I want to begin by highlighting a brilliant case in the fight against human trafficking in the UK. You can
read more about this here but it only demonstrates the point that I keep making as I speak about
this issue around the South East. It goes on in your town and it’s going on today. But I’m so pleased
that the police and UK border agency have made these steps.
The campaign to reform the Common Fisheries Policy progressed this month when Hugh Fearnley-
Whittingstall bought his Fish Fight to Brussels, you can read about this here. I also attended a meeting
of the ‘Fish for the Future’ group organised by our Lib Dem colleague Chris Davies MEP to discuss
the long term prospects for Europe’s fish stocks. You can read more about this here. It’s an issue
that both Sharon and I are working on and I hope you also support this.
I also took the opportunity in UK Diabetes week this month to talk about the problems we may face
in the UK in the future and the need for investment now to prevent a national health emergency.
You can read more about this here.
European Parliament visits Hampshire –“Help us invest in you"
This month I hosted a delegation of MEPs of
seven MEPs from the Parliament's Committee
on Regional Development (REGI). We visited
projects that have received funding grants from the
European Commission. The delegation aims to see
how successfully EU funds have been invested locally
in Hampshire, and to learn from local experience
how the funding process can be made easier and
I persuaded the delegation to visit Hampshire instead
of other areas of Europe because I believe the way
we invest EU funds gives us a lot to shout about.
European money is used to redevelop our poorer urban areas, and across the county we are
investing in innovative projects to make our region more competitive and more environmentally
Amongst other things, we visited an organisation called the Radian project in Petersfield. At Radian,
EU funds are being turned into practical solutions for tackling climate change. Thanks to their model
of low carbon social housing, we are seeing how European money can help local people as well as
make Europe more sustainable. These are the common objectives of EU countries.
At the grand Lord Mayor's Parlour in Portsmouth we had a really useful discussion about how we
can improve the EU funding process so money can get from Brussels to local communities as quickly,
and with as little bureaucracy as possible. I have produced a funding guide detailing the various
streams of EU funding so if you want to learn more download it here.
Our delegation has a lot of information to take back to Brussels, and I hope the organisations we
met will see how we can use our membership of the EU to really benefit the people we represent in
the South East.
Is Europe Subsidising Child Labour?
This month I also called on the European Commission to investigate whether the EU is
subsidising child labour in Uzbekistan's cotton industry.
I have been joined by a cross-party group of
MEPs in writing to the Commissioner for
International Trade, calling on the Commission to
investigate how the special trade concessions
granted to Uzbekistan by the EU may be affecting
child labour in Uzbekistan's cotton industry.
The EU grants special trade concessions to
Uzbekistan to encourage the development of its
industries. The preferential tariff arrangements
(GSP) make it easier for cotton from Uzbekistan
to be sold in Europe.
However, it has been reported that Uzbekistan may be breaking the strict human rights clauses that
are attached to the GSP because children in Uzbekistan are forcibly removed from school to work
for up to three months in the September cotton harvest. Human rights groups estimate that
hundreds of thousands of children are involved each year.
I’m calling on the Commission to withdraw these trade preferences if it finds Uzbekistan is in breach
of its human rights commitments. According to reports of NGOs like Anti-Slavery International it does
appear that the EU may be subsidising child labour in granting these special trade concessions. Given
the evidence, the European Commission must investigate these reports. We should be rewarding
protectors of human rights, not those who ignore them. You can learn more about this and sign
Anti-slavery international’s petition here.
Sharon backs ‘Super’ Mario Draghi for European Central
This month my colleague in the South East Sharon Bowles gave her backing to Mario
Draghi, the man who will succeed Jean-Claude Trichet
as President of the European Central Bank.
Draghi, a respected economist and Governor of the
Bank of Italy, was questioned at a special hearing of
Sharon’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee this
month and received the support of MEPs with a vote in the European Parliament last week.
Sharon said: "Mario Draghi is the right choice to succeed Jean-Claude Trichet as President of the
European Central Bank.
