26 MAY 2015

Euro commissioners differ on Digital Single Market views

Commissioners singing from different song sheets as European funders reiterate their views on Digital Single Market strategy

European Commissioners Ansip and Oettinger appear to be singing from different song sheets on their proposed Digital Single Market (DSM) strategy....

During the debate, UK MEP Vicky Ford had stressed that "enabling portability must not create a back door for piracy. Creators do need to know that their work, their copyright, has value and can be enforced."

Read more here

26 MAY 2015

Speech heralds start of big decisions on Europe

The Prime Minister is poised to spend a great deal more time in mainland Europe negotiating our terms and conditions with the European Union as an in/out referendum becomes the centrepiece of tomorrow's Queen's Speech.

The promise to give the nation a say over whether we remain in the European Union by 2017, set out in black and white in his manifesto, looks set to pass into law fairly easily with Labour now backing the plans for a referendum, but pledging to campaign to keep Britain in the EU.

Our relationship with the institution has come to a head with voters increasingly showing their Eurosceptic colours. Three out of seven of our Euro MPs in the East are UK Independence Party politicians, and some Conservatives are also keen for a so-called "Brexit"...

Eastern region Euro MP Vicky Ford said she was optimistic about the chances of renegotiation.

"People are listening and they are open to discussion. They are more open to discussions than they would have been three or four years ago.

"What I am seeing is a lot of different members from different countries saying we want to keep the UK in, partly because of the relationship with the single market, but also, compared to two or three years ago across the continent, and especially along the Eastern borders, there is an increasing security concern. They want a close relationship with the UK because they feel we are a strong friend when it comes to security and defence issues."

She acknowledged that many businesses wanted the UK to stay in the European Union, while also wanting reform.

"They want to have votes. They all want reform and they want a pro-competitiveness-type reform. This discussion has got a long way to go. From my point of view, I want to see detailed reforms to meet concerns about border controls, the independence of our currency and economy, because we are not in the euro, and also the independence of our courts and justice system."

Read the full article by Annablle Dickson at EDP

22 MAY 2015

VAT rules crippling online entrepreneurs

If Europe is to prosper and grow we must support small businesses and make sure that the single market is fit for purpose in a digital age.

We often hear talk of the 'unintended consequences' of regulation on businesses and consumers. Nowhere is this more visible than the impact that new rules for VAT collection have had on microbusinesses.

At the end of last year, VAT rules were changed so that it is charged at the rate where the buyer lives, not where the seller is located. This was intended to tackle the problem of large multinationals like Amazon not paying significant VAT due to their being based in low tax member states.


Read more at The Parliament Magazine

19 MAY 2015

Obstacles to EU digital single market remain

The EU wants to step up its single market in digital services, but many obstacles remain before it can truly be realized.

On Tuesday Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) discussed the plan set out by the European Commission to make it easier for businesses and consumers in the EU to trade online across national borders.

Some 315 million Europeans use the internet every day, and the Commission says a digital single market could create up to 415 billion euros (462 billion U.S. dollars) in additional growth and hundreds of thousands of new jobs...

British MEP Vicky Ford, speaking for the European Conservatives & Reformists (ECR), said: "Unlocking the benefits is key to driving competiveness, jobs and growth. The Commission strategy is good in parts but needs more work in others. The digital market is a global market and building a fortress around Europe will not work."


read the full article at China-Europe 

19 MAY 2015

Digital single market: creating opportunities for European companies

Could creating a digital single market in the EU and removing barriers online help give a boost to European companies? The European Commission outlined its strategy on 6 May, while it will also feature on the agenda of the European Council on 25-26 June. Meanwhile the Parliament is planning to respond with an own-initiative report on the digital market. They debated the issue on 19 May, during which MEPs highlighted the challenges and potential benefits involved.

Andrus Ansip, the commissioner responsible for the digital single market, started off the debate by saying the proposed strategy should help to prepare Europe for "a bright digital future". He added that the initiatives must be taken together as a package: "If we only succeed in putting half of them into effect then we will not end up with a true digital single market."


"Unlocking the benefits is key to driving competiveness, jobs and growth. The Commission strategy is good in parts but needs more work in others," said UK ECR member Vicky Ford. "The digital market is a global market and building a fortress around Europe will not work."

