La Treizième Étoile: 17/10/10 - 24/10/10 Blog Archives
News from the European Union with a focus on the South West UK and Gibraltar region and its MEPs
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After five years the UK Conservative leader in Europe decides to step down

Tuesday, 19 October 2010
Timothy Kirkhope, the long-standing leader of the Conservative Party in the European Parliament, has revealed he is to step down from the post in November.

L-R: ECR leader Michal Kaminski, UK Prime Minister David Cameron and Timothy Kirkhope, pictured in Brussels June 2010. (Photo: the announcement on the Conservative Party’s Blue Blog, Mr Kirkhope, pictured above on the right, said he was “extremely proud of all that we have achieved in my time as leader” but has “decided not to offer myself for re-election in the annual elections for positions within our delegation this November.

Mr Kirkhope, who has been leader of the Conservative delegation for the past five years, writes that he intends to focus his efforts on further developing the ECR group as its Deputy Chairman, working side-by-side with the controversial Michal Kaminski (pictured far left) of whom he writes “our partnership has worked well and we intend to build on it so that we can continue to raise our profile and enhance our group’s policy-making machinery.

Seemingly all rosy now, during the summer it emerged that UK Prime Minister David Cameron has reportedly told Mr Kaminski during a meeting in Number 10 that he wanted him and Kirkhope to have a joint chairmanship of the group for the next five years. Kaminski was, according to one source quoted by Iain Dale, left "gobsmacked" by the demand. While his motives remain unknown, one conspiracy touted was that it was Kirkhope’s idea having preciously stepped aside in Kaminski’s favour the previous year.

Mr Kirkhope first became an MEP in 1999 and currently represents the constituency of Yorkshire and the Humber. It was under his tenure than the Conservative Party under instruction from Mr Cameron moved out of the majority EPP group within the parliament to form the marginalised ECR group.

Nominations to succeed Mr Kirkhope close on November 9th and the election will be held in Strasbourg on November 23rd.

The UK Conservative delegation is 25 members strong and among the possible successors to Kirkhope are the Telegraph’s outspoken blogger Daniel Hannan, the Chair of the Internal Market and Consumer Protection committee Malcolm Harbour and the often-absent” and “mumbling 77-year old Derek Clark.

France gets off scot-free for its Roma deportations as Commission drops legal threat

Nicolas Sarkozy after winning the first round of presidential elections in France, April 2007. (Photo: Reuters)It appears as if France has got off scot-free (at least for the time being) with its deportations of its Roma population during the summer. Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding, who led the verbal counter-attack, has today indicated that the Commission was dropping its threat to start infringement procedures.

As reported by the French daily Le Monde, in a statement following the weekly meeting of EU commissioners meeting in Strasbourg while the Parliament holds its monthly plenary session Ms Reding said that "following the official commitments made by France last Friday, the European Commission will now, for the time being, not pursue the infringement procedure against France".

The Commission had set Friday October 15th as the deadline for France to adopt into its national legislation the EU's Free Movement Directive of 2004, which guarantees EU citizens freedom of movement within the bloc.

Yet, while not adopting the directive immediately, the documents submitted just before this deadline by France “includes draft legislative measures and a credible calendar for putting the procedural safeguards required under the EU's Free Movement Directive into French legislation by early 2011”, Ms Reding revealed.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy was reportedly “very happy” at Ms Reding’s reaction. Oh quelle surprise…

UN's Ban Ki-Moon to address MEPs as poverty takes center stage in Strasbourg

Monday, 18 October 2010
A giant blue ribbon have been placed at the main entrance of the EP in Strasbourg to mark the International Day Against Poverty (Photo: European Parliament)The United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon is due to address MEPs tomorrow during October’s plenary session and alongside the Parliament's President Jerzy Buzek will launch a blue-ribbon campaign to symbolise the fight against poverty.

Designated as the UN Eradication of Poverty Day, October 17th marked the beginning of a week of events to highlight the problem of poverty at the European Parliament, with the EU already having defined 2010 as the European Year against Poverty.

Estimated to affect around 85 million people in EU, some 17% of the population, it is expected that Ban Ki-Moon will speak at length about this problem while also addressing the likelihood of micro financing to lift people out of poverty, the next steps in the fight against climate change ahead of the Cancún conference in December and review the UN's Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) summit in his address.

Ban Ki-Moon is due to begin his address before Parliament at 11am (GMT) immediately following a plenary debate on the eradication of poverty. A press conference has been scheduled to take place immediately afterwards. Both can be viewed via EPlive.

In other business of note in Strasbourg this week, President Buzek will deliver a mid-term review of his own period in office, on Wednesday at 11am (GMT) and MEPs will vote on whether to extend the period of full-paid maternity leave from 14 to 20 weeks and also have their say on the EU’s budget for the 2011. The winner of the annual Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought will also be revealed on Thursday with three finalists selected by members of the Foreign Affairs committee this evening.

Last election:

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