Welsh Conservatives in the European Parliament
Dr Kay Swinburne MEP

Explanation of Votes, Strasbourg, 19.01.12

Waste electrical and electronic equipment
This report on waste electrical and electronic equipment strikes the right balance in terms of what should be decided at EU and Member State level.
For Wales, a key element is the way in which the collection target will be calculated. The current method will be kept until 2012/13 after which there will be an interim collection target of 45% of waste electrical and electronic equipment and a 65% target placed on the market from 2020. Member States, such as my own, will now have the choice to opt for a more ambitious 85% target, should they wish to. Conversely, I welcome the proposal that the Commission will assist those Member States who are struggling to meet these targets with transitional adjustments.
Whilst it is important to increase the amount of electrical and electronic equipment being recycled, it is equally important that the approach should not be too prescriptive but give Member States the flexibility to choose the most appropriate and achievable target for them.
Delivering a positive result will be a long term project but all Member states now need to demonstrate and live up to this commitment.
Placing on the market and use of biocidal products
Maintaining the use of Biocidal products in the absence of viable alternatives is vital for industry, households and our communities. This report balances usage requirements whilst upholding a high level of protection for human and animal health, and the environment. It is important that the process of assessing the active ingredient and the subsequent authorisation of a  Biocidal product will be maintained at current standards to ensure the highest level of protection.
Coming from a background in biochemistry, I welcome that there will still be a regular review of biocides with the initial approval or subsequent renewals having a limit of 10 years. However, despite the report proposing a ban on carcinogens, it is important that they will still be permitted to be used in a controlled manner in rodent-control pesticides, which are widely used by the farming community in my region, Wales.  
Used safely, in a regulated way would be far preferable to an outright ban.
Finally, I support the proposed rules for mutual recognition which will provide for a single market for biocides across the EU.
Space Strategy for the European Union
The report on a space strategy for the European Union makes sound and sensible proposals for what is now a shared competence according to the Treaty on the EU. By having an EU space strategy, this will facilitate the pooling of resources and intelligence so that we can make real, innovative progress that will benefit the entire EU. This is particularly important given the increasingly completive world we are operating in.
An EU space strategy will ensure independent access to space. It will also allow further development of Galileo, our satellite navigation system project, and assist us in developing our own high-precision positioning system.
Furthermore, I support the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security programme which will provide independent and autonomous information concerning the environment and security. The data produced aid policy makers in making informed choices when preparing legislation on future environmental proposals.
Avoiding Food Wastage: for a more efficient food chain in the EU
Given the pressures that are already being put on our farmers to produce more food with fewer resources, the report on how to avoid food wastage strikes the right tone. With the global population estimated to reach 9bn by 2050 by the UN, it is only sensible that we reduce food wastage as part of our food supply strategy.
I support a coordinated strategy across the EU, with a network being established to facilitate the exchange of intelligence and best practice of how to reduce food waste along the food chain. This network should also seek to further coordinate research and development into improved technologies for the treatment of food waste.
The report acknowledges that there is a need for industry to play its part by reducing food wastage in terms of packaging.
We need to ensure a competitive market delivers our food in an economic and efficient form. However, we need to be careful not to substitute market solutions with overly burdensome legislation. Industry and policy makers need to work towards proportionate solutions to this real problem.
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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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