Welcome to the mad world of the EU!

..working towards the divorce of the UK and the EU...

Friday, 31 January 2014


Members may wish to know, if they didn’t already, that I’m also a Member of CAEF, The Campaign against Euro Federalism.  This is very strongly a trade union movement and it consistently speaks against our EU Membership.  Two of the best speeches condemning our membership I have ever heard were from Lord Peter Shore his widow later joined us.  The second being Bob Crowe of the RMT.  Each of them denounced the EU, the former in gentlemanly terms, the latter like a wrecking ball.   
I therefore receive the ‘Democrat’ every month and on the front page of the current issue it reports:-
·           Gallop Survey showed 19% of Greeks approved of the EU in 2013, and 21% of Cypriots.
·           Less than a third approve of the EU, in the UK, the Czech Republic and Sweden.
·           Spain showed a decrease in support from 59% to 27% last year.
·           Ireland went down from 70% to 47%.
All those are bail out countries but Sweden went down 17 points, Finland 14 points and Denmark 10 points.  The Netherlands down from 59% support to 48%. 
It also points out that support among the young in the countries so badly affected by the Euro has dropped by very significant figures. 
Now to quote some data from the last meeting of the Employment Committee which points out that SME’s are the backbone of the EU economy, 20.7 million SME’s provide 67% of private sector employment. 
It also points out that there is a drop in the EU among those who want to be self employed from 45% down to 37% in the last three years. 
50% say they cannot obtain sufficient information on how to start a business.  In that respect the report says that in Belgium it takes 4 days to set up a business but in Malta it is 40 days. 
It lists a whole range of policies which favour SME’s including innovation, competitiveness, internationalism, reducing bureaucracy etc etc.
It does point out that the unemployment rate among young Europeans, aged 15-24, has reached 23% and above 50% in those, “Members states hardest hit by the crisis”. 
This Employment Committee document goes on to worry about a huge brain drain but nowhere does it mention the adverse affect of the Euro currency.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Brussels Commentary Employment Committee Jan 22nd, 23rd 2014

Brussels Commentary Employment Committee Jan 22nd, 23rd 2014

Debates this week on eleven topics such as,-

*Economic and social aspects in the Annual Growth survey, 260 amendments and adopted by 32 to 3

*How can the EU create a hospitable environment for enterprises and new jobs

*Proposal for a directive for Seafarers

*Social Summit for Growth and Employment

*Directive to promote inland waterway transport

*Posting of workers

* Five discharges listed not debated. That's saying OK to spending already made.

Otherwise none of these topics were voted on this time while Votes were taken on a text on "Rights of Freedom of movement of workers", but without debate, adopted by 31 to 1

Finally, a debate and vote on, "Are tools in place to monitor the effectiveness of European Social Fund spending on Older Workers", which arose from the Auditors Special report. Adopted it by 33 to 2 without even offering me a slice of the Social Fund! So mine was one of the 2 votes against.

After all this a presentation by the Greek minister for Labour, Mr Yannis Vroutsis since it is the start of the Greek presidency and at the change all Committees get a visit by the appropriate minister.

He sounded just like his boss, the Greek premier a week earlier. The problems are not just of Greece, there is instability in the whole EU. Greece is now showing positive signs. In the last year employment has now stabilised reflecting the economy as a whole and Greece will show a surplus this year.

Their top priority will be to tackle Youth Unemployment. In the wider employment field their "Artemis" program will tackle undeclared work which denies the Greek exchequer of revenue.

They will press on with equal opportunities and try to end discrimination. In particular they will seek to achieve a gender balance on company boards.

A bit like most of the initial presentations by Ministers of Member States.

Derek Clark MEP Brussels 23rd Jan 2014

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Strasbourg Commentary Plenary Session Jan 13th – 16th 2013

Strasbourg Commentary Plenary Session Jan 13th – 16th 2013

Tuesday Carbon Capture and Storage. This illustrates my original suspicion about global warming and all that. They mean Carbon Dioxide, so why not say so. If I write letters to the paper and mis-use the apostrophe, for example, the roof falls in.

Why? Language is only for communication. If you are in a strange town and want a cup of tea in the afternoon and see a notice, “Teas’s” do you scream and run away. No, if you enter therein in you will be served a pot of tea and a sticky bun, if you are lucky. You will not be offered a pair of lady’s corsets. The grotesque notice has fulfilled its one and only function, correct information. But to use carbon when you mean carbon dioxide is wrong, it means lumps of black charcoal flying about! Why can’t these amateur scientists get it right?

Plenty of worker’s Rights this time, and dealing with plastic waste. Got into trouble in the UKIP MEP’s meeting on this one. Got told that lots of plastic bags, and so on, are biodegradable these days, that’s the way to go. All OK until I pointed out that if you degrade a kilogram of plastic you will still have a kilogram of something else, since you can not destroy matter. Basic Rule. Not appreciated, got called a scientist!! Code for ,“don’t know what I’m talking about”, when in fact I do!!

