Welsh Conservatives in the European Parliament
Dr Kay Swinburne MEP

Explanation of Votes, Strasbourg, 20.11.13

2014 budgetary procedure: joint text


Despite the lengthy negotiations that have taken place on this 2014 budget, I am afraid that I still do not feel that this budget represents a good deal that fully reflects the reduced spending, and the smarter spending, which we need. Therefore I could not support it.



Draft amending budget No 9/2013: Mobilisation of the EU Solidarity Fund for Romania (Drought and forest fires in 2012) and for Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic (Flooding in May and June 2013)


I support the mobilisation of the Solidarity Fund to provide financial assistance to those Member States affected by flooding and also by drought and forest fires. However, I do not agree with the method chosen to finance the fund in this instance and therefore I could not support this draft amending budget No 9.



Mobilisation of the EU Solidarity Fund - Drought and forest fires in Romania and floods in Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic


My concerns surrounding these proposals relating to the EU Solidarity Fund, lie with the method chosen to finance it (through the use of the flexibility instrument) and not with the use of the fund itself. I therefore voted in favour of this proposal to provide support to the aforementioned Member States affected by drought and forest fires and also floods.



European satellite navigation systems


I voted in favour of this report and I hope that this proposal will serve to strengthen the capacity of European satellite navigation system programmes.



Macro-financial assistance to Jordan


This macro-financial assistance represents a welcome move to support Jordan in its recovery following the international financial crisis and I voted in favour of approving this assistance.



EU-Russia agreement on drug precursors


I voted in favour of this agreement which should facilitate improved cooperation between the European Union and the Russian Federation for the monitoring of trade in drug precursors. The diversion of these legal substances for use in illegal drug production is a problem that we have to work across borders to counter and I hope that this agreement can facilitate appropriate monitoring of legal trade flows in drug precursors so that we are better equipped to identify misuse.



Third States and organisations with which Europol shall conclude agreements


I voted in favour of approving these amendments to the list of third countries and organisations which Europol can conclude agreements with.



Legal framework for a European Research Infrastructures Consortium


I voted in favour of this technical amendment to the Regulation on the European Research Infrastructures Consortium, which will mean that associated countries can participate in ERIC's.


Common provisions on European funds


I am pleased that the European Parliament has voted in favour today of adopting this legislative package on future cohesion policy, including this regulation on the Common provisions on European funds, which will outline the common rules for the key EU structural and investment funds. As I outlined in my speech to the Chamber yesterday structural funding from the European Union is vitally important for improving economic competitiveness in my constituency of Wales.



European Regional Development Fund and the 'investment for growth and jobs' goal


The European Parliament has voted in favour today of adopting this legislative package on future cohesion policy, including this European Regional Development Fund Regulation, which will focus spending on objectives such as the move towards a low carbon economy and supporting SME competitiveness. As I outlined in my speech to the Chamber yesterday structural funding from the European Union is vitally important for improving economic competitiveness in my constituency of Wales.




European Regional Development Fund and the 'European territorial cooperation' goal


The European Parliament has voted in favour today of adopting this legislative package on future cohesion policy, including this Regulation on European Regional Development Fund support for European Territorial Cooperation. As I outlined in my speech to the Chamber yesterday structural funding from the European Union is vitally important for improving economic competitiveness in my constituency of Wales.


Cohesion Fund


The Cohesion Fund concentrates on infrastructure investment in transport, energy and telecommunications in central and eastern European states.  I support the revised Regulation, given its continued sole concentration on the poorest regions and the poorest Member States in the EU.


European grouping of territorial cooperation


EGTCs are voluntary instruments which act as legal bodies to provide legal personality to the cooperation of local and regional authorities from different Member States in the use of EU funding.  The grouping brings together actors in at least two Member States into a joint organisation with its own budgetary, organisational and contractual capacities.  This amending regulation seeks to remove the administrative barriers which some actors claim have hindered the development of EGTCs.


Gender balance among non-executive directors of companies listed on stock exchanges


Whilst I am supportive of this reports goal to achieve a more even gender balance amongst the non-executive directors of companies, I do not believe that the introduction of a 40% quota represents the right means to achieve the desired goal. Instead of the European Union level non-flexible approach that this report puts forward I would like Member States to work hard to build on the success that some voluntary national measures have already achieved.



Key information documents for investment products


It is very important that we maintain the highest possible standards of information disclosure and transparency for consumers so that they can make sound investment decisions; I have concerns about this report because I do not believe that it takes the right measures to guarantee such standards.

This report, despite being passed in Committee, failed to gain a mandate for Trialogue. We and many EPP members voted against the text as a mandate as it extends the scope of a relatively straightforward regulation in an unhelpful way. This regulation is about improving information disclosure and transparency in the investment market for retail investors. Whilst in committee we managed to bring the scope back towards the Commission's proposal, the sales annex, complexity label and product intervention articles remain. The scope also still includes corporate bonds, pension products (when the lack of a clear EU definition of a pension product means that it is not clear what this should cover or not) and does not include all the insurance-based investment products that we would like to see (whilst leaving all general insurance and simple life insurance out of scope).



