Welsh Conservatives in the European Parliament
Dr Kay Swinburne MEP

Explanation of Votes, Strasbourg, 19.11.13

Multiannual financial framework 2014-2020


Since February (when the multiannual budgeting deal was first successfully negotiated) I and my Conservative colleagues have been opposing attempts by the European Parliament to renegotiate this deal.

By voting today to give its consent to the new MFF (which remains broadly the same as the deal agreed by Heads of State and Government in February) the European Parliament has finally recognised that we needed to deliver a sensible and smart EU budget for our constituents.

This MFF delivers a long-term budget that marries the need to reflect, through a reduced budget, the difficult economic circumstances being faced across Member States, with the need to reprioritise the EU's budget investments to areas that will deliver clear added value and growth for our constituents.


Interinstitutional agreement (IIA) on cooperation in budgetary matters and on sound financial management


It was important that we finally delivered Parliament's consent for this long-term budget today, the outcome of the negotiations on this MFF are, I believe, the right ones and I am pleased that the Parliament has taken the steps needed to approve it here today, including in this case, the adoption of this report on the Interinstitutional agreement (IIA). 


Draft Amending Budget No. 7/2013 - Strengthening the European Social Fund (ESF) to address youth unemployment, poverty and social exclusion in France, Italy and Spain


I opted to abstain in this vote on the Draft Amending Budget No 7. I did so because, as I also outlined at the previous plenary session, I do not feel that such amending budgets demonstrate the sound budgetary supervision that my constituents should be able to expect from the European Union.


Draft Amending Budget No. 8/2013 (DAB 2 bis) - reinforcement of payments by MFF heading and shortage of payment appropriations in the 2013 budget


For me this Draft Amending Budget is a clear representation of the problems that we have faced when it comes to EU budgetary management this year. We cannot continue to manage shortfalls in payments with such requests for extra finances. One of the fundamental lessons taken from these overall budget negotiations must be of the need for better budgetary management at EU level.


Mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (application EGF/2013/004 ES/Comunidad Valenciana - Building materials – Spain


It is more important now than ever, that we are confident that each and every piece of European Union funding we allocate will be fully effective and deliver the optimum value for taxpayer's money. I am afraid that I am not convinced that the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund delivers against these criteria and as I am not supportive of the fund on these grounds, I voted against this report today.


'ERASMUS FOR ALL' - The Union Programme for Education, Training, Youth and Sport


This vote today seals the continuation of a programme that has already given students right across the EU real opportunities to expand their knowledge base, to build language skills and to experience different cultures. I hope that this forthcoming 'Erasmus for All' programme can build on previous success and provide support to education institutions and their staff.


In particular, I look forward to seeing how we can maximise the impact of the dedicated budget outlined within this programme for sport; in times of economic difficulty grassroots sports can sometimes struggle to obtain the support that they need and I hope that this programme will prove to be a useful tool in backing grassroots sports in our Member States. 


Creative Europe Programme


I represent a constituency with a strong tradition of cultural and creative excellence, of which I am particularly proud. As a result I recognise the importance of supporting our creative industries, ensuring the continued celebration of our unique cultures, whilst also maximising the contribution that these industries can make to economic growth.  I hope that this programme will act as a key tool in unlocking the potential of our creative industries and supporting them in their continued growth and expansion.


Establishing programme "Europe for the Citizens" for the period 2014-2020


I am a huge supporter of encouraging my constituents to engage with European Union funding streams and throughout this mandate I have seen the success that doing so can generate. However when we are presented with opportunities to review the continuation of such programmes our primary consideration must be, do they represent value for the taxpayer's money. In this particular case I was unfortunately not convinced that this Europe for the Citizens programme did.


Connecting Europe Facility


Investment in infrastructure projects in the fields of transport, energy and telecommunications, offer the opportunity to provide real boosts to the economic competitiveness of regions right across the European Union, and so I am pleased to see the European Union budget allocating funds to such projects via this Connecting Europe Facility.


Agriculture and fishery statistics


I can support this exercise proposed by the European Commission, to review nine legislative acts within the domain of agricultural and fishery statistics, in order to align them in accordance within the Lisbon Treaty. I therefore voted in favour of this report today.


Amendment of the Agreement on Government procurement


I voted in favour of this report; the opening up of global procurement markets must be encouraged and we must do all that we can to support our small and medium sized businesses back home so that they are able to access global markets.


Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes


I welcome the European Parliament's decision to approve these revisions to this Convention which will allow countries situated outside of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) region to become parties to the Convention. However as the UK itself has not ratified this Convention, I did opt to abstain on this final vote.


Nuclear safety co-operation


I supported the adoption of this instrument today and I welcome its continued efforts to strengthen EU cooperation with third countries to improve nuclear safety levels and further nuclear research.


Nuclear decommissioning assistance programmes in Bulgaria, Lithuania and Slovakia


I was pleased to vote in favour of this resolution led by my Conservative colleague. I hope that these funds can now be used effectively to complete the decommissioning of nuclear power plants in Bulgaria, Lithuania and Slovakia.


Supplementary research programme for the ITER project (2014-2018)


I am fully supportive of the ITER project, however unfortunately this report does make calls for financing of the ITER project outside of the ceilings of the MFF, which I cannot support. Therefore I opted today to abstain on this final vote.


Research and Training Programme of the European Atomic Energy Community (2014-2018) complementing Horizon 2020


I voted in favour of this report today. I support continuing efforts to further research activities in the field of nuclear energy and I believe that this proposal should form a key part of the overall Horizon 2020 package.


Trans-European transport network


I do believe that the European Union is right to prioritise improved connectivity and strengthened transport links as a part of this infrastructure investment package. However it is important that the structure for the investment agreed represents the best deal possible for all Member States and their regions, in this instance I did not feel that this was the case for the UK and its regions, including Wales, and therefore I opted to abstain in this final vote.






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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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