Welsh Conservatives in the European Parliament
Dr Kay Swinburne MEP

Common Agricultural Policy vote in EP Agriculture Committee fails to deliver reform, Brussels, 24.01.13

The Parliament's agriculture committee has concluded a two-day long voting session to determine its position on CAP reform which, for the first time under the Lisbon Treaty, gives MEPs co-decision powers.
Proposed changes to CAP passed by MEPs threaten to undo previous reforms that uncoupled payments from production and moved farmers closer to the marketplace, whilst doing nothing to address the challenges of food security or further environmental objectives.

Whilst the adopted changes will make cross compliance sanctions more proportionate and remove sheep EID breaches from these onerous regimes, other positions adopted by the Parliament will significantly undermine the development of a competitive, efficient and market-facing European agricultural industry, including exempting the agriculture sector from EU competition rules.

Up to 15 percent of the payments will be put towards 'coupled' payments. Use of this tool has the potential to reward farmers for goods that the market may not need, whilst undermining the level playing field for farmers in different Member States. Together with the potentially catastrophic addition of both allowing Producer Organisations to dictate production and pricing and the extension of quotas in several products, we are seeing a return to interventionist policies.

The committee also delivered a poor deal for new EU Member States by failing to support equal payments across the Single Market whilst supporting the Commission proposal to cap payments to large farmers, which will significantly affect both the United Kingdom and the Czech Republic.

The proposals will move to a vote of the full Parliament where further amendments are expected.
Speaking after the vote, Kay Swinburne, Conservative MEP for Wales said:
"I am extremely disappointed by the decision to move CAP away from the market economy driven approach that is so desperately needed back towards an outdated, interventionist model.
This move represents a step back to a very prescriptive subsidy led system and does not give the result that farmers in Wales deserve.
I hope that in plenary we can achieve a better outcome for Welsh farmers, Welsh consumers and taxpayers alike. Interventionist policies do not have a role in a reformed CAP and it is a sad reflection that under these proposals producer organisations will now get the right to control production and practice supply management which directly contradicts a single market objective.

These reforms do nothing to assist European farmers, who need to become more efficient, not less and are a disappointment all round. These proposals as they stand are likely to harm farmers in a competitive global environment, to waste taxpayer money, to push up food prices, and to diminish the vital environmental stewardship role that Welsh farmers play."
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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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