We press on.

Wednesday You will recall the Ashley Fox attempt to curtail Strasbourg meetings, expensive and all that. He is right, But…

Latest plan is to reduce each week of four days to three and this is to be put to the Conference of Presidents!. Rubbish. I’m all in favour of deleting Strasbourg. Its expensive to take all the paper there and bring it back again, plus our assistants and so on. But reducing to 3 days in a week not 4 will still mean the same cost of an airline ticket and the same cost of transferring the paper work each week. In fact it will cost more per day if only 3, not 4, days. Will it save a day’s expenses for all of us. Well, because it is so difficult to get there business does not start until 5.00pm on the Monday, and Thursday pm is a waste of time (that’s why I have time now to do this). So we actually do two full days and two halves. This plan would mean one full day and two halves, unless we started at 9.00 am on the Monday, which means an overnight flight and hotel stay Sunday night. No money saved there. Ah well!

Other tit-bits today included Honey. Got a note on my door, “Pollen is not an ingredient of honey” Gee, did not know that!. They are getting all worked up about the possibility of pollen from GM crops getting into the honey. Got into more trouble in the vote meeting! What with that and “Wildlife Crime” today…

Thursday We appointed a new member of the European Central Bank today, a Mrs Sabine Lautenslschlager. She had never worked as a banker, only in banking regulatory systems So that’s alright then.

Votes also on “EU citizenship for sale”. Voting figures indicate that this is perfectly OK but they do like the idea of Iceland being encouraged to join the EU. Suffice it to say that this is an Icelandic Government promotion, The Icelanders do not go along with it; they have too much fish to lose! Go to Iceland. Just three natural resources; fish, the lakes of melted ice, which provide hydro-electric power, and the hot springs which provide all the central heating and hot water. That’s it, yet the shops are full of all the goods you would expect. They all work very hard!

The week ended with my speech on Homeless this morning at about 9.30 am. View via this link http://www.ukipmeps.org/articles_782_Derek-Clark-We-need-settled-communities.html

Notice that Lazslo Andor, Employment Commissioner, actually responded to my comment about him in his summing up. That’s something I suppose. I spoke to him as he left when he repeated that he had been mis-quoted by the ‘Mail’. I can hardly believe that!. However, I took him at his word and suggested that he, “Joins the club”.

The speaker after me was Andrew Brons who also mis-quoted me, as well as mis-quoting Nigel. I wanted to challenge him by using the blue card but they have just ruled it out of order for any one on the list of speakers to do that. Never mind, not really bothered about the BNP.

The “Homeless Strategy” passed but with so many defeated amendments (unusual) that I do not know what it boils down to. To be honest, did not know that anyway.

On my way home.

Derek Clark MEP Strasbourg 16th Jan 2014

Strasbourg Commentary (Part 2) Plenary session 13th – 16th Jan 2014

The outstanding event of the week was the appearance of the Greek Premier, Mr Samaras

His 40 minute presentation was to re-assure everyone that all in the Greek garden was lovely. Greece was now breaking even on the budget, that the current balance was OK. Yes, there was the outstanding Debt, he did not say how much!!, but they could now start paying back. They were on an even keel and there was social stability. He was grateful for the Solidarity shown by all the EU member states.

Then the round of lead speakers began.

Daul (EPP President) said Greek farmers would do better if they were not saddled with 10% on borrowing. They ought to reduce that, and that was the kind of Solidarity we need, MR FARAGE!

Swaobada Socialist) the demands of the Troika were not acceptable. It was destroying the social network in Greece., must be phased out. On a UK tack he complained that Cameron suppresses publication of benefit figures until after the Euro Elections.

Verhofstadt (ALDE) FARAGE wants to block worker movement when it is only 2.8% of working population. This is far too low, we want more movement, not less.

Harms (Greens) A mistake to say that reforms are working. The people do not buy into the systems. Public services are poor, Greece is in Depression, not recession. Greek jobs are being done in Brussels. Greece has foreign companies exploiting their resources.

Callanan (ECR) Samaras painted a nice picture but it is misleading.

Zimmer (NGL) It’s a social disaster in Greece with very high unemployment. There is a lot of illegitimate debt, ie conversion of private debt into Government debt.

So, not exactly a rosy Greek picture after all. You will have seen Nigel’s piece already, if not on this link. http://www.ukipmeps.org/articles_779_Farage-A-Battle-of-National-Democracy-vs-EU-State-Bureaucracy.html and I have never seen Nigel attacked by speakers before he got up to speak, still less two of them.

Personally I have been wrong on one count. I thought that they would all rally round Greece with the Euro elections in May so as to keep up the pretence of all being well, but not this week. Perhaps they will find some magic in April.

Derek Clark MEP 16th Jan 2014