Mobile phone data roaming charges to be abolished
Mobile roaming charges will be axed within the EU by the summer of 2017, after the European Parliament approved new rules in a vote today.
Mobile users will pay the same price as they do at home to make calls, send text messages and use data wherever they are in the EU from 15 June 2017.
Conservative MEP Vicky Ford said that the 'sensible timescale gives mobile operators the time to sort out the marketplace in preparation for the abolition of roaming fees.'
Read more at Which?
EU extends package holiday protections to online pick-and-mix deals
The European Parliament on Tuesday approved new rules extending consumer protections provided with traditional package holidays to online travel deals.
The European Union's existing rules on package holidays date back to the 1990s, but the internet has since altered the way in which people book their travel arrangements. Tuesday's vote aimed to reflect this change.
"Holidays should be fun and relaxing, and it is important that these new rules provide reassurance for all holidaymakers that they have basic rights if their travel operator fails," said British EU parliamentarian Vicky Ford.
Read more European Online Magazine
Euro MPs Vote To Scrap Mobile Roaming Charges
Mobile phone roaming charges in the EU are to be scrapped by the middle of 2017 after new rules were formally approved by MEPs.
Consumers will first see a significant cut in the charges from next April, before the full changes take effect from June the following year.
Conservative MEP Vicky Ford said: "Ending mobile roaming fees from 2017 will be welcomed by millions of people, as they will be able to use their apps, make calls and send a text just as if they were at home.
"We have also ensured important safeguards to prevent excessive usage, and to make sure that phone operators are not forced to offer roaming services at a loss, meaning that domestic customers do not end up subsidising those customers who travel.
Read more at Sky News
Conservative MEP Vicky Ford leads the way on roaming charges campaign
HUGE telephone bills ruining your holiday budget, an internet connection not delivering on its promises: these experiences will be soon old memories.
East of England MEP Vicky Ford, who help scrutinise the new law, said: "For far too long people holidays have been ruined by a huge phone bill waiting for them at home. This puts an end to excessive roaming charges once and for all."
Read more at Your Thurrock
Euro MP welcomes decision to remove roaming charges for phone users abroad
AN ESSEX Euro MP has welcomed reforms which will see roaming charges for mobile phone users scrapped across the continent in 2017.
Vicky Ford, Tory MEP for the East of England, said: "Ending mobile roaming fees from 2017 will be welcomed by millions of people, as they will be able to use their apps, make calls and send a text just as if they were at home."
Read more Echo News
An end to mobile roaming charges on your holiday as Eastern region MEP helps push through EU law
Mobile roaming charges will end within the EU by mid-2017 and will be significantly cut next summer after an Eastern region MEP helped push through new legislation in the European Parliament.
Phone users will pay the same price to make calls, send text messages and use data wherever they are in the EU from June 15, 2017.
Changes to the legislation were led by East of England Tory MEP Vicky Ford, who said: "For far too long people's holidays have been ruined by a huge phone bill waiting for them at home. This puts an end to excessive roaming charges once and for all.
Read more: http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/New-EU-legislation-means-holidaymakers-longer/story-28063130-detail/story.html#ixzz3pr78IyA9
Read the full story at Ely News
MP Lucy Frazer and MEP Vicky Ford have joined forces in a bid to get the Ely to Soham railway line doubling plans back on track.
The South East Cambridgeshire MP and Eastern Region MEP have written jointly to Network Rail's chief executive, Mark Carne, and Transport Minister Claire Perry calling for their support in obtaining funding to complete the project.
They said: "We feel strongly that the Ely to Soham doubling project is vital in tackling the serious problems of congestion on the A14 and other regional roads, and in increasing the viability of an important local public transport infrastructure project in Soham."
Read the full story at YourThurrock
ONE of Britain's leading MEPs is calling on politicians across Europe to prioritise helping refugees without encouraging people trafficking.
The East of England MEP, Vicky Ford, was responding to EU plans for mandatory quotas, which would force every member state to take a minimum number of refugees. The UK is not part of this.
Mrs Ford said, "No-one chooses to be a refugee and the UK has its own plan to help those being driven out of Syria by the civil war, it focuses, quite correctly, on helping orphaned and vulnerable children. It is a brutal conflict with torture and sexual violence a frighteningly common tool of war."
"Countries need to work together to help support the refugees fleeing horrific wars but different countries can provide this help in different ways. The UK already provides more aid in Syria than the rest of Europe put together and by offering to resettle the most vulnerable refugees from UN camps it will frustrate the people traffickers who prey on these children."
Mobile phone roaming charges are to be abolished in June 15 2017 across the European Union, meaning holidaymakers will no longer have to worry about the dreaded 'bill shock' when they use their phone abroad...
"We finally have a date for the complete abolition of mobile roaming charges," said Vicky Ford MEP.
"From next summer people travelling in Europe will see a significant cut on their roaming charges, and from 2017 they will be abolished altogether, enabling people to use their apps, make calls and send a text just as if they were at home.
"This is a sensible timescale that gives mobile operators the time to sort out the marketplace in preparation for the abolition of roaming fees."
Read the full story by Olivia Solon in the Mirror here
Mobile roaming charges are set to be scrapped within the European Union from June 2017.
Under the new rules, mobile phone users will pay the same price to make calls, send text messages and use data wherever they are in the EU, meaning calling friends or family while travelling will make no difference to bills from June 15, 2017, the European Commission announced...
Conservative MEP Vicky Ford said: " We finally have a date for the complete abolition of mobile roaming charges.
"From next summer people travelling in Europe will see a significant cut on their roaming charges, and from 2017 they will be abolished altogether, enabling people to use their apps, make calls and send a text just as if they were at home.
"On net neutrality it is important that the internet remains open and neutral, and we now have rules in place on how traffic is managed to ensure that there is no anti-competitive behaviour.
"Making sure children can use the internet safely is vital. It was therefore crucial that parental controls such as those used in the UK can continue.
"Last-minute changes to the agreement will not exempt parental controls and spam blockers from the law, but after very close liaison with ministers back in the UK we have negotiated a position that should allow the British Government to pass its own law to maintain parental controls. There will be a transition period to allow this to be put in place and we will be scrutinising the detail to make sure the UK can continue to have parental controls.
"This law was aimed at improving the rights of consumers and giving telecoms operators clarity on the rules going forward. In many areas we have achieved our goals, but some of the last-minute fudges in the legislation have left some question marks hanging over how this will be implemented."
Read the full story by the Bicester Advertiser here
After almost two years of wrangling among lawmakers, the European Union on Tuesday agreed to a watered-down version of a telecommunications law that would scrap cellphone roaming costs in mid-2017 and proposes equal treatment of Internet traffic starting next year, though the law leaves open the option for some exceptions...
"It is important that the Internet remains open and neutral, and we now have rules in place on how traffic is managed, to ensure that there is no anticompetitive behavior," saidVicky Ford, a British Conservative member of parliament who took part in the negotiations.
But critics argue the law is contradictory because it aims to purge Web traffic of all discrimination but simultaneously allows for exceptions to the rule.
Read the full article on the Wall Street Journal here
After months of delay, European negotiators finally agreed early Tuesday morning to a provisional deal on reforms that will secure open Internet access and eliminate mobile phone roaming charges throughout the EU starting in June 2017.
The deal on the telecoms single market reforms, also known as Connected Continent, was brokered by the Latvians, who hammered out a compromise between Council members, European Commission and Parliament in the final days of their presidency of the Council...
Vicky Ford, British MEP from the European Conservatives and Reformists group, took to Twitter to express her frustration at midnight: "Still in negotiations on Roaming and Net Neutrality. Taking cat herding to new extremes..."
read more here : Politico.eu
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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."
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.
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".
Read the full story at Cambridge News
Plans to cut funding for science across Europe have come under fire from top UK scientists and Cambridge based MEP Vicky Ford.
The European Commission has suggested raiding money from its flagship research programme 'Horizon 2020' in order to finance a new strategic investment fund.
Mrs Ford was the only UK MEP involved in the negotiations of Horizon 2020 which were finalised only last year, after more than two years of detailed discussions.
In February, 28 of Europe's Nobel Prize winners, 10 Field Medallists and Wolf and Abel prize-holders wrote to MEPs urging them to try to stop the Commission's proposal.
Read the full story at Farming Life
Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan has called for MEPs to contribute to the debate on CAP simplification.
As well as calling for member states to submit responses, the commissioner specifically hopes to discuss the issue in more depth with MEPs at a meeting in Parliament at the end of March...
This week Vicky Ford MEP (Conservative, Eastern) hosted a British bacon and egg breakfast in the European Parliament.
British farmers have invested heavily to meet and exceed the demands of European welfare legislation – such as the cage ban for hens (in force since 2012) and the sow stall ban (completely outlawed in the UK since 1999 in contrast to the European ban which only came in during 2013.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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,"
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.
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.
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
MEPS have overwhelmingly endorsed a significant change to EU legislation today, giving member states a much greater say over whether they grow genetically modified (GM) crops.
The European Parliament voted in Strasbourg on Tuesday by 480 votes to 159 to make it easier for member states to ban GM crops and, potentially, to push ahead with approvals on a national scale, prompting speculation about possible approvals in England within the next few years.
Conservative MEP for the East of England Vicky Ford said on Twitter: "Today's GMO vote allows UK to make own decisions on individual crops & help UK science. This breaks deadlock as no common view in EU."
Read More at FarmersGuardian
Read more at ConHome
Reforming the EU is going to be tough. Many ConHome readers will say it is impossible, and they may be right.
But I believe we should make our best effort to change the EU and, having done that, offer whatever deal we secure to the British people to decide whether we should say or leave.
And in that regard, I found some encouragement during December's plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg. It involved a chap called Franz Timmermans, and if you don't see him in the news too often yet, I think you soon will.
If you follow strict political labelling he is a socialist – but I can only say that if there were a few more socialists like him around, the world would be a better place.
The former Dutch Foreign Minister is now senior vice president of the EU Commission – in other words, Juncker's number two. And he is charged with addressing our Conservative agenda for reform in Europe. Some have labelled him the Commissioner for Avoiding Brexit.