Read more on Europarl

18 MAY 2015

Telecoms single market package limps to Council

Telecoms single market package limps to Council

The next installment of the telecoms single market drama is playing out on Tuesday, with the Latvian presidency presenting the latest compromise proposal to Council, which has been criticized openly for holding up progress on the package.

With the clock ticking down to a July handover to the incoming Luxembourg presidency, the Latvians are left with little to show for six months of work on the TSM. The latest compromise attempts to mollify member states on roaming while placating the European Parliament on open internet access, (relatively) free from discrimination, otherwise known as net neutrality...

British conservative MEP Vicky Ford's campaign to include an exemption to net neutrality rules for parental control measures, which allow parents to opt into an ISP-based web filter for porn and gratuitously violent content, has paid dividends, with the draft allowing the measures to go ahead.

Read the ful article by ZOYA SHEFTALOVICH on Politico

06 MAR 2015

Be the Change welcomes Vicky Ford

Read the full story at Cambridge News

Cambridge is not short of visionaries. Social action, higher causes and selfless endeavour run through the heart of worthy groups and individuals across one of Britain's most engaged cities.

But according to Antony Carpen, one of the founders of Be the Change Cambridge, there is often a disconnect between these disparate groups.

"In a nutshell, Be the Change Cambridge is a grassroots project with the ultimate aim of creating a city that is greater than the sum of our parts," he said.

There is significant political interest in Be the Change Cambridge, with city MP Julian Huppert, regional MEP Vicky Ford and council leader Cllr Lewis Herbert among those in attendance at the first Be the Cambridge event last year.

But they were joined by visitors from across a broad spectrum of city life, including local government officials, construction giants Morgan Sindall, the Cambridge Arts Network, student group Cambridge Hub, teachers and local entrepreneurs.

06 MAR 2015

We really need to learn our lessons from Ebola

Read the full story on the European Parliament Website

The Ebola outbreak wreaking havoc in a number of West African countries since last year has been the most lethal one since the disease was discovered in 1976. On 4 March, the EP's Science and Technology Options Assessment (STOA) unit organised a hearing with experts to talk about how Ebola should be tackled, the need for research and what lessons should be drawn from the current crisis.

During the meeting MEPs criticised the lack of response to the initial outbreak. Charles Goerens, a Luxembourg member of the Alde group, said: "The attitude of the international community iscomparable to the attitude toward the economic crisis: too little too late. We really need to learn our lessons." Vicky Ford, a UK member of the ECR group, added that the EU also took too much time to realise the severity of the situation: "The Ebola crisis is really forcing us to rethink how we should react to situations like this."

05 MAR 2015

Foreign criminal living in Ipswich can finally be publicly identified after being deported

Read the full story at the Ipswich Star

Today we can finally reveal the identity of a career criminal who has now been deported back to Latvia.

Previously, on legal advice, we were unable to name Rolands Marcinkevics, of Chevallier Street, Ipswich, despite a string of convictions in his homeland and Sweden as police and the Home Office would not confirm them due to data protection issues.

In January Marcinkevics was sentenced to a 12-month community order with 60 hours' unpaid work after admitting shoplifting two bottles of Beyonce perfume worth £78 from Boots in Tavern Street, Ipswich, on January 3.

The serial offender amassed 14 convictions for 27 offences – including 18 thefts – after coming to England just over three years ago.

East of England MEP Vicky Ford and Ipswich MP Ben Gummer have been trying to get measures put in place for information-sharing between authorities across Europe to enable the tracking of criminals crossing borders.

05 MAR 2015

Campaign to protect funding for science

Read the full story in EDP24

Plans to cut funding for science across Europe have come under fire amid concerns the East of England's research centres in Norwich and Cambridge could be affected.

The European Commission, the executive body of the European Union, has suggested raiding 2.7bn euros from its flagship research programme Horizon 2020 in order to finance a new strategic investment fund aimed at stimulating economic growth across Europe.

The 79bn euros research programme is the one area where the UK gets back more from the EU than it contributes. In February, 28 of Europe's Nobel Prize winners and a swathe of other prize-holders wrote to MEPs urging them to try to stop the commission's proposal. The prize-winners single out for concern the proposed cuts to the European Research Council budget and warn that by "cutting this funding the European Union will send a message that Europe is not the place to do high level science".

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