26 June 2007

June 26th-27th 2007 Brussels Commentary Employment Committee

Brussels Commentary Employment Committee June 26th - 27th 2007 In my previous commentary I noted that my rejection amendment to the Portability of Pensions Directive had gone down heavily. This was an RCV and the print-out of votes is now available. In addition to UKIP, and all but 3 Ind-Dems, my 48 votes included a scattering across the political groups. Roger Helmer, Ashley Mote and Jim Allister supported, Kilroy abstained, but the remaining 57 British MEPs present all voted against. Not much further of note today, except that the committee debated Community Strategy on Health and Safety at Work. Now, with four experts attending and speaking, I thought this seemingly important debate would attract a big attendance. In the event the 33 members voting half an hour earlier dwindled to just five,- and that included the rapporteur, Glynis Willmott of the East Mids. Yesterday, Tuesday, was much more revealing. We were visited by Mr Muntefering the German Labour Minister, a last visit as the German Presidency ends. He met the coordinators for an informal discussion over lunch beforehand and I was interested to hear his comments on two directives. Apparently, the Council of Ministers are giving up on the Working Time Directive, its been too disruptive. Very good news for the UK. The Portability of Pensions Directive has also been very troublesome but Mr Muntefering thinks they can still make it work, even 'though he acknowledged that it had been sunk in Council by the Dutch veto. Strange, in the committee meeting 30 minutes later he said he knew nothing of the Dutch veto! At all events this dead directive is clearly going to receive the constitution treatment. Not so strange were Mr Muntefering's comments at the lunch about the German Presidency, which passes to Portugal on June 30th. They, the Germans, he proudly announced, are going to continue their wonderful work by 'helping' Portugal in their Presidency. Even better, they are to continue this altruistic effort by helping Slovenia, which follows Portugal. He then said that the two directives noted above were not necessarily dead and talked about a triple Presidency! So, did Muntefering mean 'help', or did he mean, 'exert a powerful influence' over two of the smaller countries, Portugal 10.5 million people and Slovenia 2 million, who only recently joined, in 1986 and 2004 respectively? After all, Angela Merkel openly stated that she would re-package the constitution with different terminology to get it through, and succeeded. Now they are going to 'help' Portugal and Slovenia,- and you can put the good news on hold! Derek Clark MEP Brussels June27th 2007

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22 June 2007

June 22nd 2007 Brussels Summit - UKIP Party Leader thrown out of Foreign Office Briefing

Friday 22nd June 2007, Brussels. Brussels Summit UKIP Party Leader thrown out of Foreign Office Briefing. Earlier today Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independence Party, was ejected from the Foreign Office lobby session. Overnight it had transpired that Nicholas Sarkozy, the newly elected French President, had announced that the European Union's policy of undistorted competition was to be scrapped. M.Sarkozy made this move because, he said, "the EU has become too Anglo-Saxon." East Midlands UKIP MEP, Derek Clark, remarked that the FO did not seem to want the leader of a responsible British political party, the only one present at the briefing, to hear the proposals they had in mind following the French President's coup. "Surely", he said, "this re-arrangement of a founding principle of the EU is of great interest to the British people and that any measure proposed by the FO is of immense importance to the British taxpayer". "We have the right to know what is to be proposed in our name", he continued. This news is brought to you by one of the few MEPs from Britain to be present in Brussels at what is intended to be a turning point for the EU. Only five British MEPs, all of UKIP, were to be seen in the Parliament buildings today, or on a watching brief near the scene of the high level discussions. "Of course", Derek Clark remarked," if there had been other British MEP leaders at the FO briefing the UKIP leader would have had some moral support. In the event none of the others seemed to think that a massive re-alignment of the EU was worth their time. Earlier in the day your East Midlands MEP had been man-handled by French and Belgian bodyguards. Taking time out in the centre of Brussels Derek noticed a heavy police presence in the 'Grote Markt' and made his way into the 'Grand Place' to find himself virtually face-to-face with Nicholas Sarkozy, who was just leaving the square surrounded by 'heavies'. The East Midlands MEP stood his ground as the French President's entourage approached but was unceremoniously thrust aside by the security guards. Following the previous day's treatment at the "Freedom of Expression Square" Derek Clark remarked that, as he would be leaving for the flight home in an or or so, he was looking forward to returning to a really free society. "As the days go by," he said," it becomes ever more obvious that the EU is on the road to oppression and our country just does not belong there". Derek Clark MEP Brussels June 22nd 2007