He speaks half a dozen languages fluently – all of them plainly, I am told, and without political flam.
His English is delivered without any hint of a foreign accent. He looks and sounds British. He understands that Europe is broken and has to change.
He even has a sense of humour. So quite how he got (almost) to the top of the EU bureaucracy I can but wonder. These qualities are normally a positive barrier.
Now, none of this makes him Britain's salvation. None of it means there will be an easy ticket in our quest for radical renegotiation of our terms of membership. Certainly it does not mean we are definitely staying in Europe – far from it. That is something the British people must decide for themselves.
But it does mean that along with UK Commissioner Jonathan Hill, there is at least one other person high up in the Commission who understands and shares our frustration with the EU's failings – and will give us a hearing. When it comes to reform, Timmermans gets it.
During this week's plenary session of the European Parliament in Brussels, he set his stall out by announcing a comprehensive refocusing of the EU's legislative programme.
This was presented under the uninspiring banner of "The Commission Work Programme 2015″. But what was really served up was a radical first: A senior commissioner spelling out his plans to scrap proposed legislation which he saw as meddlesome or unhelpful, and to concentrate on the more important stuff that would actually drive growth and jobs instead of getting in the way.
My colleague Vicky Ford had co-ordinated a list of our priority items which we proposed for inclusion in the Work Programme. She told both Timmermans and Juncker they must make it easier for businesses to thrive in Europe, which would in turn see higher living standards, an improved environment, opportunity and equality.
She warned: "Europe needs to change. Commissioners, you have talked about change – we need to see you deliver.
A key element of the Timmermans package was withdrawing plans which had been on the books for a so-called Common European Sales Law. We Conservatives happen to think existing British laws do an excellent job already in protecting both consumers and vendors, so in the last parliament we mounted a vigorous campaign against proposals we saw as unnecessary and confusing.
VICKY Ford MEP for the East of England has demanded that EU Commissioners make wide changes, print fewer laws and focus on helping build economic growth.
Mrs Ford was speaking on behalf of the European Conservative and Reformist Group (ECR), the third largest group in the Parliament during a debate on the EU's work plan for the next year. This followed an announcement that the incoming EU Commission intends to scrap many new EU laws, including the so-called plant reproductive materials directive. Mrs Ford has campaigned against this directive warning it will damage the horticulture sector worth nearly £10 billion to the UK economy and remove much loved garden plants from local nurseries.
Read more at Your Thurrock
Read more: Bury Free Press
Students and staff from Mildenhall College Academy helped to make history on Saturday when they unveiled a World War One monument in Belgium.
More than 20 school representatives travelled to the Peace Village of Mesen to unveil the historic memorial to the Christmas truce in 1914, thought to be the first of its kind in Europe.
Pupils led the project with counterparts from the Gymnasium Theodorianum School in Paderborn, Germany to create, and unveil the monument.
The sunset ceremony was opened by the British and German Ambassadors to Belgium, Alison Rose and Eckart Cuntz, and the event included speeches from Mildenhall students and staff about the monument's creation.
Also on the guestlist were Vicky Ford, MEP for the East of England, the Mayor of Mesen, Suffolk County Council cabinet member for schools and skills and the Governor of Paderborn.
Read the full story at Bury Free Press
The medieval village of Lavenham is making a bid to become a Unesco world heritage site.
The aim is to preserve the village's historic wool trade character while protecting it from the pressures of high tourist traffic and heavy lorries travelling along its narrow streets.
The project was launched by the Lavenham Forum and has been backed by MEP Vicky Ford and Conservative Parliamentary candidate for South Suffolk James Cartlidge.
Read the full story at EDP 24
Vicky Ford, who is a member of the European Parliament for the East of England, yesterday pledged to visit the North Norfolk coast and taste the renowned Morston mussels.
The Conservative said she would give local fishermen support to apply for protected designation of origin from the European Union, if they wanted the status for their harvest.
Mrs Ford said protected status for the Morston mussel, which could place the mollusc in the same league as Champagne, Melton Mowbray pork pies and Fenland celery, could give a welcome boost to the industry.
North Norfolk seafood is not just Cromer crabs.
Read the full story at The Parliament Magazine
For Vicky Ford the stakes could not be higher. "A well-run single market" she says, "can be the key to unlocking prosperity, innovation and greater competitiveness in Europe, which will benefit businesses and consumers. Misdirected, it can stifle entrepreneurship and create a clipboard culture in business." As chair of parliament's internal market and consumer protection (IMCO) committee, Ford is committed to "bringing down internal barriers to trade in goods and services". "The single market is meant to help people trade easily across 28 countries and sell to more than 500 million consumers," she stresses; "it is not meant to add more red tape, costs and bureaucracy."
Read the full story at EADT
The go-ahead for a £16 billion plant at Hinkley Point was welcomed by EDF Energy as a major milestone for Britain's nuclear programme, which includes two new reactors at Sizewell, near Leiston.
If given planning permission, Sizewell C could be online soon after the Somerset station is likely to begin operating in 2023.
East of England MEP Vicky Ford said the green light for Hinkley Point C was "great news" for Sizewell, Suffolk and English energy security, but agreed local issues like transport and housing plans were still to be met.
Read the full story at YourThurrock
THURROCK MEP, Vicky Ford secured a coup this week by demanding the new European Commissioner for the single market put business and the economy ahead of any new EU laws. In answer to a direct question from Mrs Ford, the Polish Commissioner designate Elzbieta Bieñkowska promised that she would not propose any new EU laws unless they would have a positive impact for businesses. She also promised that if any existing proposals for EU laws were found to be flawed then she would be prepared to withdraw them.
G'S Fresh - Europe's leading fresh produce company - received a special visit recently.
Cambridgeshire-based MEP Vicky Ford took a break from the election campaign trial to visit the mammoth firm's Barway site.
The trip was organised by Lucy Frazer QC, the conservative parliamentary candidate for South East Cambridgeshire.
Speaking after her visit, MEP Ford said: "Companies like G's are key to providing us all with healthy fresh food.
"It is really impressive to hear how they are exporting as far afield as the USA and Russia. I think it is very important to listen to the concerns of business big and small when we are negotiating our relationship with Europe."
John Shropshire, chairman of G's Fresh, said: "Being a business that is dependent on a very large amount of trade in Europe, we were delighted to welcome MEP Vicky Ford to G's."
G's farms 11,300 hectares in the UK, Czech Republic and Spain, turning over £370 million and employing around 5,000 people.
Read more:Ely News
Farmers in the east say they are willing to risk having their subsidies cut to avoid adhering to a new EU rule which they say will leave them far worse off.
The European directive, which comes into effect next year, means all but the very smallest farms will have to grow at least three different crops each year.
East of England MEP Vicky Ford plans to put together a dossier of evidence to record the impact the new rule has on the region.
"We have been told there will be a review after year one. I want to know now what the decisions are that farmers are making now so we can build up that dossier and work with Defra to show why it's not working in the East of England."
Read more: ITV
Minster for Skills Matthew Hancock joins MEP Vicky Ford and Robert Halfon in Harlow College visit
THE Government's Minister for Skills Matthew Hancock and Euro MP Vicky Ford joined Harlow MP Robert Halfon in a visit to Harlow College.
The Conservative politicians spent Friday afternoon at the college where they took part in a round table discussion on employability with Harlow College principal Karen Spencer, employers from the town and college students. The visit also included a virtual tour of the new Sir Charles Kao UTC with UTC principal Mike McKeaveney.
Mr Hancock, MP for West Suffolk, said: "Harlow College has got really impressive links to local employers to make sure that when people get training here they are learning skills that local employers want. They seem to have really strong links with the community not least with the wonderful MP Robert Halfon and it's great to be here.
"It is all about making sure students can progress whether that is through work or in higher education, Harlow College is giving young people options and that self-confidence to progress.
"My view is when young people leave school or college they should go into higher education or apprenticeships. They should do what suits them, it's important to give options to do both and ensure they can succeed."
Ms Ford said: "I am really impressed and one of the things I have noticed about local schools and colleges like Harlow College is the links to local employers and matchmaking for future jobs.
"The UTC is ground breaking and to be teaching coding to the next generation - a skill that we seem to have lost - is so vital."
Read more: http://www.harlowstar.co.uk/News/Harlow-news/Minster-for-Skills-Matthew-Hancock-joins-MEP-Vicky-Ford-and-Robert-Halfon-in-Harlow-College-visit-20140503152551.htm#ixzz31bjrAhdJ
Vicky Ford slams court ruling
East Anglian Conservative MEP, Vicky Ford, has slammed today's European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling against the UK's legal challenge to the EU's proposed Financial Transaction Tax (FTT).
Mrs Ford has been at the forefront of the campaign against the FTT which would oblige the UK to tax EU shares and other financial transactions traded in the UK despite opting out of the proposal.
Mrs Ford said "If trades on shares of French companies are taxed in the UK but not in Singapore, then they will be traded in Singapore. Financiers will leave the UK and it will be left to pensioners, savers and taxpayers to pay the price.
It is outrageous that that the EU should let some countries force others to levy taxes that they don't agree with. This is precisely why the Prime Minister vetoed the new fiscal treaty in 2011 and why we need a robust renegotiation of our relationship with the EU. Luckily this ECJ ruling is not a final decision and we will fight the UK's corner on this all the way."
Read more: http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/Business/Business-News/Vicky-Ford-slams-court-ruling-20140430184340.htm#ixzz31bkZz7eU
MEP pledges support for British breeding industry
THE European Agricultural Policy and protecting the thoroughbred population from infectious diseases were among the topics discussed when MEP Vicky Ford and Newmarket MP Matthew Hancock met Thoroughbred Breeders' Association chief executive Louise Kemble last week.
In a statement released after the meeting it was reported that both Ford and Hancock promised to maintain their support for the equine sector. Ford is already actively involved in promoting equine issues at the European Parliament in Brussels, including campaigns for improved welfare for horses travelling across the continent for slaughter and increased funding into an African Horse Sickness vaccine.
Speaking after the meeting, Ford said: "From the top racehorse to the Thelwell pony, the equine sector is a very important part of the UK's rural culture. Newmarket is not only the home of racing, it is also home to world-leading breeders and many jobs rely on this. Organisations like the Thoroughbred Breeders' Association in Newmarket and Norfolk-based World Horse Welfare do a great job, and it is vital their concerns on international issues are addressed."
