La Treizième Étoile: 11/09/11 - 18/09/11 Blog Archives
News from the European Union with a focus on the South West UK and Gibraltar region and its MEPs
My tweets (@SWUKinEU)
UK plans to reduce fuel duty on its remote isles gets Commission green light

Saturday, 17 September 2011
Proposals to give rural communities in the United Kingdom a 5p per litre discount on the cost of their fuel has been given the green light by the European Commission.

The plans form part of the coalition government’s strategy to help remote communities deal with the high and rising price of fuel, and the discount will initially apply to all islands in the Inner and Outer Hebrides in Scotland, the Northern Isles, and the Isles of Scilly in the South West.

This first step is part of a pilot scheme targeted at helping citizens on the islands where on average the price of fuel is 10 percent higher than on the mainland because of the added costs of transporting and distributing the fuel.

Under existing EU law, there is a minimum rate at which VAT can be set for most ‘luxury’ goods, including fuel. Because this scheme would break those rules, the UK government had to seek permission from the European Commission in Brussels to roll out the scheme. All that remains is for the finance ministers of the 27 EU member states to grant their consent at their next meeting.

South West MEP Sir Graham Watson has welcomed the decision that will see citizens on the Isles of Scilly in his constituency benefit from a 5p a litre reduction on fuel duty of diesel purchased on the islands.

I am delighted that the Commission have decided to support the coalition government’s plans to help businesses and households who are struggling to meet rising fuel costs in some of the most remote parts of the UK,” he said.

No start date has been set yet for the discounts to come into effect but Mr Watson hopes that local petrol stations will be reimbursed by the Treasury “from day one to ensure they do not make a loss on the reduced petrol prices”.


Stop press! 'Active' SW UKIP MEP Trevor Colman actually addresses the EP Plenary

Friday, 16 September 2011
As regular readers of this blog will have noted, it is not often that I am able to write about the activity of the region's UKIP MEPs, but during this week's plenary session in Strasbourg, Trevor Colman actually addressed the chamber (!).

In the debate on Wednesday morning on the economic crisis and the Euro, the Cornish-born MEP rose for only the second time in 2011 to remark "in the history of the world there has never been a successful imposition of monetary union [...] today we are witnessing such a failure taking place in the eurozone". (The full transcript of his intervention can be found here)

Despite being listed as "active" according to the website and being a full member of the Parliament's Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) committee, since being elected in 2009 Mr Colman has only spoken in the Chamber on 14 previous occasions, contributed zero opinions, tabled zero amendments to any legislative dossier, drafted zero reports, submitted zero written declarations, and has tabled just one parliamentary question - in February 2011 on the CFP.

This particular speech was in fact the first he has delivered as a "Non-Attached MEP" following his resignation in March from the EFD group in the Parliament led by Nigel Farage that contains the remaining UKIP MEPs.

That said, he does boast a surprisingly good attendance record in plenary sessions (76.12% - 102 out of 134 days in the plenary). Perhaps therefore he has been busy occupying himself instead with his new pet project - the EU Unit...


MEP Girling questions Commission over safety of energy-efficient light bulbs

Thursday, 15 September 2011
As she vowed to do when the 60W light bulb was turned off for the final time, Julie Girling has tabled a parliamentary question to the Commission over the Safety of new energy-efficient light bulbs.

In her question (E-008174/2011), Mrs Girling asks:

"A number of my constituents have contacted me with concerns regarding the safety of new energy-efficient light bulbs.

Does the Commission have any plans to conduct further testing on these light bulbs or does it have any concerns with the safety of these bulbs?

Will there be any additional labelling requirements to highlight any potential health and safety concerns?

It should take a few weeks for an answer to be received from the Commission. I shall update this post with the reply in due course.

UPDATE (24/10): It took longer than a few weeks but an answer has been provided by Antonio Tajani, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for Industry and Entrepreneurship, on behalf of the Commission. To read his answer in full, click here.


Last election:

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