Welsh Conservatives in the European Parliament
Dr Kay Swinburne MEP

Explanation of Votes, Strasbourg, 12.06.12

Defining a new development cooperation with Latin America
One in three people in Latin America still live below the poverty line, 28 million citizens do not know how to read or write and the IMF estimated an average GDP growth rate of 4.5% for 2011, I welcome the European Parliament's report on defining a new development cooperation with Latin America as it rightly acknowledges that the EU needs to assist the region in eradicating poverty and help to promote sustainable economic and social development.
The EU should work with the region to support development and stability by reducing social inequalities. As a growing economic region, it is only sensible that the EU should intensify its role to strengthen existing trade and investment relations with the whole of Latin America, and particularly Brazil and Mexico who are important strategic partners for investment and trade respectively.

Cross-border voluntary activities in the EU
I am hugely supportive of volunteering activities many of which help ensure a better quality of life for my Welsh constituents. As well as having enormous societal value, they also serve to equip individuals volunteering with important skills which will assist them in becoming more employable. Whilst I recognise the importance and merits of promoting cross-border voluntary activities across the EU and the wider world, I was unable to fully support the report. I believe that initiatives, such as promoting youth volunteering in sport or health, and increased cooperation with third countries to be of great value. However, I have reservations about the references made in the report concerning funding.
I do not agree that national, regional or local authorities should be mandated to ring-fence funding for organisations involved in volunteering activities. I also cannot support the recommendation for the creation of a new multiannual programme which would effectively guarantee funds to be available for volunteer projects. In these current economically turbulent times, authorities should be free to determine whether they would like to earmark funds for these voluntary group projects or direct them towards other priorities nationally.
Voluntary activities are noble but should not be enshrined in national budgets.

Critical information infrastructure protection: towards global cyber-security
With the increased prevalence of cyber-security threats, it is prudent for the EU to review and develop its strategy with regards to key infrastructure protection. Cyber security attacks have been known to cause complete havoc across the EU with their tactics becoming more and more sophisticated.
The effects of an attack can be highly damaging and costly, particularly to businesses who are often subject to thefts of intellectual property. My Government has recognised this and listed cyber-security as one of its top priorities. However these threats do not recognise national boundaries and so I support the EU coordinating efforts to counter larger-scale attacks. As the EU is not alone in being subjected to these attacks, it is therefore sensible to develop a global co-ordinated strategy and response, along with private companies, to counter them and I urge a global perspective as we develop strategies to counter future cyber security threats.

Energy policy cooperation with partners beyond our borders
With the global population projected to reach 9 billion by 2050, global energy demand is forecast to increase by 40% by 2030 and so competition for scare fossil fuels will accordingly grow. Member States within the EU need to develop and coordinate their energy policies with strategic partners, particularly given the current challenges we face in ensuring energy security.
Some Member States are becoming increasingly interconnected with respect to energy supply and so a coordinated EU approach may help energy security for the EU as a whole. 
It is similarly important for the EU to look to a number of countries to supply its energy, to avoid reliance on a small number of suppliers. There is a need to strengthen relationships with key strategic partners, including Russia.
Although I strongly support the importance of diversification and infrastructure development in enhancing our energy security, I am unable to support the demand for the Commission to be involved in all Member State's energy negotiations with 3rd countries regardless of whether their assistance is required or requested. As this clearly goes against the principle of subsidiarity, I therefore abstained on this report.
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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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