Thoroughbred Breeders' Association chief executive Louise Kemble said "We cannot overstate the value of the positive support we receive from both Vicky Ford and Matthew Hancock. Since taking office as MEP for the East of England, Vicky and her colleagues have always been on hand to provide the TBA with unstinting support. Their input has helped to safeguard the breeding industry on a number of occasions, and maintaining this work is particularly important with the upcoming European elections."
Read more at Racing Post
CONSERVATIVE campaigners were out in force at the weekend to support Harlow MP Robert Halfon.
As part of a major campaign day around 100 Tory activists from across the country visited the town and were joined by the Harlow Conservatives, Essex Tamil and MEP Vicky Ford, whose constituency includes Harlow.
Read more: Harlow Star
On the day the National Farmers Union launch their European elections manifesto, East Anglian MEP Vicky Ford has launched a plain English guide to summarise the reform negotiations.
Mrs Ford said "I remember writing essays in the need to reform the CAP when I was a student in the 1980s and it's still far from perfect. In particular some of the "greening" elements which are meant to help biodiversity are a huge backwards step for many East Anglian farms – they won't help food, farming or the environment. As a result I did not support this package of reforms – but it's never the less important that people can see what has been agreed."
The report is available here
Read more at Your Thurrock
THURROCK MEPs Vicky Ford (Cons) and Richard Howitt (Lab) spoke out in frustration last night after a close vote in the European Parliament which could severely limit the work of the Internet Watch Foundation in their fight against child sexual abuse images on the internet.
New European rules on electronic communications included special clauses which allow for specialist organisations like the IWF take action to prevent serious crimes. The IWF, which is a charity based in Cambridgeshire, shares information about websites hosting child sexual abuse images with internet operators so that they can be blocked and ultimately removed from the internet.
However an amendment tabled just days before the vote by socialist, liberal and green MEPs deleted these powers. It was passed by a narrow 330 votes to 275. Fortunately this is not a final vote as the amended law will now be sent back to ministers in the 28 countries concerned for their further negotiations.
Speaking after the vote Vicky said, "This amendment is dangerous and irresponsible. Child sexual abuse is unacceptable, we need world wide action across the World Wide Web – I'm all for an open internet but this goes too far. IWF is doing an amazing job, I will fight their corner and will not support measures that risk their work."
Read more at Your Thurrock
What Conservatives have achieved by sitting at the EU table
SIR – In Britain, people often talk about how the EU needs reform, but do not recognise the reforms that have already been made, which stem from much hard work by Conservative MEPs and a Conservative government.
A few days ago, we completed a major agreement on how to change international laws for failing banks. The United Kingdom achieved three important victories.
First, future bank collapses will not result in taxpayer bail-outs but in large creditor bail-ins, with ordinary people's deposits protected. Secondly, eurozone bank failures will not undermine the rest of Europe's economy and create the uncertainty of recent years, thanks to a common fund for resolving their difficulties, managed at an EU level. And thirdly, Britain has been protected by a firewall from having to pay towards bank failures in a currency we chose not to join.
All this was achieved because we sat at the table and promoted this reformist agenda. That includes the final 16-hour all‑night negotiations with EU ministers.
This shows that not only is reform of the EU possible, but that we are delivering it already. We can only build on these successes if we have MEPs willing to sit around the table and fight Britain's corner.
Vicky Ford MEP (Con)
Read more: Daily Telegraph
Data protection package and NSA surveillance: "Europe needs a digital Bill of Rights"
The lack of progress in the Council towards agreeing on an EU data protection package in response to US surveillance of EU citizens, companies and governments was severely criticised by MEPs in Tuesday's debate.
Rapporteurs also called on the members of the EPP and ECR group - some of whom are hesitating or threatening to vote against - to back the data protection package to be put to a vote on Wednesday.
"We have shown that this Parliament cares about citizens' concerns about the use of their personal data. After two years of negotiations it would be irresponsible to postpone the adoption of the package. (..) The only winners would be the big data companies in Silicon Valley", said rapporteur Jan Albrecht (Greens/EFA; DE).
Members of the EPP (Sean Kelly, IE) and ECR (Vicky Ford, Timothy Kirkhope) warned that the package might hamper the work of medical researchers or scare off businesses.
Read more European Parliament News
Lord Risby made charity's patron during Haverhill visit
Lord Risby of Haverhill, Richard Spring, became patron of the alcohol and drug abuse treatment charity, Open Doors, during a recent visit to its Haverhill centre.
The former West Suffolk MP visited the centre in Strasbourg Square with Vicky Ford MEP, Haverhill Mayor Cllr Roger André, county and borough councillor Anne Gower and borough and town councillor Maureen Byrne.
Read More at Haverhill Echo
Celebrating success as £43M construction programme takes shape at TWI
A visit to TWI on Friday 7 March 2014 by Member of Parliament for South Cambridgeshire and Leader of the House of Commons Andrew Lansley CBE, and Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts, has given the seal of approval to the company's 25,000 square metre expansion programme at its Granta Park headquarters.
Andrew Lansley and David Willetts, accompanied by Vicky Ford MEP and Sir John O'Reilly, the government's Director General of Knowledge and Innovation, visited the South Cambridgeshire R&D premises to lead a site ceremony alongside TWI Chief Executive Christoph Wiesner and staff member Sarah Preston to mark the end of the steel construction phase of the build programme.
The ceremony, which included lowering into the ground a friction-stir welded capsule containing examples of research and innovation in materials joining and structural integrity technologies, was held in front of invited guests from the region, the design and build teams, government funding bodies, and partners representing the new National Structural Integrity Research Centre (http://www.nsirc.co.uk/).
Read more at Business Wire
Conservative MEPs question whether plastic bag use should be in EU's remit
EU plans to slash plastic bag use by 80% took a major step forward this week, after MEPs approved proposals to curb the sale of single use plastic bags in every member state.However, despite the ENVI Committee's overall support for the plan yesterday, Conservative MEPs were strongly opposed to the idea. Writing on Twitter, MEP Vicky Ford questioned if plastic bag use should be within the remit of the EU.
'Why do some people always want to ban things. Voting now on #plasticbag ban. Surely not an eu competence!'
— vickyford MEP (@vickyford) March 10, 2014
It now remains to be seen whether the whole Parliament will now approve the plans in April, when they are due to be discussed at a plenary session.
Read more at The Guardian
MEP praises Canvey 'cat' factory
THE Tory MEP for Essex has praised a growing Canvey business for its importance on the international stage.
Conservative Member of the European Parliament Vicky Ford joined Castle Point MP Rebecca Harris and Canvey councillor Ray Howard for a visit to Blyth Workcats on Charfleets Industrial Estate last week.
Blyth Workcats designs and builds customised boats for charter angling, diving, commercial fishing, passenger carrying, crew transfer or survey work to companies all over the world.
The visit gave the company the chance to speak to the political heavyweight about the barriers it faces as a business and what changes could be made to help it grow.
Mrs Ford said "It's great to see a local business exporting all over the world. We have already unlocked some new funding to help exporters, but this needs to work for specialist companies like Blyth Workcats too.
Read more: Echo
CONSERVATIVE MEP Vicky Ford wants to meet young people aged under 30 from across Uttlesford at an informal forum on Friday (March 7).
The event is being organised by Saffron Walden Conservative Future and chairman Sam Goddard said: "This is really a great opportunity to meet our region's top MEP and enjoy what we are hoping will be a lively and engaging debate in a friendly atmosphere.
"We all know that what happens in Europe has a big impact on this country and our generation have lots of strong ideas about the way we should be heading. I want people to come along and get their ideas heard!"
The free meeting with the Eastern region politician takes place at The Saffron Hotel in Walden's High Street and begins at 7.30pm with reception drinks and canapés.
Read more Herts and Essex Observer
A burglar whose suspended sentence was branded as "excessively lenient" by Suffolk's Police and Crime Commissioner had a criminal record in his homeland, it has emerged.
Mantvydas Kristaponis, of Woodbridge Road, Ipswich, is understood to have convictions for theft and public order offences in Lithuania.
His case once again raises the issue of people with criminal records coming into the UK from EU countries unchecked.
East Anglian MEP Vicky Ford has been at the forefront of a campaign to combat cross-border crime and put a system in place that can be used across Europe.
After hearing about the latest case in which Kristaponis burgled a house in Crowfield, near Stowmarket, stealing items including a diamond ring and two necklaces last July, Mrs Ford said tracking-system was essential.
She added: "We need a database. Furthermore we need to make sure countries upload their information on that database. We have got a system where it's going to make it easier for the UK law enforcement authorities to access the information, but we need to have countries putting that information on the database."
Read more Ipswich Star
East Anglia MEP Vicky Ford has added her voice to that of local MPs campaigning for increased dredging of rivers around the Ouse Washes.
She has written to the Environment Secretary Rt Hon. Owen Paterson MP asking for the East of England rivers to be considered in any Environment Agency review of dredging policy. This follows the recent announcements of a review on the use of dredging on the flooded Somerset levels.
Norfolk and Cambridgeshire MPs Elizabeth Truss and Steve Barclay have also called for dredging to resume and for local measures to improve access including electronic warning signs.
Mrs Ford said she met Cambridgeshire County Council leader Martin Curtis last month and urged him to get the signs connected as soon as the weather conditions allow. She intends to visit Welney again on March 20.
Read more Wisbech Standard
Without CCS, 'turning off the lights' will be the only way to reduce CO2 emissions, writes Vicky Ford.
There are many good reasons to support and prioritise the development of carbon capture and storage (CCS).
It is the only large-scale and demonstrable technology currently available to take carbon dioxide from combustion of fossil fuels to produce low-carbon electricity. Unless we include it in our long-term energy plans, it will not be possible to reduce emissions without also switching off the lights.
Not very long ago, Europe was considered to be a world leader in CCS research but now we are falling behind others in the development stages. CCS has been operating safely in Norway for many years, and Canada, the US and China are now moving ahead as well.
