23 January 2007

Jan 23rd - 24th 2007 Brussels Commentary Employment Committee

Commentary Brussels Employment Committee Jan 23rd - 24th 2007 Tuesday First committee meeting after Germany assumed the Presidency. Treats, a series of lectures by their Ministers setting out the grand plan for, well, progress I suppose. Sounded just like the corresponding offerings by previous incoming Presidents. Mr Muntfering, Vice-Chancellor and German Minister for Labour and Social Affairs, was interesting,- for what he did not say. He mentioned the Working Time Directive, which, he said, is hung up but they want to get it going and finalised by June. A green Paper will move it along, they certainly do not want it to fail. If you thought that the WTD was in force already, well it is, but various countries, not just the UK, have employed Opt-Outs. These are supposed to be phased out by 2010 but quite a few member states are digging their heels in, so I asked a question;- "Mr President, the hold up on the WTD is mainly due to several countries wishing Opt-Outs to continue. That includes Germany as well as the UK. I would therefore like the Vice-Chancellor to tell us the current attitude of the German Government to Opt-Outs, as they are now the President in Office". Questions to the Vice-Chancellor were taken five at a time and most of his replies were directed to the questioners, but not to me. He delivered a general, rambling, account covering several questions in which I think I detected a response to me; - "........ the WTD, we don't want to flog a dead horse. We must remain neutral". I assume that, "we", referred to the German Government. Make of it what you will. Wednesday Started by voting against a report by the President, ie the Committee Chairman, on "Guidelines for the Employment Policies for Member States". Also voted against the only other report, Maritime Labour Law. This is to authorise member states to ratify the 2006 Maritime Labour Convention of the International Labour Organisation (ILO). In fact, HMG, had already signed agreement to this in February 2006. So had all the member states! So what on earth is the point of authorising member states to ratify that to which they have all agreed in writing? Answer, to provide the EU with another means of interfering, by way of directives and the European Court of Justice. It also enables them to reinforce their power over "European Waters", including that which we used to protect up to the 200 mile limit. In the afternoon it was "Portability of Supplementary Pensions". I explained that I was all in favour of people working in different countries and taking their pensions with them as they move but that pension firms were capable of sorting all that out so we don’t need a directive. I commented further on the presentation by four pensions experts who addressed the committee in May. Their view was that this directive was, “Too much too soon”, that it didn’t show subsidiarity and that it did not help at all. They also quoted the commission as saying that there was no subsidiarity. Since I was saying all that in support of my own amendment, to delete the directive altogether, they tried to attack me but all they could come up with was, - The commission said they were working towards the points I had raised. Stephen Hughes, Labour MEP North East, told me I ought to read the commission’s written document. The rapporteur said she was glad she didn’t live in the UK with our pension laws! That’s the best they could do and I look forward with keen anticipation to the next time this is debated when I shall throw all that back at them. Derek Clark MEP Brussels Jan 24th 2007

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22 January 2007

Jan 22nd 2007 BRIEF For Political Committee

BRIEF For Political Committee Jan 22nd 07 Reaction to Leader’s Email to Councillors – East Midlands Responses 2 by email - Gerry Hartop, cllr in Erewash, resigned from Tory party, now Independent - Cllr in Lincolnshire speaking for some 20 out of 50 Independent cllrs in Lincs, they want us not to oppose them Personal approach elected Mayor in Notts, Independent, in contact with 8 or 9 other elected Mayors and with Independent cllrs. NB: Mansfield council 29 cllrs of whom 26 Independent Am in contact with all 3 Another cllr in Erewash resigned Tory party with press release Jan 9th, councillor Robert Dockerill, trying to establish contact via Gerry Hartop The Independent Mayor is sympathetic to UKIP, seems very keen, runs an Independent Forum comprising his 26 Independent cllrs - he is proposing/asking can there be an association or alliance with UKIP, says his Independent forum is also UKIP sympathetic but don’t want to go the whole way and join us. If such an alliance can be made to work and is approved I would try to extend it to the Lincolnshire group. If all that worked we would have some 50 plus East Midlands Independent cllrs supportive of UKIP, plus perhaps some elected Mayors. Would not like to forcast possible number of conversions to UKIP, nice but does it matter at the moment. DRC Northampton 11th Jan 07

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15 January 2007

Jan 15th - 18th 2007 Strasbourg Commentary Plenary Session

Strasbourg Commentary Plenary Session Jan 15th - 18th 2007 Since the first two days were taken up with voting in the new president of Parliament, vice-presidents, quaestors, not much business. Worth noting that the new president is Herr Pottering of the PPE, the previous holder Senor Borrell was a socialist and these two groups had an agreement to vote for each other's candidate, so as to share it out between them over the five year period and never mind any one else. Hence Jens-Peter of our Ind-Dem group stood to break it up. He got 46 votes against 400+ for Pottering, but the point was made, - an election, not a coronation. You will know that the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, as incoming president of the EU, spoke to the house on Tuesday for over 45 minutes. For those with stamina her speech is attached. The highlight was her statement, made in no uncertain terms, that the constitution would be reintroduced by the end of Germany's presidency, including bits of it brought into other legislation. Nigel was suitably scathing in his reply, commenting that Mrs Merkel had emphisised Tolerance in the EU. The French and Dutch referendums had rejected the constitution, "so what about tolerance, for goodness sake Mrs Merkel, listen to the people". Derek Clark MEP

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15 January 2007

NEW

                                        UK Independence Party

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2 January 2007

Jan 2nd 2007 EAST MIDLANDS COMMENTARY - A nice quick start for your UKIP MEP

EAST MIDLANDS COMMENTARY NEW YEAR 2007 A nice quick start for your UKIP MEP Monday January 1st. - Took a day off. Tuesday January 2nd. A few minutes at 7.10am on the BBC Radio Nottingham breakfast show, taking questions about the accession of Bulgaria. Also on the show a Bulgarian nurse working locally. I may be wrong but I got the impression that the presenter was looking for something controversial from me, possibly even a xenophobic comment. He didn’t get one and we ended up with the nurse agreeing with me that migration needs to be controlled by use of work permits and the presenter even remarked that you can’t get into places like Canada without one. Fortunately they did not take up the 2007 questionnaire they sent me, to which I had replied by slaving away during the Christmas holiday. Wednesday January 3rd. Phone call from Sky TV, would I go up to Measham, Leicestershire, where there has been an influx of Polish people and would I do a few minutes TV. Drop-of-a-hat stuff, off I went to do five minutes recorded interview at about 2pm and was about to go home when the presenter recalled me to go live, which happened at about 3.08pm. The live bit was immediately shown on Sky news, and again in their 4pm newscast. The second showing was cut to a certain degree and they did not show the pre-recorded session at all. Never mind, it was shown on National TV complete with strap line, - Derek Clark MEP (not very important), UK Independence Party (great). You might be interested to know that whereas they also showed the local, English, owner of the Polish shop across the road they did not show the interview given by a local county councillor, while another certain well known MEP, who lives nearby, was not there at all. Got home in time to take a 25 minute phone call from a reporter based in Brussels. He writes articles for, please note, The Daily Mail and the Mail on Sunday. He wanted to know all about another East Mids MEP who shall be nameless but who was identified that day in one national paper as a possible contestant in the new “Big Brother” series starting that night. Whether an article will appear in either the “Mails” I know not but I assure all concerned that should an invite ever come from “Big Brother” I would not be able to find barge poles long enough. And a Happy New Year to all my readers. Derek Clark MEP 4th January 07

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