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18 June 2007

June 18th - 21st 2007 Strasbourg Commentary Plenary Session

Strasbourg Commentary Plenary Session June 18th - 21st 2007 The big news this week centred on the voting on June 19th. Evidently, the driving of tractors in Yorkshire is of utmost concern and the Lib-Dem MEP for that area, Diana Wallis, has taken firm action by way of no less than four reports, all duly voted through. So now tractors will have the steering improved, loads carried will be regulated, they will have better windscreen wipers and, above all, they will not be allowed to charge at such a rate through the forests. So we can all sleep soundly again. Of lesser importance in the same voting session were the same MEP's measures on protecting employees and so forth which can be ignored, after all, they only break Blair's red lines a little bit! My speech to plenary, June 20th, may be found elsewhere on my web site. It is a version of that made to the Employment Committee on Sept 13th last, cut to fit the one minute allocated today. This directive was up for voting in plenary today and, after a battle with tabling services, I got my deletion amendment listed at number one. I also took an opportunity to have it listed as an RCV,-Roll Call Vote-, which means all MEPs votes will be recorded and published in the booklet which follows voting sessions. It went down by 48 to 643, so some MEPs other than Ind-Dem voted for me! So, after informing all who would listen that it was a dead directive, having been vetoed in Council, 643 of them still voted it through! It was the Dutch minister who vetoed it in Council and I am given to understand that he used almost exactly the same reasons I had previously given. I will miss the Thursday session because I'm off to Brussels in the morning to take part in our demo against the signing of the new constitution where we hope for good TV coverage. There are always reporters and cameras in Strasbourg but this week they've stayed in Brussels. So, from mid-day Thursday to mid-day Friday there may be some good TV for us. That's us, you will not see any other UK MEPs because only Nigel, as Co-President of the Ind-Dem group, has a pass to the inner sanctum. No other UK delegation heads are leaders of their group and there are only 8 or so passes going. So, due to our membership of the Ind-Dem group alone UKIP gets in where others can not go. Rank and file UK MEPs not of UKIP are most unlikely to take the time off, - this does not qualify for expenses, which bothers me not one bit. Derek Clark MEP Strasbourg June 20th 2007

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5 June 2007

June 5th - 7th 2007 Brussels Commentary Employment Committee & Plenary

Brussels Commentary Employment Committee & Plenary June 5th - 7th 2007 An odd week with the committee split, Committee Tues pm, Plenary Weds pm and Thurs am, Committee Thurs pm. Voting in Plenary Thursday lunch time, voting in Committee Thursday pm. All of which is only possible because our assistants here run through the documents and advise on voting, the MEPs in a voting meeting approving or otherwise. Modernisation of Labour Law, rapporteur Jacek Protaciewicz, see my comments on the party web site. What these comments do not show is the discord in committee when the report was first presented. The rapporteur wanted to relax labour laws and increase flexibility to meet the challenge of a global future. This was anathema to the other side of the committee, harsh words were spoken and he came under pressure. At the second presentation his view had been amended somewhat and to cope with the 490 amendments the vote has been put back. 'Portability of Pensions' Directive. In Speeches on my website, you will see my opposition to this proposal, Sept 13th 2006. In support of my stance I put down an amendment to reject the whole proposal but met a problem. Services moved my amendment around so that when voting occurred it came last, after the vote to adopt the proposal, which being carried, rendered my amendment pointless. However, I can claim a small victory. Having protested at the treatment of my amendment I received a visit yesterday, Weds June 6th, from one of the secretariat. She explained the rules to me which say that such an amendment should be placed last. But, as a result of my protest, the voting lists will now show a rejection amendment as first item, so that if it is passed the rest of the voting list is abandoned. This little victory grew larger, for the officer then informed me that it did not matter after all. All directives have to pass Council by unanimity and the Dutch Minister had already rejected the pensions Directive, for exactly the same reasons I had put forward on Sept 13th. Portugal takes over the presidency in July and, as they have no interest in this either, this effectively kills it off! Voting in Plenary today,- 'Road map for the EU Constitutional Process', which followed an entirely predictable path. Jens Peter Bonde raised a Point of Order, quoting specific rules that no proposal can include reference to directives which have not been adopted. Since this proposal included reference to the Constitution, which has not been adopted, it should not be put before the house. He was brushed aside in true EU style and the proposal passed by 469 to 147 votes. Within this report there were two amendments to subject any new constitutional treaty to a referendum of the 'citizens'. They went down, by 79 - 534 and by 110 - 496. It is abundantly clear that all three arms of the EU, the Commission, Council and Parliament are determined to introduce a Constitution, and never mind the French and Dutch referendums. Derek Clark MEP Brussels June 7th 2007

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