Welsh Conservatives in the European Parliament
Dr Kay Swinburne MEP

Banking Union Debate, Strasbourg, 22.05.13

Firstly I would like to thank the Rapporteurs - Mrs Thyssen and Mr Giegold for all of their excellent work over the past few months.
Given the huge sensitivities and complicated procedures around the Banking Union it is amazing that they have steered us so well through the process.
The agreement to establish the Single Supervisory Mechanism and the accompanying adjustments to the European Banking Authority are seminal.
They set in place, within the current EU treaty, a mechanism for a multi-speed Europe.
The Euro zone can push ahead with a more integrated system that they have agreed is necessary to support the single currency.
Whilst those members states who are signed up to join the euro have been accommodated on a voluntary system that they can choose to join when they deem it suitable for their unique situations.
While the rights of those outside of the euro are preserved via a new dual voting system that requires a simple majority of those participants inside the single supervisory mechanism and a separate simple majority of those member states who choose to remain outside of it.
Most fundamentally, these two simple majority votes must come together to form one qualified majority vote over all, so that the European single market is protected.
This agreement sets a template for exactly how a renegotiated European Union could work.
A European Union that recognises that all member states are different, both economically and culturally, yet can still work together to achieve an overall outcome that everyone can be comfortable with.
The City of London is the jewel of the single market with the financial services it provides and facilitates being not just of benefit to the UK, but to the entire EU.
Ensuring continued participation within the single market, on equitable terms, that allow a global financial centre to operate is of the utmost importance to all companies and individuals within the EU.
It is in no one's interest for that activity to move outside Europe.
At the beginning of this mandate we all worked together to set up a new system for financial regulation across Europe in the form of the European Supervisory bodies - the EBA, ESMA and EIOPA. 
These 3 institutions were tasked with providing technical input and drafting the details of the legislation that we agree here with the Council as part of the co-decision process.
Creating a single rulebook, so that banks and financial services companies across Europe face a level playing field in financial regulation.
So that a company in Ljubljana or Cardiff has as much access to finance as a company in Frankfurt, London or Paris.
Preserving that single rulebook approach in an environment that has caused many financial supervisors to look inwards is going to be a difficult task in the coming years.
The ECB is entering new territory, with new supervisory powers directly over banks, a situation not dissimilar to that of the Bank of England with its new prudential supervisory powers.
However, the outstanding issue that we still have not solved in these reports is finding a way for the European Central Bank to maintain its independence in monetary policy, and yet still be accountable for its supervisory decisions to national and supra-national parliaments.
No financial supervisor can ever operate outside of the public interest, which is best represented by democratically elected parliaments.
When there is a mis-selling scandal that affects thousands of my constituents the relevant financial supervisor needs to be held to account publically,
When a criminal investigation of systemic proportions is undertaken affecting all of the global banks the authority needs to explain publically and demonstrate that suitable remedies and possible sanctions will be applied
And when a bank is in dire straits and there are calls for money from the public purse to be used to bail it out, there needs to be a right to call a committee of scrutiny to find out what went wrong, and why this is the only option left.
Independence from political interference does not mean being above scrutiny.
The financial sector is too important to the lives of all of the citizens of the EU to leave it outside of public debate, scrutiny and accountability. 
However, this is only the first part of Banking Union.
We still have to negotiate a common system of deposit guarantee schemes, a legal framework for recovery and resolution of banks as well as a European Resolution Mechanism. Which recognises the needs of those moving to a single supervisor in the Euro zone and those banks which will remain under member state supervision and control.
Above all else, we must be absolutely sure that what we are putting in place across the EU to mitigate risk from the banking sector, will not draw finance away from the economy when all of the Member states of the EU are looking for economic growth.
The crisis is not over.
We are still in extraordinary circumstances.
The pillars of the banking union consistent supervision, protection of deposits and a sound system for recovery and resolution should provide a framework for better regulated and better managed banks across Europe that can then provide capital to the rest of the economy,
but if we over regulate and become overly prescriptive to a one size fits all solution that puts too much capital into lots of prefunded schemes to provide lots of buffers from risk taking, regardless of country and institution specificities, we will end up with European businesses being unable to find the capital they need to expand and contribute to economic prosperity.
We cannot eliminate risk from the financial system,
But we can plan for how to deal with it so when things go awry it does not have the disorderly effects that we have seen in the past few years.
At an EU level we can work together, where appropriate and where our citizens have given us a mandate to do so.
We will all be judged by results.
At the moment, all across the EU, people are questioning whether the EU is fit for purpose, and what that purpose is, or should be.
It is not just David Cameron and Wolfgang Schauble who should be asking for renegotiations of the EU, but every politician in this chamber, to make sure that the EU is really acting in their constituents interests and can prove to be adaptable over time to ensure our continued place at the vanguard of world innovation and commerce.
Banking Union is a first, though important step, but needs to be one of many in the journey to reform.
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Welsh Conservatives