Read more at The Parliament
Local MEP Vicky Ford is celebrating success for British farmers after a proposal was voted through the parliament to make sure all European meat products carry a country of origin label.
Mrs Ford said: "Last year´s horsemeat scandal and previous outbreaks of diseases show how important it is to be able to trace where meat has come from. You should not be able to bring a dead animal into the UK, cut it up, cook it, and then put a Union Jack on the label."
Read more: Cambridge News
When Europe's most powerful finance minister makes an unscheduled trip to Brussels to meet a handful of European lawmakers, you can be sure that something is amiss.
And indeed, Wolfgang Schäuble's unusual pilgrimage to Belgium on Monday comes at another tricky juncture for the euro zone: Its much-vaunted banking-union project, billed as the ticket out of its five-year-old financial crisis, is at risk of stalling, amid opposition from the European Parliament to elements of a new system for wind down failing banks.
The disagreement centers on a decision to create a new intergovernmental treaty that will allow national bank-resolution funds to be gradually merged into one European pot over 10 years. The move aims to assuage German concerns that a common pot of money would violate existing EU treaties. But crucially, the new treaty would fall beyond the European Parliament's jurisdiction.
Monday's meeting, with five key lawmakers, was arranged at Mr. Schäuble's initiative, according to Sven Giegold, a German who represents the Green party in the talks and who attended Monday's meeting. The other MEPs in attendance were Ms. Ferreira, Sylvie Goulard, Corien Wortmann-Kool and Vicky Ford, all of whom represent their parties in negotiations on the SRM.
Read more by Tom Fairless at The Wall Street Journal
Local Conservative MEP, Vicky Ford, has called for the EU to abolish its renewable energy targets.
Mrs Ford has led a review into Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) for the parliament's energy committee. She argues that the EU renewables targets unfairly discriminate against alternative energy solutions like nuclear power and CCS. As a result these other methods of reducing emissions are being neglected and energy prices risk being pushed even higher.
Speaking in a debate in the Parliament chamber Mrs Ford explained: "At the moment the energy debate in Europe focuses largely on renewables. It's time Brussels sat up and took note of the real problems households and businesses have paying their energy bills.
read more: Fenland Citizen
Vicky Ford MEP for the East of England has joined Prime Minister David Cameron in supporting Small Business Saturday this weekend. Small Business Saturday takes place on Saturday, December 7, one of the busiest shopping days of the year and the aim of the event is to encourage people to shop locally and support small businesses in their communities.
David Cameron, said "It is a chance to celebrate the amazing contribution our small shops make to our local community."
Vicky added: "This is a fantastic opportunity for people here in the East of England to shop locally and support our local butchers, bakers, cafés and retailers."
Read more: Bedford Today
The European Parliament has given the thumbs-up to a £60 billion research budget, which will be spent in European Union countries over the next seven years.
Mrs Ford has been the only British representative involved in EU negotiations to finalise the enormous fund.
She said the deal would secure "hundreds of millions of investment in businesses and laboratories across the East of England."
Mrs Ford said: "This investment is critical for universities like Cambridge, which estimates that 20 per cent of the research currently being undertaken across its different departments is funded by the EU.
Read more- Cambridge News
Industry powerhouse displays research collaborations
Industrial research innovator TWI opened its Cambridge UK headquarters to funding institutions and SME technology pioneers to parade collaborations that have led to game-changing new products and processes across the globe.
The one-day showcase opened by Vicky Ford, MEP for Cambridgeshire and the East of England, was also leveraged to begin active discussion on a new phase of projects featuring TWI and its partners and UK SMEs in general.
Vicky Ford MEP said: "I want to maximise funding to the region so that for science and research, Britain continues to get back from Brussels at least what it puts in. Key for me in discussions with the European Commission was keeping the focus on excellence – this will ensure that grants will go to the best bids." -Business Weekly
A major new weapon in the war against the world's biggest problems has been unveiled in Cambridgeshire.
A new building has opened at the European Bioinformatics Institute at Hinxton, which will act as a vast repository for vital biological data.
Bioinformatics involves analysing enormous amounts of data about living things, essential for tackling the challenges society faces – everything from providing healthcare to an ageing population to securing food and water resources.
Cambridgeshire-based MEP Vicky Ford, who was also at the event, has been Britain's only representative in recent negotiations for a £60 billion fund for science and research investment across Europe.
Speaking after the opening, she said: "The Bioinformatics Institute is an example of the great successes being achieved through experts from many countries collaborating on research. Solutions are being found to real problems which affect us all.
"This is the one area where Britain gets back what we put into the EU budget."-Cambridge News
Conservative MEP Vicky Ford was the shadow rapporteur for the committee overseeing the EU mortgage directive and succeeded in protecting the UK's buy-to-let market and certain first-time buyer products...Ford said she had fought to make the European document as close to the existing KFIs as possible, as well as securing time for the industry to adapt: "I am giving them the maximum time I could get and that was five years."- Mortgage Solutions
Vicky Ford MEP recently fought for East of England farmers in the European Parliament against plans to cut investment in biofuels.
Mrs Ford said "You can't change the rules for investors overnight, when you only made the rules a couple of years ago. These things need to be looked at in a much bigger picture. At the moment we are at a standoff between the Industry, Energy and Research Committee who are saying lets take a little more time, and the Environment Committee, who are just rushing headlong into a new set of rules"
Sunday Politics East (from 42.50)
Conservative MEP Vicky Ford says: "The votes are so close and if Ukip is not in the room then we will lose the vote. Small numbers of votes regularly tip the balance.
"Every bit of detail is hammered out in a three-way meeting between the European Parliament, European Commission and Council of Ministers but on financial services I am often the only Brit in the room, or with LibDem MEP Sharon Bowles.
"Ukip has never once turned up to trialogue meetings. These negotiations are crucial to the UK and the City of London.
"The big scandal is they are invited to these meetings and do not bother to turn up." - Money Marketing
Popular British plants are at risk of being banned from sale at garden centres under new proposals. Vicky Ford, Tory MEP for the East of England, said: 'This is very poorly drafted legislation. England is famous for the diversity of our gardens. We either need to amend this completely or kick the entire proposal into the long grass – forever.' Daily Mail
A leading politician is urging Peterborough companies to flag up burdensome examples of Euro red tape. The call comes from East of England MEP Vicky Ford. Peterborough Telegraph
British Conservative MEP Vicky Ford who said it was impossible for a "one size
fits all" law on mortgages to be introduced across the EU. However she welcomed a decision to exempt the buy-to-let market from the scope of the directive, arguing that this would have "effectively shut down the
private rented sector, affecting millions of tenants in the UK". BBCLive
Politicans have voiced their support for Elstree Studios after a tour of the site. Hertsmere MP James Clappison, MEP Vicky Ford, Hertsmere Borough Council leader Councillor Morris Bright and town Mayor Clive Butchins visited the "unique" site this week. Politicians visit Elstree Studios, Borehamwood
EU almost shut UK buy-to-let market - MEP
Conservative MEP Vicky Ford, who acted as shadow rapporteur for the committee overseeing the European mortgage directive, said some politicians tried to use the legislation to solve their own domestic problems.
" I am very happy with the deal we got today. We have managed to keep as much money as possible on the table for science, with a focus on excellence. I hope MEPs can get behind this," said Vicky Ford, MEP for the East of England.
Vicky Ford, Conservative MEP for the East of England, said: "People would expect if you had been convicted of serious crimes in the past in one country that they would flash up and be an issue when you crossed the border in to the UK.
"They need to come to light when they cross the border. Why doesn't it flag up?
"It flags up when British sex offenders leave the UK and when they return.
"There is a lot we can do to improve our information sharing with other countries and this will be a critical part of the debate about reforming and renegotiating our relationship with the European Union."
Writing in Banking 2020: A Vision for the Future – a New Economics Foundation book published this week – Ford, shadow rapporteur on major directives on bank capital rules, deposit guarantees and mortgages, outlines a number of changes she thinks the UK should demand to remain in the EU.
Energy firms escape 'dangerous' rules
By Ben WOODS, Energy writer Wednesday, May 29, 2013
The UK oil and gas sector has escaped "dangerous" European safety rules that could have threatened industry standards, according to Conservative MEP Vicky Ford.
Martin Callanan MEP: My colleague Vicky Ford fights off a directive that would have damaged our oil industry
Martin Callanan MEP is Chairman of the European Conservatives.
Our lead MEP on the issue, Vicky Ford, was able to change this proposal line-by-line from a regulation into a more flexible directive, which allows for greater interpretation at the national level. Seeing as the EU was seeking to impose UK standards on the rest of the EU, a regulation would have done nothing to improve safety around our shores, but it would have required the technical manuals and procedures to be completely re-written, at a cost of over £140 million in legal and administration fees.
Energy firms escape 'dangerous' rules (Eastern Daily Press)
"The UK oil and gas sector has escaped "dangerous" European safety rules that could have threatened industry standards, according to Conservative MEP Vicky Ford. Mrs Ford said her 350 amendments to the EU draft law on offshore safety has changed the text line by line so that it now closely mirrors the UK standards. And now the amended regulations have cleared their final legislative hurdle after MEPs approved them at a plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg. It comes after North Sea oil and gas companies said the European draft legislation would make the industry less safe and would cost over £140m in legal and administration fees to enforce. She said: "Offshore safety in the North Sea is far from the tick-box culture which led to the BP disaster in America. The EU Commission proposals would have made the industry more dangerous and every safety manual on every oil rig would have had to be torn up and re-written."
(letter by Vicky Ford MEP for
East Anglian Daily Times): "Sir, - Is it not somewhat ironic that the
first action of the UKIP councillors in Cambridgeshire and Norfolk is to try to
change our councils to a committee style of governance? This is, of course, the
same model used in the European
Parliament – an institution whose reputation for relevant and decisive
decision making precedes it! (...)"
MEPs have broadly backed new laws to improve the safety of offshore oil and gas platforms, despite criticism from some Green MEPs.
The proposal debated by the European Parliament on 20 May 2013 has already been agreed in principle with the Council of Ministers, and would require oil and gas companies to submit emergency response forms before being granted a licence to drill in EU waters.
