26 FEB 2015

British pig industry 'being sold short by Brussels'

Read more at Farming UK

The British pig industry has made huge strides in professionalism — but in some areas it is being sold short by Brussels, National Pig Association chairman Richard Longthorp told MEPs.

He said British pig-keepers were proud of their professional standards and urged others in Europe to adopt and demonstrate similar standards in order to inspire consumer confidence in the safety and wholesomeness of European Union pork.

But in several ways the industry was shackled by a Brussels executive that did not always inspire confidence in producers or consumers, he claimed — citing insufficient checks and enforcement of the 2013 gestation stall ban, and an apparent reluctance to introduce country of origin labelling for processed meats, even lightly processed products such as bacon, ham and sausages.

"We live in an era where consumers have been faced with a host of real and potential issues and continue to seek more assurances regarding food safety, provenance and ethical and environmental criteria," he told MEPs at a British-bacon-and-eggs breakfast organised by the British Agriculture Bureau in association with the National Farmers Union and the National Pig Association and hosted by Vicky Ford MEP.


25 FEB 2015

Cambridge MEP Vicky Ford hosts controversial deal debate

Read more at Cambridge News

A controversial EU-US trade deal was put under the spotlight in Brussels this week by local MEP Vicky Ford.

Opponents of the Transatlantic Investment Partnership, nicknamed "TTIP," suggest that the agreement risks lowering standards for consumers and claim it is being negotiated behind closed doors.

However this week Vicky Ford chaired a public hearing in the European Parliament. There was standing room only as MEPs and members of the public from all over Europe came to listen to evidence from independent experts and consumer groups.

The EU's Chief Negotiator also briefed the audience about the challenges and opportunities.


24 FEB 2015

European Parliament Members Hear Why British Pork is Special

Read the full story at The Pig Site

EU - British pig farmers will lay claim to being the most forward-looking in Europe when they join MEPs for a British breakfast in Brussels on Thursday hosted by Vicky Ford MEP.

They will cite the industry's skilling-up programme in readiness for the global food challenges of the future, along with ground-breaking animal welfare audits and an advanced tracing system for every pig.


23 FEB 2015

NPA will tell MEPs why British pork is special

Read the full story at Farming UK

British pig farmers will lay claim to being the most forward-looking in Europe when they join MEPs for a British breakfast in Brussels on Thursday hosted by Vicky Ford MEP.

They will cite the industry's skilling-up programme in readiness for the global food challenges of the future, along with ground-breaking animal welfare audits and an advanced tracing system for every pig.

'Combine this can-do attitude with the fact that 90 percent of our pigs are covered by an independently-audited quality assurance scheme and almost a third are also inspected by RSPCA for its animal welfare label, and you can see we really do have something to shout about,' National Pig Association chairman Richard Longthorp will tell MEPs at a British bacon-and-eggs breakfast organised by the British Agriculture Bureau in association with the NFU and NPA.


23 FEB 2015

MEPs in call for a fair farming deal

Ulster Unionist MEP Jim Nicholson met with colleagues in the European Parliament this week to discuss how to ensure a fair deal for farmers.

The Ulster Unionist MEP met with Richard Ashworth MEP a fellow member of the Agriculture Committee, Dan Dalton MEP from the Internal Market Committee and Vicky Ford MEP who Chairs the committee to discuss a joint approach.

Read the full story at Farming Life


05 FEB 2015

Syed Kamall MEP: In Brussels the Greek mess, the money mess and the VATMESS occupy minds

Syed Kamall MEP: In Brussels the Greek mess, the money mess and the VATMESS occupy minds

It's a slow motion car crash that everyone can see coming, but nobody seems able to stop. Greece has torn up the rulebook and won't play Germany's tune any longer. Most Germans I talk to say that's Greece's choice, but if they won't play, don't expect Germany to pay. With Spain's communists also doing very well in polls for an upcoming election there, the real nightmare for other eurozone members has to be a big economy following Greece's lead and refusing the austerity and structural reforms being asked of them by northern Europe...

My Conservative colleague Vicky Ford and I have been working with digital entrepreneurs to find a solution that will enable the smallest businesses to have the red tape lifted. I'm bringing a group of entrepreneurs affected by it to meet the European Commission so if you know anyone affected please tell them to get in touch. It should never have come to this in the first place but we will keep working with the digital micro businesses until we reach a satisfactory result.

Read the full article at Conservative Home


29 JAN 2015

Vicky speaks to science business

Read more in Science Business

How can science advice get – and keep – Juncker's ear?

With Research Commissioner Carlos Moedas expected to devise ways to ensure EU policy benefits from scientific insight in the next few months, thoughts turn to what form the advice will take, and how to avoid the banana skins of the past

There have been hesitant celebrations from scientists following the announcement that the European Commission has kick-started the process of establishing a formal channel for scientific advice, following thw abrupt scrapping of the post of chief scinetific adviser (CSA) to the President of the Commission in November last year...

