Strasbourg Commentary Plenary session Feb 4th - 7th 2013
Tuesday The famous reform of the Common Fisheries Policy was up for vote. Did not lack for advice, must have received over 1000 emails asking for support. Counter productive of course, can't reply to them all even when they are all the same. At the end of 15 pages of over 300 amendments I abstained in the final vote. This was because, while I deplore the CFP, especially discards, Am 63 was passed because that includes the Sea Bed in the definition of EU waters. Think about the range of minerals therein.
Also Tuesday the vote on "Corporate and Social responsibility" with my short notice speech on the website already, to go with that on "Employment Policy" of earlier in the day.
Thursday was notable for Ms Lope Fontagne throwing a wobbler and, after a prolonged intervention in the voting session withdrawing her name from her own report on, "Economic Policy Coordination, employment and social aspects." , because of interference in her work and lack of support.
Highlight of the Week The speech by Francois Hollande, French Premier. 48 minutes of the most boring address yet. Basically he wants to "Harmonise "everything as an answer to the "people's" wishlist of peace, security, prosperity..... and how to revive the European Budget problem, not sure what his answer was. But young people need qualifications, expenditure must match income, the budget must promote innovation and support the poorest, must manage our resources.
The EU is not just a market economy, nor must it be an accumulation of European nations each fighting their own corner, then had the nerve to defend the CAP, saying that French farmers were greatly in need of it!
For the EFD Phillppe de Villiers responded as our prime speaker, remember that he had delivered the first real blow to the EU; the French "Non" to the European Constitution in 2007. He remarked that everything Hollande said has had the opposite effect, which is why the people of Europe had been melting away in support for the EU. Hollande has only just begun!
Nigel's response in the second round of lead speakers is on the party web.
Swaboda, the socialist leader, actually said that the EU had been a political construct from the word "Go", it never was just a Common Market. Now that's a nice line for your letters to the papers. He went on to say that under privileged youngsters in Nottingham (he'd just been there) were being helped with EU money!
Verhofstadt even compared the EU to the Soviet Union which had 5 year plans, we have 7 year plans!
Odd isn't it. As they get further and further into the mire, and as people all over the EU begin to question it, they start to admit the true origins and purpose of the EU: they are beginning to abandon pretence. Desperation or arrogance?!!
One fact picked up in the debate. The EU deficit now stands at 60 Billion Euros.
Derek Clark MEP Strasbourg Feb 7th 2013