This was welcomed by Conservative group spokesperson Vicky Ford who said it was "a common sense approach", as opposed to the "Brussels power-drive originally proposed by the Commission".
CONSERVATIVE MEP Vicky Ford has today welcomed the launch of a major investigation into manipulation of the oil and petrol market.
MP STEVE Barclay, two MEPs and councillors from across the political spectrum have pledged their support for the We Are Wisbech community campaign.
We are Wisbech was set up following a meeting called to unite the community in the face of an anti-immigration protest being held in the town next month.
The group has no plans for a counter demonstration but instead is backing the annual International Children's Day 1,000 balloons race event and barbecue that's going ahead at Wisbech's Rosmini Community Centre on May 18, the same day as the protest.
EURO-MP Vicky Ford, met leading manufacturer of baby milk Danone, in Brussels yesterday (Tuesday, April 9) and won an assurance the East of England's babies will have enough formula.
The pledge follows yesterday's announcement that major UK retailers are limiting sales of baby milk to two packs per customer.
Britain has made significant ground on gaining exemption from the EU directive aimed at regulating the buy-to-let (BTL) scheme in the same way as residential loans.
The directive on credit agreements, relating to residential property (CARRP), seeks to harmonise mortgage regulation across the member states, though it has been persistently opposed throughout its two years in the legislature pipeline.
The directive had raised concerns in Parliament, as the industry already has to deal with a plethora of regulations which restrict the property market from growing to its pre-2008 status.
East of England MEP Vicky Ford has fought persistently in Brussels to ensure the scheme, which could shackle the growth of the UK property market, doesn't materialise.
Vicky Ford, MEP said: "While there are some problems with buy-to-let mortgages, these should be dealt with by UK not EU legislation. The initial versions of the legalisation would have effectively stopped this type of mortgage altogether."
Tomorrow, Friday 4 April, Vicky Ford Conservative MEP for the East of England will be joining local Conservative councillors at a street surgery in Wisbech town centre at 12.30pm for an hour. The group will be interested to hear concerns on local issues and the views of resident on last week's announcements on changes to immigration policy.
LINTON Zoo's efforts to save the lemurs of Madagascar have won support from East of England MEP Vicky ford.
The Conservative visited the wildlife park on the Uttlesford border with other animal lovers to learn more about the environmental projects supported by boss Kim Simmons and her team of keepers.
They introduced some of the zoo's most exotic specimens to the guests during a behind the scenes tour. They included red ruffed lemurs and a rare radiated tortoise, all native to the island in the Indian Ocean
EAST of England Euro-MP Vicky Ford has promised the region's businesses her campaign against Brussels bureaucracy and red tape is being stepped up.
The European Commission launched a consultation on the Top 10 Most Burdensome Pieces of EU Legislation for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) late last year and the results of the exercise have now been published and identify broad policy areas as well as specific pieces of legislation which are deemed to be the most trouble.
Top of the list are health and safety, VAT and chemicals laws. However EU waste policy and the Working Time Directive are also on the list.
Conservative Mrs Ford said: "I have consistently been pressuring for a review of red tape in EU legislation. Thank you to all the small businesses who took part in this consultation.
Vicky Ford is parliament's rapporteur on facing the challenge of the safety of offshore oil and gas activities and ECR shadow rapporteur on safety of offshore oil and gas prospection, exploration and production activities
Following the tragic events in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, it was right that the EU looked at its approach to the offshore sector – after European energy commissioner Günther Oettinger revised his initial calls for an EU wide moratorium on offshore drilling in the wake of the disaster.
Being from the UK, where we have more offshore oil than the rest of the EU put together, I was naturally concerned at the introduction of new EU legislation in this area given how it could affect the UK both environmentally and economically. The UK takes a site-specific approach to safety, it is not the tick-box culture which was identified as a major contributing factor to the Gulf of Mexico disaster.
ROAD closure misery at Welney is set to be reduced dramatically when new electronic information signs are installed this Autumn.
Three signs will give real time flood status updates on the A1101 so that motorists know immediately if they can pass through safely.
The dot matrix signs, costing £20,000, were agreed during what was described as the "most positive meeting that has ever taken place" between multi agencies in an effort to solve Welney's flood lock problems.
Next on the list is an in-depth economic study into the impact of road closures so councillors can seek European funding for a solution such as building a causeway over the current road which in just three months this year has already been closed for 46 days.
Gathered for the meeting at Welney village hall today were SW Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss, Conservative Euro MEP Vicky Ford, county council representatives from both Norfolk and Cambridgeshire because Welney sits on the border of two counties, district councillors and borough councillors.
Mrs Ford said: "Welney is a unique part of East Anglia which takes the flooding so that everybody else doesn't have to.
The meeting at Welney parish hall has been called by Elizabeth Truss, the MP for South West Norfolk and those attending will be looking for both short term and longer term solutions.
A spokesman for the MP said today that in the short term there was "encouraging news" of funds being made available to introduce better signage warning motorists of when the Welney Washes are closed.
"The closure signs can sometimes be up for ages, even when the road has re-opened," said the spokesman. "Part of the solution in the short term might be the introduction of dot matrix signs and the parish council has funding secured for at least two of these."
Also joining the talks tomorrow will be Vicky Ford, Conservative Euro MEP for the East, and Ms Truss is hopeful European funding might be appropriate for a longer term solution.
Banks have secured a victory after successfully lobbying against plans to force them to crack down on forbearance by repossessing a borrower if they are more than 90 days in arrears.
In final negotiations over CRD IV earlier this month, ministers, MEPs and European commissioners agreed to define a mortgage default limit of 180 days, doubling initial proposals for a 90-day limit.
Speaking to Mortgage Strategy, Conservative MEP and lead CRDIV negotiator Vicky Ford says a 90-day limit was too low.
Full marks to Conservative MEP Vicky Ford for doggedly trying to ensure that buy-to-let is not included with residential mortgages in the European Commission's mortgage directive.
Despite the many pieces of regulation that the UK market already has to contend with, the EU mortgage directive still hangs over it like a particularly menacing dark cloud.
Proposals to regulate buy-to-let mortgages in the same way as residential loans are set to be scrapped from the European mortgage directive.
Negotiations for the directive were held in Brussels last week between member states, European commissioners and MEPs.
Conservative MEP and shadow rapporteur Vicky Ford says it was agreed that buy-to-let will not be regulated in the same way as residential mortgages, as initially proposed.
Ford says progress was also made on tough new rules for packaged products, proposed by the European Parliament last year, which would ban all products that require a savings account not directly linked to paying off the mortgage.
MEPS from all parties have united in a bid to end the monthly trek from Brussels to Strasbourg for full meetings of the European Parliament.
East of England Tory MEP Vicky Ford is helping to lead the "Stop the Strasbourg Circus campaign" which is aimed at ending the monthly trek,
She said the cost of the regular moves was about 200million euros a year – and it caused major disruption for MEPs, EU staff, and everyone else connected with the parliament.
North West Cambridgeshire MP Shailesh Vara and the MEP for the East of England Vicky Ford visited Tesco's flagship zero carbon store in Ramsey in a bid to learn more about its green credentials.
After the visit, Mrs Ford described the numerous innovations at the supermarket, which includes using rainwater for the store's car wash, as "world class".
Conservative MEP for the East of England Vicky Ford has begun negotiations in Brussels to secure funding for the region from the European Union's H2020 funding programme.
This will be allocating money for science, research and innovation for the next seven years. The total amount of funding available from the programme is expected to be in the region of between €70 to 75 billion.
Tory MEP Vicky Ford says legal action over VAT on green materials is unacceptable
Bankers in Europe face a cap on bonuses as early as next year, following agreement in Brussels early Thursday (28 February) to introduce what would be the world's strictest pay curbs, in a move politicians hope will address public anger at financial-sector greed.
The provisional agreement, announced by diplomats and officials after late-night talks between EU country representatives and the European Parliament, means bankers face an automatic cap on bonus payouts at the level of their salaries.
Vicky Ford, a British Conservative MEP who is one of the European Parliament's chief negotiator on the Capital Requirements Directive, was in two minds over the agreement, saying it contained both positives and negatives. "Overall this agreement will be positive for the real economy. We have managed to include provisions that will help savers and pensions, building societies and manufacturing industry; and we have included measures that will free up financing for small businesses," Ford said.
CONSERVATIVE East of England MEP Vicky Ford is questioning the European Commission about how it will address crucial migration issues once restrictions on workers from Romania and Bulgaria are lifted at the end of this year.
She raised a series of important issues in a formal parliamentary question today (Tuesday, February 26) tabled under the "urgency" procedure.
CONSERVATIVE MEP Vicky Ford has today tabled urgent questions to the European Commission about a possible influx of workers from Romania and Bulgaria coming into the UK when restrictions are lifted at the end of the year.
Vicky Ford, Conservative MEP for the East of England has called the European Commission's decision to take the UK to court over tax breaks for the Green Deal "crazy".
Last week, the Commission confirmed it would take the UK government to court because it believes the UK is breaking EU law by charging VAT at a rate of just 5% on energy saving materials, like insulation.
One of the Anglia region's Conservative Euro MPs is to travel to Luxembourg this week to challenge the European Union's finances.
Vicky Ford, MEP for the East of England, will meet with the UK representative on the EU Court of Auditors in a bid to unravel the EU accounts and the reason why they remain unaudited.
THE world-class food and farming industry in Suffolk can help the county's economy grow and be a powerful magnet for tourists, a major conference has been told.
The Suffolk Food and Agriculture Conference, held yesterday, highlighted the challenges that will be faced in the years ahead – but stressed what a huge asset the industry is.
A range of speakers at the conference looked at key areas which need to be addressed, including recruiting the industry's future workforce, and the importance of research and development, water and resources, infrastructure and supply chains.
MEP Vicky Ford pointed to the higher animal welfare standards, particularly in the pig and poultry sectors, to other parts of the European Union.
"We are home to some of the most productive farms, not just in the UK but in Europe and the world," she said. "Food and farming is incredibly important and change and our little tiny corner of the world is vital in that change."
Representatives from the equine industry travelled to Brussels last week to raise concerns about diseases and research.