One suggestion is that rather than a single appointee, the CSA post should be replaced by a committee. Finland, Denmark and Greece rely on advisory committees for science advice, as does Moedas' home country, Portugal.

That does not go down well with Vicky Ford, member of the European Parliament and Chair of the internal market committee. "Personally I am a bit concerned about committee structures as it can be harder for a committee to hold individual Commissioners or politicians to account," Ford said. "It should be a person, not a committee,"

 



15 JAN 2015

MEP negotiations for joint resolution opposing Commission's 2015 work programme collapse

Read the full story at Business Green

The European Parliament is today expected to give the green light to controversial plans to delay new efforts to tackle air pollution and waste, after MEPs failed to come up with a cross-party resolution against the proposals.

MEPs are due to vote on the work programme in Strasbourg this afternoon. But negotiations for a joint resolution fell apart after the centre-right EPP and Conservative ECR groups decided they did not want to take part.

UK Lib Dem MEP Catherine Bearder, who had led work on the negotiations, said separate resolutions would now be voted on, but it was unlikely that any would receive enough votes to pass.

However, a spokesman for Conservative MEP Vicky Ford defended the party's decision, pointing out that ECR's motion does scrutinise Juncker's environmental proposals, including asking the Commission to work with member states on growing the circular economy "and if necessary, reconsider the withdrawal" of the new work programme.

"There were negotiations between the groups seeking to agree a joint resolution," the spokesman said. "Following the clarification by each group concerned of their key demands for inclusion in a joint text the EPP indicated that it was clear there was insufficient grounds for a joint motion and withdrew from the process.

"As this would clearly have shifted the centre of gravity towards the left-wing groups it became clear to us that we would not be able to support a joint text so we then withdrew. We did not leave the talks as a result of any language over the air quality or circular economy packages. The points made in our own resolution stand and have been submitted to the plenary vote."

The EPP had not responded to BusinessGreen's request for comment; however its resolution included no mention of waste or air pollution.


15 JAN 2015

Parliament splinters over commission work programme

MEPs fail to reach agreement on joint resolution on commission work programme

Read the full article at The Parliament Magazine

The European commission's 2015 work programme is expected to go ahead without any input from parliament, after groups were unable to agree on the wording of a joint resolution.

Team Juncker was heavily criticised by MEPs when it unveiled its plans last December, due to proposals to withdraw legislation on clean air and waste.

S&D group vice-president Enrique Guerrero Salom said, "we expect the commission to deliver in 2015 on air quality".

Philippe Lamberts, co-president for the Greens/EFA group, accused the commission of "sharpening its knives to cut a number of important legislative proposals", imploring the college to "fight tooth and nail" to ensure laws on air pollution were not scrapped.

Bas Eickhout, treasurer for the group, said, "it seems the Juncker commission is rather 'big for big corporations'".

"Euroscepticism is not caused by ambitious EU legislation on cleaner air, a more resource efficient economy creating jobs, or better protection of pregnant workers" - Bas Eickhout

He added, "Euroscepticism is not caused by ambitious EU legislation on cleaner air, a more resource efficient economy creating jobs, or better protection of pregnant workers".

Eickhout warned that "putting these proposals into question or delaying them will only confirm those claiming that the EU puts industry lobby interests before the public interest".

He called on the commission to "make sustainability and social progress guiding principles in 2015".

Before the breakdown of the talks, Catherine Bearder, who is ALDE's shadow rapporteur on national emissions ceilings, stressed that "environmental legislation must not be dropped or watered down - the parliament must stand firm on this".

ECR deputy Vicky Ford said, "yes, we share wider objectives - higher living standards, the environment, opportunity, equality - but we need strong economies to deliver this, the economy must come first".

Clearly these objectives were not enough to bring the groups together, as negotiations collapsed after the EPP, ECR and S&D groups dropped out.


14 JAN 2015

Anne Glover's EU advisor role reinstated, MEP says

The European Commission has agreed to retain the role of EU Chief Scientific Adviser, despite the departure of Anne Glover, an MEP claimed today (14 January).

Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans attended a meeting of the European Conservatives & Reformists yesterday (13 January) at which UK MEP Vicky Ford asked him to confirm the status of the role, according to another British MEP present at the meeting, Ian Duncan.

"Timmermans said that there will be a chief scientific adviser. I am very happy as it's an important function," Duncan told EurActiv.

"I have been trying to obtain a confirmation of that from the Commission today, unsuccessfully so far. However, he told us he believed the post was of value and important at this time, I don't think a remark of that type made in front of 71 MEPs would be made lightly," Duncan added.

 

Read more at EurActive.com


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