"As a former Executive Director of the World Bank and Director General of the Italian Treasury
during a difficult period inItaly's economy, he is well placed to meet the challenges now faced by the
"I was impressed by the answers he gave to my committee drawing on his past experience, not just
repeating ECB lines. OnGreeceof course he did follow the ECB 'no credit event, no haircuts' line but
was fulsome in explaining the effect such an event would have on banks. Many other answers were
also interesting and thought provoking.
"He has the respect of the committee and of Parliament, the vision to make a significant contribution
and I look forward to our monetary dialogues in the future."
Celebrating Volunteering in Worthing
I continued my tour of the region to highlight the work of volunteers and celebrate the
European year of volunteering this month in
I visited two organisations on my trip, both depend
on volunteers, but in different ways.
Projects Abroad works hard to support volunteers
and help them to make a real difference to
communities both at home and abroad. They're a
family-run business, based in Worthing that has 8,000
volunteers helping communities all over the world.
They are now the world's leading overseas
volunteering and gap-year organisation.
I also visited the Maybridge Keystone Centre, a community centre that makes a real difference in the
lives of local residents, particularly the young people they work with almost every day.
Maybridge depends on over twenty volunteers to ensure that it is able to continue running and owes
its very existence in the fantastic new facilities that Catherine visited to those willing to volunteer
their time to help in their community. Two of those volunteers are Councillors Hazel Thorpe and
Trevor England (pictured). The efforts they and the rest have put in over the last few years have left
a lasting legacy for their local community.
This Month’s Euromyth!
This month’s banner headline in the Express was a really spectacular myth.
“EU rules will allow the use of pets and strays in animal experiments.”
Some papers are claiming that EU rules will allow the use of pets and strays in animal
experiments. This is not true.
Apart from the fact that it’s a completely made up story, the origin
of stray and feral animals of domestic species is unknown, which
reduces their scientific value when used in procedures. In addition,
they are not familiar with a laboratory environment, which would
induce unnecessary distress and suffering. Therefore, for scientific,
animal welfare and ethical reasons they should not be used in
scientific procedures. In line with that, Directive 2010/63/EU
contains a prohibition on the use of stray and feral animals in procedures.
However, in some very exceptional cases, such as when investigating an affliction which is particular
only to stray animals (e.g. a disease affecting stray animals only and is transmittable to humans in
contact with them), it may be necessary to use them in a limited research study. However, this
would be highly exceptional and always based on a clear scientific justification and on a case by
case basis and carefully monitored.
Any other testing or research using dogs and cats can only be done with animals that have been
specifically bred for scientific purposes.
For more myth-busting, have a look at the Euromyth section on my website. Hopefully our
responses to these myths will help all of you if you’re challenged about them in a heated European
Can You Help Support a Fantastic Project..?
I wanted to highlight something that is happening today that could lead to the setting
up of a fantastic project. My Life My Choice are an organisation that I first became aware of when I
was involved with the Oxfordshire Community Education
Council in the nineties. They’re a self-advocacy organisation run
by and for people with learning difficulties in Oxfordshire and
they have entered The People’s Millions (a grants programme
run by the Big Lottery Fund, in partnership with ITV). My Life My Choice are competing to win funds
to set up Sting Radio.
The project will set up Oxfordshire’s first radio station run by, and for, people with learning
It will be managed by a young team of people with learning disabilities. They will broadcast a monthly
radio show on Oxfordshire Community Radio which will feature music by people with learning
disabilities as well as discussion of current affairs with local politicians and celebrities. The young
people will be DJs, interviewers, stars, and artists.
Projects that get the maximum number of votes will win the money to start off their project. Voting
is today (Tuesday 28th), by SMS. If you wish to join me in voting for what will be a fantastic project
then you can do so by texting ...........
I will be keeping these newsletters coming out regularly to keep you all up to date with our 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
With best wishes,
Member of the European Parliament for South East England
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