Vicky Ford, MEP for the East of England, met members of the European Horse Network in the European Parliament.
A cement-making firm is having to import cement from less efficient plants in Germany and Ireland because it is being taxed too heavily to make it in Tilbury. Cemex opened its £49million production plant at the port to great fanfare in 2009.
It is capable of producing 1.2million tonnes of cement each year, using 20 to 40 per cent less energy than traditional mills.
But high carbon costs, recommended by the European Union and adopted by the UK, mean it is cheaper for Cemex to import cement from plants elsewhere in the union, in countries such as Germany and Ireland, where governments have decided not to impose such high taxes on energy.
East of England MEP Vicky Ford has called this "a complete waste of energy" and demanded "a level playing field" for UK businesses.
A senior Conservative MEP has hit out at the European Union's CRD IV negotiations for losing focus of its core objectives.
CRD IV was introduced to implement the global rules on capital requirements and liquidity as proposed in Basel III.
But shadow rapporteur for the directive Vicky Ford says the legislation has been knocked off course by other issues such as quotas for women on boards and a bankers' bonus cap.
She says: "we are going round in circles by focusing on areas such as women on boards, bankers' bonuses or country-by-country reporting issues.
A CAMPAIGNER from Welwyn Garden City joined a charity trip to Brussels to lobby the east of England MEP to stop food being used to create biofuels.
Will Davis, of Hardings, met Vicky Ford at the European Parliament and discussed issues surrounding the campaign.
A CAMPAIGNER has gone to Brussels to make her voice heard by European politicians over biofuel concerns. Liz Carlton, from South Woodham Ferrers, went with anti-poverty charity Action Aid to meet East of England MEP Vicky Ford to discuss issues surrounding the production of biofuels.
The fuels are made from a number of natural materials including animal fats and food with the aim of finding more sustainable energy sources and reducing carbon footprints globally.
An immigrant who stabbed a disabled jeweller to death in a bungled robbery while on the run from a Polish prison has been jailed for life.
Ireneusz Melaniuk, 28, who had a long criminal record in his native Poland murdered frail Peter Avis, 66, in his flat above his old fashioned shop Collis & Son in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.
Vicky Ford, MEP for the East of England, said the case raised questions over how European countries share information. She said: 'We need to have the basic protections regarding a handful of dangerous criminals.
Leading political figures from the region have viewed the finishing touches to renovations of a sea defence wall on the Suffolk coast.
Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey yesterday visited Southwold harbour where she joined East of England MEP Vicky Ford for a look at progress on the £3.2million regeneration project to boost fishing facilities and carry out repairs to the North Dock Wall.
LEADING political figures from the region have been checking out the finishing touches to renovation of a sea defence wall on the Suffolk coast.
MP Therese Coffey yesterday visited Southwold harbour where she joined MEP Vicky Ford for a look at progress on the £3.2million regeneration project to boost fishing facilities and carry out repairs to the North Dock Wall.
VICKY Ford, Conservative MEP for the East of England, is urging small and medium sized businesses to speak out against over-regulation from the European Union.
She wants businesses to take part in a consultation to find the "top 10 most burdensome legislative acts for small and medium sized enterprises, and he consultation will run until December 21.
AN elderly jeweller was murdered by a convicted robber let into the UK from Poland — where he was on the run from JAIL.
Brute Ireneusz Melaniuk, 34, was yesterday revealed to have waltzed past border staff with NO checks.
Last night he was facing a life sentence after pleading guilty to battering and knifing to death disabled Peter Avis in a raid on the 66-year-old's store.
Melaniuk scarpered back to his homeland — where he was already a wanted man — after the horror in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.
He was caught a month later following an international manhunt — and extradited to Britain. Last night there was outrage the killer — who fled jail in Chelm, Poland, on day release — was free to come here in the first place.
The murder victim's local MP David Ruffley demanded: "How did an escaped criminal not get picked up at the UK border?"
Tory MEP Vicky Ford stormed: "It seems very strange. It's basic Sherlock Holmes stuff. Criminal on the loose — you alert ports and airports."
A CRACKDOWN on Britain's borders was demanded yesterday after the revelation that a robber who murdered a frail jeweller in his bed entered the UK while on the run from prison in Poland.
Ireneusz Melaniuk had been at large for three years after fleeing to the UK in 2009 when he stabbed Peter Avis to death in January.
The killer escaped to his homeland two days after the savage attack but was brought back to the UK to face trial following an international manhunt.
The Pole's criminal past was revealed yesterday when he admitted murdering 66-year-old Mr Avis in a midnight raid to steal jewellery from his shop in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.
Border Agency officials refused to say if he entered Britain on a false passport.
But if the Polish authorities failed to put him on a "watch list", immigration officers would not know he should be detained even if he was travelling under his own name.
The case raised concerns about Britain's porous borders and led to calls for greater information sharing between EU countries.
Bury St Edmunds MP David Ruffley said: "How did an escaped criminal on the run from Poland not get picked up at the UK border?
Either he had false documents that were not detected or he may have been smuggled in.
"Either way, this reminds us of the need to tighten our borders so that heinous crimes like this don't happen on our doorstep."
Local Euro MP Vicky Ford said: "We need to have the basic protections regarding a handful of dangerous criminals.
"If you have relatively open borders, you need to have the ability to protect yourself from very dangerous people, which means sharing information."
An immigrant who killed a disabled jeweller during a burglary was on the run from a Polish prison, it emerged yesterday.
Ireneusz Melaniuk, 28, beat Peter Avis, 66, around the face with an ashtray before stabbing him 13 times after breaking into his home.
Mr Avis, who used a walking stick after suffering a brain aneurism, had no chance of defending himself and died of his injuries. Melaniuk had been serving time in his home country for robbery, but fled to Britain after being granted day release three years ago.
It is understood Melaniuk could not be found on a European watch-list, so British authorities would not have known he was a wanted man. He evaded capture by using a variety of aliases, and carried a fake passport to enter the UK.
However, he had several distinguishing features which would have made him stand out. The two middle fingers of his right hand above the knuckles are missing, as is the thumb from the same hand. He also has tattoos on his hands.
After the murder in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, the killer returned to Poland, where he was later arrested. Last night the UK Border Agency faced questions as to why it had no idea that Melaniuk was a wanted man.
'Gentle' classic-car fan Mr Avis was found dead in his bed in the flat above his jewellery shop in Bury St Edmunds
David Ruffley, MP for Bury St Edmunds, said: 'The first question we should ask is how did an escaped criminal on the run from Poland not get picked up at the UK border?
'This reminds us of the need to tighten our borders so that heinous crimes like this don't happen on our doorsteps.'
Vicky Ford, MEP for the East of England, added: 'If you have relatively open borders, then you need to have the ability to protect yourself from very dangerous people, which means sharing information.'
A convicted robber murdered a Suffolk jeweller after entering the UK while on the run from a Polish jail, it has emerged.
Ireneusz Melaniuk, 34, stabbed 66-year-old Peter Avis in a botched burglary in Bury St Edmunds on 13 January.
Melaniuk then returned to Poland on a flight from Stansted Airport, in Essex.
Vicky Ford, a Conservative East of England MEP, said the case raised questions about checks on criminals carried out between European countries.
A CONVICTED robber murdered a Suffolk jeweller while on the run from a Polish jail, the EADT can reveal today.
Ireneusz Melaniuk stabbed 66-year-old Peter Avis more than a dozen times after fleeing from the authorities in his homeland.
Melaniuk is currently awaiting sentencing by Ipswich Crown Court after he pleaded guilty to Mr Avis' murder in Bury St Edmunds on January 13.
However, it can now be revealed that Melaniuk was a wanted man in Poland prior to the homicide.
Melaniuk - who uses several names - had been serving a jail term for robbery, but failed to return to prison after being allowed day release.
Despite being on the run, the 28-year-old was able to leave Poland and come to Britain, before returning to Poland after the murder in a bid evade Suffolk Police.
Mr Avis was found dead in bed at his flat above Collis & Son in Abbeygate Street.
He had been beaten about the face with a glass ash tray and stabbed 13 times.
It is understood Melaniuk was not on a European 'watch list' prior to Mr Avis' death, so British authorities would not have known he was a wanted man.
Bury St Edmunds MP David Ruffley said the town had been "deeply shocked" by the tragic murder of Mr Avis and there were some serious questions that needed answering.
Vicky Ford, Member of the European Parliament for the East of England, said she and Ipswich MP Ben Gummer were already involved with trying to tighten up controls between European Union countries over the cross-border tracking of criminals.
THE region's pig farming industry is coming under increasing strain as pork producers struggle to cope with inconsistent farming rules and the rising cost of feed, it has been warned.
With one Suffolk farmer already planning to send some of his herd to slaughter, another family food business hangs in the balance in Essex.
Fergus Howie, farming partner at Wicks Manor, in Tolleshunt Major, near Maldon, will wait until Christmas for things to improve before deciding on the future of the 50-year-old family firm.
Farmers face the double dilemma of inconsistent farming standards across Europe coupled with rising grain and food prices in the UK, where it is estimated many producers are losing around £14 on each pig.
Vicky Ford, a Conservative MEP for the East of England, plans to write to all major UK supermarkets urging them to support the supply of meat compliant to EU rules and has also agreed to write to the EU Commission asking what action can be taken to tackle non-compliance in other countries.
Vicky Ford, MEP for the East of England, has tabled amendments in the European Parliament that, if passed, could make it easier for parts of the road network across East Anglia - including the A47, A120 and the A12 - to apply for EU money for removing bottlenecks.
She has also tabled amendments to help port hinterlands such the areas around Harwich and Felixstowe.
East Anglia Euro-MP Vicky Ford visited Haverhill Foodbank to learn about the good work they do feeding people in need.
The Tory MEP for the East of England visited Foodbank on Friday (September 14) as she wanted a clearer understanding of the root causes of the financial difficulties affecting local people and the practical support services such as the foodbank offer.
Braintree MP Brooks Newmark has been highlighting the importance of the police and crime commissioner elections. Mr Newmark and his team spent a morning campaigning in Braintree's town centre with MEP Vicky Ford and Nick Alston, the conservative candidate for Essex.