The European Commission has today designated European Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status to the well-known Pembrokeshire Early Potato from West Wales.
The Pembrokeshire Early Potato was one of only three quality farm products whose applications for PGI status were approved today.
The EU PGI schemes protect product names against misuse and under these schemes more than 1200 products are already protected.
Commenting on this announcement from the European Commission today Dr Kay Swinburne MEP – who is from West Wales - said:
"I am delighted to see that this application to have "Pembrokeshire Earlies" added to the register of PGI products has been approved by the European Commission today."

"Achieving this prestigious status is a clear acknowledgment of the high-quality and distinctive produce we continue to deliver in Wales. Pembrokeshire Early Potatoes thoroughly deserve their place alongside the well-known food and drink products from right across the EU which already feature on the PGI register."


Kay was delighted to host an event to celebrate Higher Education, Science and Innovation in Wales last night in the European Parliament.  The event builds on the British Council’s “Strategic Analysis of the Welsh Higher Education Sector, Distinctive Assets”.  A number of experts spoke to share their views of Welsh HE at the event and how it can develop in the future.

In advance of the 'Fox-Hafner Report' vote on the single seat for the European Parliament, Kay and the other UK Conservative MEPs feel it is right to draw attention to the fact that the seven-year cost of the dual-seat arrangement comes to £928,000,000. Since her election to the European Parliament in 2009, Kay has strongly supported bringing the monthly Parliamentary meetings in Strasbourg to an end and therefore saving taxpayers a considerable sum of money.


Kay was delighted to meet Malala Yousafzai, who was awarded the EU's Sakharov Human Rights Prize at the European Parliament today.

Following Malala’s speech to the European Parliament, Kay said, “What an inspirational speech Malala gave to the Members of the European Parliament today. As a mother of young children myself, I hope that they can also aspire to achieve like her. Malala is an exceptional young lady who has overcome adversity by tremendous force of character and a passionate belief in the right of everybody to enjoy and benefit from education.”   


Kay was very pleased to meet with members of the Advanced Manufacturing Research Group at the European Parliament in Brussels, one of four groups set up in key Welsh research strengths to engage with EU research funds. The delegation visiting Brussels included representatives from Cardiff University, Bangor University, Swansea University and Trinity St.Davids University.

In advance of tomorrow's European Council meeting of leaders, Dr Swinburne has echoed the recommendations made in a recent report published by a number of business leaders, which highlights the importance of removing barriers to business competitiveness in Europe and getting rid of burdensome legislation by cutting EU red tape.

Last year Dr Swinburne encouraged businesses in Wales to highlight to the European Commission which over-burdensome regulations they would like to see slashed, by writing to small businesses all over Wales and asking them to tell her their red-tape problems.

Electronic cigarettes no longer face being taken off the shelves by the EU after Conservative MEPs were successful today in amending EU legislation on tobacco labelling.

Conservative MEP's led the amendment to defeat proposals that would have classified e-cigarettes as medicinal products, meaning they would have to undergo an overly burdensome and costly authorisation procedure, which would go beyond the procedures for traditional tobacco products... (Read more under 'Articles')



Welsh Conservative MEP Kay Swinburne has been sitting down with leaders in Europe's biotech field to choose the top five candidates to compete in this year's EuropaBio Most Innovative EU Biotech SME Award.

As a member of this year's judging committee, Kay is once again supporting the EuropaBio award, which has attracted applications from all three sectors of biotechnology - healthcare, industrial and agricultural, from across the EU... (Read more under 'Articles')


WELSH Conservative MEP Dr Kay Swinburne today hailed a vote in the European Parliament as a "wake-up call" in the battle to save Europe's endangered languages.

MEPs meeting in Strasbourg backed a report which calls on governments across the EU to develop action plans to encourage continued linguistic diversity.

The report, written by Corsican MEP François Alfonsi, also says governments should be "more attentive" to threats which may lead to languages becoming extinct.

Dr Swinburne, who was a shadow rapporteur for the report, has argued that Welsh can be seen as a positive example of language revitalisation which communities across the EU should follow... (Read more under 'Articles')

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