in the year. Never mind the fact that many cockles will die over the winter and, in so doing, exude poisons which kill the juveniles to be found close to the dead adults. Thus next year's lot will be killed off before they mature!
I'm off to Kings Lynn again tomorrow. I wonder what these inspectors will think of the coverage I've got in the two Boston papers this week! More to come after tomorrow. With a bit of luck my comments about the coastguard will be in the nationals tomorrow, or over the week end.