EAST of England Euro MP Vicky Ford is planning a fight against EU plans on oil and gas safety which she fears could be "cripplingly expensive" and reduce standards in the North Sea.
The Conservative MEP is tabling more than 360 parliamentary amendments in response to the proposals, which would force all member states to conform to the same rules without offering them the required flexibility to adapt the framework to their own national circumstances.
Norfolk Euro MP Vicky Ford is planning a fight against EU plans on oil and gas safety which she fears could be "cripplingly expensive" for businesses and mean poorer standards in the North Sea.
Conservative MEP Vicky Ford has announced that European capital rules could be relaxed in order to encourage lenders to provide small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with much-needed credit.
Ms Ford, who is an economic and monetary affairs committee member, said that small businesses were unhappy with the credit ratings they are receiving as they could mislead banks to lend less and hold onto more capital.
"It is likely that we will drop the capital requirement subject to an underlying review of the performance of SME portfolios," she added.
The British government has no intention of raising VAT on energy efficiency products from 5% to 20%, bypassing a ruling of the European Commission that urged London to bring its legislation into line or be sued in the EU Court of Justice. Some MEPs are joining the UK in its cause, calling the Commission's ruling "complete nonsense".
British Energy and Climate Change Minister Gregory Barker announced on Twitter that he has the support of the British government in fighting the EU's ruling on a 'green VAT'.
British Conservative MEP Vicky Ford said: "When you see countries genuinely trying to achieve energy savings and then risking to get sued at the EU Court of Justice of course you're going to get worried as to whether the savings ambitions will be achieved. I genuinely want to see energy savings encouraged and implemented both in my member state and others."
MEPs have welcomed the decision to adopt an EU directive promoting better energy efficiency across Europe.
The draft law was agreed in a parliament vote on Tuesday in Strasbourg.
The directive has been thrashed out between MEPs and national governments.
Under the proposed law, energy distributors and energy companies will need to help consumers save 1.5 per cent of their energy per year for the period 2014-2020 by introducing programmes like the UK's energy efficiency obligation scheme.
Parliament's rapporteur on the issue, Green MEP Claude Turmes, welcomed the vote, but called for swift implementation and the "reorientation of public policy and funds to ensure job-creating measures can be delivered".
Further comment came from Vicky Ford, a European Conservatives and Reformists MEP, who also welcomed the move, saying, "It should help deliver savings on spiralling energy bills."
The commission has unveiled plans to stimulate digital innovation through freeing up access to part of the radio spectrum for wireless broadband and mobile telecommunication.
The EU's executive body announced a coordinated European approach to sharing aspects of the radio spectrum to allow greater mobile network capacity, cheaper wireless broadband and new markets such as secondary rights for a given spectrum allocation.
In simple terms, it will mean identifying bands of the spectrum which can be shared by different services without interference, which could then be licensed by authorities at national level.
The move has been welcomed by Vicky Ford, industry and research spokesperson in parliament for the UK Conservative party.
A Euro MP has been down on the farm – to find out how agriculture and science are teaming up to grow better crops and boost biodiversity.
Vicky Ford went to Chishill Orchard Farm at Great Chishill to meet experts from Bayer Crop Science, and discuss their work on pesticides and fungicides.
easyJet, the UK's largest airline and operator of Europe's No.1 air transport network, today welcomed Vicky Ford MEP to its European headquarters in Luton.
During the visit, Mrs Ford met members of the airlines' senior management team, along with staff in its Operations Control Centre and other key team members who contribute to the airlines success.
She was also given a behind the scenes tour of the day to day operations at London Luton Airport, which also included a visit to the 157ft high control tower.
Vicky Ford MEP has thrown her weight behind PetrolPromise.com, an independent campaign set up to lower fuel prices in the UK by tackling fraud in the oil market and lobbying for more transparency in petrol and diesel prices.
Mrs Ford joins over 60 cross-party MPs who are backing PetrolPromise.com and are putting pressure on the Office of Fair Trading and the F.S.A. to look at allegations of uncompetitive behaviour by UK oil companies, such as collusion to price fix at the pumps.
Mrs Ford explains: "I fully support the call for a UK investigation into petrol pricing. However, given the number of international companies operating our own filling stations, and the recent investigations in Germany, I suspect there may be a need a fuller international inquiry. I have tabled a formal parliamentary question in Europe requesting that this is looked into."
A Suffolk MP claims UK farmers are being penalised by red tape while their Continential counterparts are failing to enforce European Union rules stringently.
Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dan Poulter pledged to do what he could to support Suffolk's farmers against further regulation from Brussels following a meeting at local abattoir C & K Meats in Eye, where he was joined by Vicky Ford, Member of the European Parliament for the East of England.
The European Commission is coming under pressure from Vicky Ford MEP - a new supporter of PetrolPromise.com - who is asking difficult questions about Brussels' failure to tackle fraud in the oil market and petrol price transparency.
Vicky Ford - a campaigning MEP - has pledged that she will push this issue onto the E.U.'s radar.
SAVVY students in Norfolk told their local MEP how they managed to cut their school's energy bills by £10,000.
The group of 30 Year Eight pupils hosted Vicky Ford on a special visit to Wymondham College on June 15 to find out more about 'The Big Switch'.
"We ran competitions to see who could save the most - awarding penalty cards to poor-performing classrooms," says pupil, Owen Jack, 13.
Brussels is debating the importance of Hertfordshire's role in the 2012 Olympics and it's legacy...
East of England MEP Vicky Ford is hosting a reception to discuss the benefits to the county's economy and health benefits of getting more people into sport.
Shaun Dawson, the Chief Executive of Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, will speak about the canoe slalom venue at Waltham Cross.
European mortgage legislation threatens to exert a 'Jack-in-the-box' effect on the UK, where rules that might work on the continent give rise to nasty surprises for the British market
As the European economy plays a terrifying game of bailout bingo, the European Union continues to do what it does best – churn out new rules.
Since the crash, European directives on capital requirements, consumer protection in the mortgage market and credit rating agencies have all been proposed. Brussels is positively hyperactive with financial regulation, covering huge swathes of the industry across 27 member states.
At the heart of negotiations is British MEP Vicky Ford, shadow rapporteur on ECON.
"The most worrying aspect is the Jack-in-the-box effect," she says. "Every time we try to tinker with the language in one area, it ends up causing a whole host of other sensible and useful mortgage products to breach the rules".
European politicians are likely to back away from plans to implement a region-wide cap on bankers' bonuses, according to a leading British MEP involved in the discussions.
Vicky Ford, a Conservative MEP and member of the European Parliament's Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, said there was "a lot of sympathy" for more flexible rules that would allow shareholders the final say on how much banks can pay their staff.
She continued: "The problem everybody has is that if you cap bonuses you push up basic salaries and that would go against the previous rules put in place, which require banks to link pay to long-term performance."
Last week, fears were raised that the European Union could limit the ratio of bonuses to salary to 1:1, though banks were reported to be lobbying to get this increased to at least 2:1.
MEPs and member states last night (13 June) came up with a last-minute deal to save the energy-efficiency directive. The deal is a victory for the Danish presidency of the Council of Ministers, which had made an agreement on the directive the centrepiece of its environmental agenda.The deal is expected to be signed by EU energy ministers at a meeting in Luxembourg on Friday (15 June). "During the last couple of weeks we have managed to get support from member states for a more ambitious directive than anyone would have dreamt of only a couple of months ago," said Martin Lidegaard, Denmark's energy minister, this morning.
British MEP Vicky Ford, who led negotiations for the ECR group, blamed the Parliament's insistance on what she called a "one-size fits all approach" for slowing negotiations. "The deal represents a fair compromise, particularly considering the often rigid approach taken by some MEPs, who expended most of their political capital sniping at national governments which already lead the way in energy efficiency good practice."
Negotiators from the European Parliament, Commission and Council reached a deal on the Energy Efficiency Directive last night (13 June). But it fails to achieve its initial purpose of reaching 20% energy savings by 2020, the Parliament's chief negotiator has warned.
Claude Turmes, the Green MEP from Luxembourg who was leading the negotiation on behalf of the European Parliament, appeared moderately satisfied after the agreement was struck.
British Conservative MEP Vicky Ford, in charge of negotiating the directive on behalf of the European Conservatives and Reformists group said that the deal represents a fair compromise.
"Soaring energy bills are a huge problem for many households. Insulation and other energy saving measures can be a great help. However, it is important that each country can come up with their own tailored schemes to help households and businesses."
Historic barns which were one of the region's most popular wedding venues have been destroyed by a fire – but the owners have rallied round to ensure one couple's big day can go ahead tomorrow.
Management at Chilford Hall in Linton scrambled to secure marquees so they could fulfil bookings after flames caused damage running into hundreds of thousands of pounds in the early hours of yesterday.
Their efforts mean tomorrow's wedding of Emma Farr and Greg Smith from Cherry Hinton can still go ahead.
Vicky Ford, Conservative MEP for the East of England and a Balsham resident, had attended a dinner to mark Jim Paice's 25 years as MP for South East Cambs at Chilford Hall on Saturday and told the News she was "absolutely devastated" by what had happened.
She said: "This was a historic, irreplaceable and very unique building, where we, like so many others, have celebrated happy, memorable occasions."
Two people have been arrested following a fire at Chilford Hall during the early hours of 13 June, according to a statement from Cambridge Constabulary.
The hall's Linton Hall Barn, Gallery, Great Hall and Pavilion venues are all affected by the blaze.
Vicky Ford, Conservative MEP for the East of England told the local Cambridge News she was "absolutely devastated" by what had happened. "This was a historic, irreplaceable and very unique building, where we, like so many others, have celebrated happy, memorable occasions."
European MPs have voted to ban mortgages that are tied to other products like savings accounts.
Last week, ECON the European Monetary and Economic Affairs committee voted through a number of draft proposals on the directive.
One of these stipulates that lenders will not be allowed to sell mortgage deals linked to savings accounts where the account is not used solely for the purpose of repaying the mortgage.
This would mean deals such as Lloyds group's Lend a Hand, where only a 5 per cent deposit is needed and another 20 per cent in savings as security for the mortgage, would not be allowed.
Econ shadow rapporteur and British MEP Vicky Ford was involved in the voting.
