La Treizième Étoile: 03/03/13 - 10/03/13 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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UK PM was ‘playing to national media gallery’ to demand EU budget cut - MEP

Friday, 8 March 2013
South West Liberal Democrat MEP Sir Graham Watson says the UK Prime Minister and fellow EU heads of state and governments were playing to their national media galleries last month when they agreed a cut in the seven-year EU budget.

Speaking to EuroParlTV, the TV channel of the European Parliament, Sir Graham explained that “the immediate reaction [to the deal] was one of anger among the leaders of the political groups and among MEPs at the governments setting a budget of €960 billion which means we will not be able to finance some of the programmes they have already agreed. So they’ve not been terribly responsible on this.

It all looks far too much as if our heads of state and government have been playing to the national media galleries – ‘we must cut expenditure at European level’ – rather than looking seriously at what we need to do together if we’re to get our economies moving again.” When reminded that David Cameron had been saying the same things, Sir Graham said “indeed and I don’t agree with him on that. I believe David Cameron was playing to the national media gallery.

Of course there are areas in which savings can be made and need to be made at European level, just as there are in national government, [and] of course at a time when we’ve barely any economic growth we want to keep down the burden on the taxpayer of government at every level. But equally, most taxpayers realise that sometimes if 27 countries come together and invest in something jointly you get far better value for the taxpayer than 27 countries doing the same thing individually,” he added.

Earlier in the interview, Sir Graham said the agreed seven-year EU budget ceiling of €960 billion was not enough but he would not vote against this amount and MEPs should negotiate hard to extract concessions that mean monies can be transferred easily between budget lines.

He added that the Parliament “has to recognise, and I think it is increasingly recognised, that it is the Member states who have the right under the treaties to decide the total of the European Union budget and what they do not have the right to do is decide alone how that money is spent.

He also stated his believe that David Cameron’s referendum pledge is one he will live to regret, his opposition to the use of shale gas as a means to reduce the EU’s energy dependency and his support for introducing quotas to ensure more women are members of company boards of directors.

Click here to watch the video interview in full (start until 9:25).


Chief Minister hails great moment of pride as Gibraltar implements all EU directives

Sunday, 3 March 2013
Chief Minister Fabian Picardo has hailed a moment of “great pride for the people of Gibraltar” after revealing that for the first time in its modern history, the Rock is completely up to date with EU directives and has written into local legislation every directive that Gibraltar is required to implement.

In its analysis, the Gibraltar Chronicle notes this is significant “because it signals Gibraltar’s commitment to serious governance and compliance with international legislation. In political terms, it scuttles the arguments of critics in Spain who routinely accuse Gibraltar of failing to comply with its legal obligations.

The Chronicle’s report includes quotes from the Chief Minister at the press conference on Thursday. He said: “This moment should be one of great pride for the people of Gibraltar. To be ahead of most of the large countries of the EU in our transposition of our EU obligations really gives us a moral authority in Europe which we haven’t had before.

It may be that we are not able to exploit it as much as we’d like to [and] it may that the EU continues to disappoint us in many ways. But we can stand up and say that Gibraltar does its bit. We comply with our obligations and let nobody pretend otherwise because if they do, we can back up with facts that the opposite is true.

Last election:

Click here to see which six MEPs were elected.