The European parliament is now in its summer recess and the last few weeks are always a busy time trying to get legislation through before the break.
Something we did manage to get through is confirming new ambitious CO2 targets for cars that will also save drivers a lot of money, read more here. We also welcomed a new member state to the EU this month, so dobrodošli to Croatia!
As well as the summer break for all the MEPs and the European Parliament, we’re now approaching school summer holidays. I’ve included some advice about holidaying in Europe at the end if you are planning on getting away. Whatever you do I hope you enjoy your summer and that the lovely weather continues!
The roadshow rolls into a town near you
We’re now halfway through our fantastic jobs roadshow that’s visiting all corners of the South East. The message is simple. Hundreds of thousnds of jobs rely on our trade with the EU.
The europe4prosperity campaign has well and truly kicked off and we’ve had some fantastic trips so far to Berkshire, Surrey, Kent and Hampshire.
It is so important people understand the impact of potentially leaving the European Union would be felt in every city, town and village. So many of our businesses have benefitted from an ability to trade freely with other member states.
Right now in the South East, more than 500,000 jobs rely on a stronger relationship with the EU, with the UK key to decisions affecting our economy.
The best bit has been visiting businesses and organisations in each place that recognise how important this is too, from the CBI in Reading to the University of Kent’s innovation centre.
I’ve also been able to join up with fantastic Lib Dem volunteers everywhere we’ve visited and I managed to break a personal record in Bookham by signing up a new member (pictured below) in my first five minutes!
We’ll be continuing the roadshow next week visiting Oxforshire, East and West Sussex, Berks, Bucks Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. It’s going to be a busy week!
If you beleive that remaining in the European Union is vital for our jobs, our security and our environment, join the campaign now at www.europe4prosperity.co.uk
A bit of fowl play!
Earlier this month I had the chance to test my bird watching skills on a visit the RSPB’s beautiful Otmoor Nature Reserve on the outskirts of Oxford.
It is a remarkable gem of a place which is home to huge wet meadows and reed beds. Otmoor is a haven in winter for thousands of ducks, such as teals and wigeons, and in spring and summer for breeding wading birds, such as lapwings and redshanks.
To think it was only established in 1997, the extent of the work and birds now attracted to the site is impressive.
I work closely with the RSPB in Brussels and it was fantastic to see their work firsthand.
The team is committed to protecting biodiversity and has received support from the EU LIFE+ programme, which is aimed at places such as Otmoor.
To find out more about the work at the nature reserve, and maybe plan a visit, then log on at www.rspb.org.uk
“EU could hike the cost of a Sunday roast” – This story appeared in The Sunday Express last month but, don’t worry, it’s mainly porkies!
The Sunday Express would have its readers believe there has been a seismic land movement on the Continent.
Last month they reported the price of Britain’s traditional Sunday roast could rise as a result of “plans in Brussels”.
This seems to be a perplexing conclusion as they reveal in the article that, in fact, it is Sweden’s Board of Agriculture that has called for an EU-wide tax on meat as a way of helping to cut greenhouse gas emissions from food production.
So our Sunday roast is off the EU menu!
My Euromyth Buster campaign is building quite a following… with plenty of Europhiles and Eurosceptics getting involved in the debate at www.facebook.com/EuromythBuster.
Lib Dems block Tory attempt to go soft on crime
This month I welcomed the news that Lib Dems in Government have vetoed Conservative plans to opt out of key EU crime-fighting measures.
The UK has the option of leaving a series of cross-border EU crime fighting measures as part of the Lisbon Treaty and must make a decision by next year.
Following prolonged negotiations within the coalition, Theresa May announced the Government will be opting back in to 35 of the 136 measures, including all those regarded as vital by the Association of Chief Police Officers.
The real shame for me was that the Tories are so blinded by their anti-EU prejudice that they have gone soft on crime. They were proposing to withdraw from key European crime-fighting measures which leading British law enforcement experts have repeatedly warned are vital for Britain’s security.
The irony is earlier this month Ian McLean, a prisoner serving a life sentence for stabbing and punching a former lover, escaped from a mental health unit in Oxford.
Thanks to cross border police cooperation and the European Arrest Warrant the 44-year-old was captured after being tracked down to a town in Poland.
Lib Dems were determined not to let ideology trump the safety of the British people and have ensured that UK will remain part of crucial measures such as the European Arrest Warrant, which has led to the capture of thousands of criminals including murderers, human traffickers, paedophiles and terrorists.
Holidaying in Europe?
One of the (many!) advantages of the European Union is that it has meant that holidaying within the area is much easier and safer for its citizens.
I want to remind you of a few important things that you always need to remember when travelling abroad to make your holiday as enjoyable as possible.
Fortunately, there is now no need to look up and remember the emergency numbers for each EU country you are visiting. Just remember 112! 112 is the European emergency number, reachable from fixed and mobile phones, free of charge, everywhere in the EU, including the UK.
You also need to remember your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before you travel. This replaced the E111 form in 2006 and it gives the holder rights to healthcare that becomes necessary during a temporary visit to EEA (European Economic Area) countries or Switzerland. You can apply for your card by calling 0845 606 2030 or through this website.
And don’t forget that any trip in Europe you can buy a ticket for in advance has to deliver the service as advertised or offer you compensation if they fail, thanks to the EU cooperation across the 28 countries.
I will be keeping these newsletters coming out regularly to keep you all up to date with my work in the European parliament and the region but if there’s anything you want to see in these pages or any issues or problems you feel I should be looking at then don’t hesitate to contact me at email@example.com. My Lib Dem colleague in the European Parliament, Sharon Bowles has now started her own monthly newsletter and you can sign up by visiting her website at www.sharonbowles.org.uk.
With best wishes,
Member of the European Parliament for South East England