She says: "The amendments I wanted regarding the language on tied products did not get through."
Tied mortgage products, such as Lloyds Banking Group's Lend a Hand deal, are set to be banned under the current proposals in the European mortgage directive.
Last week, ECON the European Monetary and Economic Affairs committee voted through a number of draft proposals on the directive.
One of these stipulates that lenders will not be allowed to sell mortgage deals linked to savings accounts where the account is not used solely for the purpose of repaying the mortgage.
This would mean deals such as Lloyds group's Lend a Hand, where only a 5% deposit is needed and another 20% in savings as security for the mortgage, would not be allowed.
British MEP Vicky Ford, shadow rapporteur on ECON, was involved in the voting.
She says: "The amendments I wanted regarding the language on tied products did not get through.
"The proposal states that borrowers can use a savings account but only where the sole purpose of it is to repay the principal interest on the mortgage clearly that is not how savings-linked accounts work."
Ford is now campaigning to get the proposals amended.
After five delays and a massive 819 amendments, the European Monetary and Economic Affairs committee - ECON - last week finally voted through a number of draft proposals as part of the move towards implementing a European mortgage directive.
For ensuring that all buy-to-let mortgages are exempt from the new rules, pats on the back for the various regulatory trade bodies and in particular British MEP Vicky Ford.
Thanks to some skilful negotiating, MEPs last week agreed new capital requirement regulations to strengthen the banking system that could be quickly signed off by EU finance ministers, writes Conservative member of the European Parliament
I had never seen anything like it and nor had other MEPs. When the European Parliament's economic and monetary affairs committee voted last week to implement the capital requirements regulation directive on banking reform the 44 votes in favour were a remarkable figure – but the lack of any vote against was astonishing.
It is frankly as rare as hen's teeth for such a complicated and controversial package of regulation to receive unanimous approval. Given the range of political viewpoints represented on a committee that includes communists and greens as well as free-marketeers, and considering the prolonged and sometimes tortuous nature of the discussions behind all the amendments and compromise positions which were eventually put to the committee, this outcome was a tribute to the strong parliamentary skills of the negotiating team. Rapporteur Othmar Karas, from the centre-right European People's Party, is owed much credit for his diplomacy, flexibility and good cheer.
A 50-YEAR-OLD aristocratic eco-warrior who caused 'significant damage' to the UK's first genetically modified (GM) crop wheat trial has been charged with criminal damage.
Hector Christie, of Tapeley Park Lodge, Instow, in Devon, will appear at St Albans Central Magistrates Court on July 13, Hertfordshire police said.
Mr Christie, an old Etonian and the son of Sir George Christie, head of the Glyndebourne opera family, has been described as an eccentric and well-known anti-globalisation campaigner.
His actions on Sunday morning, when he caused what the Rothamsted Research institute described as 'significant, random property damage' have been condemned by scientists, politicians and farm industry leaders.
NFU president Peter Kendall likened GM activists targeting the trial to Nazis in the 1930s in a speech on Monday.
Local MEP Vicky Ford has joined the condemnation, describing the 'mindless and ill-informed act' as 'bad for British science and bad news for fight against food poverty'.
CALLS have been made for pressure to be kept on the European and UK parliaments over funding for vital A47 improvements after Euro-MPs this week delayed a decision for another year.
The European Parliament's transport committee met in Brussels on Tuesday to review funding of major routes across the continent.
Pressure is mounting for the A47 to be upgraded from the Trans-European Network's (TEN-T) comprehensive road system to a core route so that it qualifies for EU funding.
North West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham said: "For West Norfolk and King's Lynn to fulfil its full potential, it's essential that we get the entire length of the A47 dualled.
"It's been forgotten about too many times in the past and pressure must be kept on the European Parliament at every opportunity."
East Anglian Euro-MPs Geoffrey Van Orden and Vicky Ford were at the transport committee hearing.
Mobile phone roaming charges will fall again from July following a European Parliament vote today.
The latest round of cuts are the latest step towards a European Commission goal of reducing the gap between domestic and "foreign" call rates to virtually nothing by 2015.
East of England Tory MEP Vicky Ford said: "Excessive charging for roaming causes consumers and operators to lose out. Many consumers who have faced high charges just switch off their data roaming and don't access services at all."
MEPs have welcomed plans for a new deal to cut mobile phone data roaming charges in Europe, during a debate in the European Parliament on 9 May 2012.
Under rules set to be approved by the European Parliament, it will be less expensive to make calls and download data abroad.
British Conservative MEP Vicky Ford feared mobile phone operators might pass the cost of the cap onto domestic consumers, by increasing their bills.
The European Parliament has been asked to help fund a series of improvements to the A47.
The road, which links Great Yarmouth to the Midlands, does not qualify for Euro subsidies because it is not considered to be a core route.
Conservative MEPs Geoffrey Van Orden and Vicky Ford have called on the European Parliament to recognise the importance of the A47, and to provide it with funding to dual it and improve junctions
Poor roads are keeping Norfolk's economy in the slow lane and stunting growth and job creation, the county's chamber of commerce warned today.
Euro MPs met earlier to review how roads across the continent are funded. Norfolk County Council and the county's MPs hope to change the status of the A47 to that of a so called TEN-T core route, meaning it would qualify for funding.
Norfolk's main East - West Route is currently classified as part of the so-called "comprehensive network", meaning it doesn't qualify for funding.
East Anglian MEPs Geoffrey Van Orden and Vicky Ford attended the transport committee hearing which discussed the roads guidelines.
New rules for the pig industry are intended to create a more-even set of welfare standards across Europe and stop some farmers - such as those in Britain - being undercut by competitors using less welfare-friendly methods.
European Commissioners cannot sit back - they must take tough action against any countries that flout new rules partially banning the use of stalls for sows, Conservative MEP Vicky Ford has warned.
Vicky Ford, a Conservative Euro MP for East Anglia, said: "I was discussing the EU budget for the next seven years in Brussels and part of that money will be for transport, but it's more likely to be for road and rail projects, rather than just road projects, so we need to think about the road and the rail together.
"If you're going to get privately funded roads anywhere in the UK, then the A14 will be the place for it.
"It would need to be paid for through a toll whether that was a user-toll or government toll."
The draft Energy Efficiency Directive is likely to need backing from the European Parliament in a plenary vote at the end of March before the Assembly can speak with one voice in upcoming negotiations with the 27 EU member states.
Conservative MEP Vicky Ford, chief negotiator on the energy efficiency bill for the European Conservatives and Reformist Group, hoped that those who are calling for a plenary vote did not use it as an excuse to delay the start of negotiations with the Council.
UK MEPs Vicky Ford and Arlene McCarthy are pushing for significant changes to the European Commission's mortgage credit directive.
The directive aims to harmonise regulation across the EU for all mortgages, including buy-to-let and bridging loans.
The latest electric vehicle charge points in our area were unveiled by an MEPon Tuesday.
Millbrook Proving Ground has worked with Source East, managed by EValu8 Transport Innovations – a company set up by the University of Hertfordshire – to purchase and install the charging points.
Committee member and Conservative MEP for the east of England Vicky Ford, who is leading the Tories work on the directive said: "The one size fits all approach has caused some problems in the parliament because of how varied the mortgage market is across the 27 member states. Presedo is taking his time to find the right language."
Once the amendments are voted on, the amended bill will make up part of the parliament's position for negotiations with the European Council and the European Commission over how the final directive will look.
Vicky Ford, Conservative MEP for the East of England and shadow rapporteur for ECON, says: "The reason for the delay is that it is not clear the rapporteur's views are being held across all groups in the parliament.
"Using a one size fits all approach is a concern to lots of different MEPs. Sanchez Presedo is taking his time to find the right language."
The news that the European mortgage directive has been delayed yet again is hardly a surprise considering the problems facing the continent. But if MEPs fail to make the right decision, the consequences could be dire.
At today's briefing Vicky Ford, MEP for the east of England and shadow rapporteur on the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, reeled off a whole host of other priorities facing the European Union.
Banks may be forced to limit their borrowing in a bid by European Union lawmakers to strengthen the region's implementation of Basel capital rules
UK Conservative member Vicky Ford urged lawmakers not to allow EU states, which have joint say on the draft bill and which issue sovereign debt, to dominate the zero risk debate. "Leaving zero risk to the Council has a conflict of interest," Ford said. Schaeuble on Monday dismissed a report that Germany and France wanted parts of Basel delayed.
On Thursday there will be another, fourth version of the text of the intergovernmental treaty for enhanced economic and monetary union...
A financial transaction tax would see financial players relocate overseas, taking tens of thousands of jobs with them and putting the burden on pension funds...
Vicky Ford, a Conservative MEP who played a key role in negotiating recent financial law said such a veto would backfire, because it would be impossible to give it to the British alone.
"Given the importance of financial services to Britain it sounds like a good idea for the UK to have a veto, but if the cost of doing this would be to give every one of the 27 countries a veto, it could be a complete disaster for negotiating international financial regulation," Ford told Reuters.
Separately, she underlined Britain's interest in heading off plans for an EU tax on financial transactions, an idea proposed by Germany which Chancellor George Osborne recently demanded be "put to rest."
Vicky Ford, Member of the European Parliament for the East of England, visited Norwich Research Park on Friday 18th November to see for herself the latest developments in science and innovation coming from the institutes and companies based on the park.
Vicky is a full member of the Industry, Research and Energy committee and her visit gave her a taste of the cutting edge research that is happening across the research park. Her interests in the issues of food security, healthy ageing and energy were discussed in visits to the Institute of Food Research as well as a tour of the Biorefinery, which is using waste products from the farming and food chain to develop new biofuels.
Vicky Ford's mother was born in 1937.
She was born in 1967 and her daughter, yes, was born in 1997.
The anecdote, as well as indicating a certain consistency in the Ford family, is a telling one, particularly when it comes to pensions.
For life expectancy has risen from around 60 in her mother's day to more than 80 now.
Who knows what it might be for the next generation?
New food labels will be appearing in shops and supermarkets following a vote in the European Parliament this week.
The new rules will mean fresh meat products will need to show in which country the animal was reared and slaughtered.