Financing, management and monitoring of the CAP


This regulation governs the financing of CAP payments along with rules on reporting, monitoring, compliance and sanctions. It is mainly a technical dossier and reflects changes agreed in the other dossiers. The ECR group gained some successes in this dossier. Greening penalties will be phased in gradually, control requirements can be more flexible to reflect risk of non-compliance, sanctions should be more proportionate for minor infringements and more flexibility on the setting of exchange rates was approved.



European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development



I am pleased to see the European Parliament adopting this Regulation on the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development. I do hope that back home we will be able to us these funds to provide some of the support that our rural communities and our farmers in Wales need.

This regulation covers the rules surrounding the use of Rural Development (RD) Funds and represents Pillar 2 of the CAP. Key issues in this dossier relate to the link between the greening measures in direct payments and agri-environmental schemes in Rural Development, the Farm Advisory Service, risk management tools and the distribution of funding between Member States. Most rural development schemes are voluntary and Member States choose which ones they want to develop. In addition, funds are co-financed by the Member State. The proposed text excludes the possibility of double funding for the same programmes under both Pillars of the CAP, it includes forestry in RD programmes, delays the introduction of new biophysical criteria for Less Favoured Areas (LFAs) and reserves 30% of funding to agri-environmental, organic, and forestry programmes.



Common organisation of the markets in agricultural products


I feel strongly that this Single CMO Regulation moves the Common Agricultural Policy in the wrong direction - returning to interventionist policies when we should be favouring a more market-orientated approach.

This regulation covers market management measures and together with the direct payments regulation makes up Pillar 1 of the CAP. The text includes proposals to extend sugar quotas until 2017 and wine quotas until 2030, despite the Commission originally proposing to abolish them in 2015. In addition, intervention possibilities will be increased for milk and new rules on delegated acts for beef and veal intervention are likely to be devised to increase use of intervention in these sectors. The use of private storage aid will be extended and producer organisations (PO) in some sectors will gain powers to control supply and to enforce these rules on non-members of the PO. The EU school milk and fruit scheme is extended and the text allows for new collective bargaining powers for POs in beef, arable and olive oil sectors. The agreed text significantly alters the Commission proposal and sets back the process of reforming the CAP by moving away from a more market facing and liberal policy.



Direct payments to farmers under support schemes within the framework of the CAP


This regulation covers the rules surrounding direct payments to farmers and forms the major part of the first pillar of the CAP. It includes the single farm payment, the new greening payment, the young and small farmers' payments. In addition, it outlines the rules on how Member States can "couple" payments to production, specific rules for certain crops, the distribution of payments within and between Member States and the amount of money Member States can transfer between direct payments (Pillar 1) and rural development (Pillar 2). I do not support this regulation. It does not address the key challenge of food security, adds complexity and bureaucracy, undermines competitive and efficient farming, reverses previous reforms and will lead to an even more unequal playing field for UK farmers compared to their competitors in the rest of Europe.


Transitional provisions on support for rural development


It is important that the correct provisions are in place so that farmers continue to receive their payments in 2014. However as a result of the overall agreement reached on direct payments I do fear that this regulation will now bring forward many of the measures that I feel do not support competitive and efficient farming.


Provisions relating to financial management for certain Member States experiencing or threatened with serious difficulties with respect to their financial stability and to the decommitment rules for certain Member States



I have concerns with regards to the equal treatment of all Member States when it comes to some aspects of this proposal and for that reason I opted to abstain in the vote on this report today.


EC-Kiribati fisheries partnership agreement


I welcome the continuation of this fisheries agreement between the EU and Kiribati in the South Pacific and I therefore voted in favour of this resolution.


Location of the seats of the European Union's institutions


I was very pleased to vote in favour of this report which has been jointly led by my Conservative colleague. This is an incredibly important report and in supporting it we have rightly rejected the continuation of this dual-seat system. The costs, both environmental and monetary, of relocating to Strasbourg for twelve sessions a year cannot be justified to our taxpayers and I hope that the adoption of this report today will bring us a step closer to securing a single location for the European Parliament.


Financial allocation for certain Member States from the European Social Fund


This report outlines provisions to provide increases to certain Member States in their ESF allocations. The provisions in this report tie into overall negotiations on the MFF. I have reservations about this particular use of the flexibility instrument; however I am glad that we have been able to secure approval on the overall MFF here this week.


Mobilisation of the Flexibility Instrument to complement the financing in the general budget of the EU for 2013 towards the financing of the European Social Fund to increase allocations to France, Italy and Spain


Again, this proposal ties in to the wider deal struck on the MFF. As it has been adopted here today, it will now see the Flexibility Instrument mobilised to contribute towards the financing of the increase in European Social Fund allocations to France, Italy and Spain.


Mobilisation of the Flexibility Instrument - financing of the Cypriot Structural Funds programmes


I voted against this proposal to mobilise the flexibility instrument to provide for additional financing of the Cypriot structural funds programme, because I feel that this measure could have been better financed through redeployments and reallocations within the budget.

Join Our Mailing List Get in Touch
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')

Contact Us
Dr Kay Swinburne MEP
Rhumney House
Copse Walk
Cardiff Gate Business Park
CF23 8RB

Tel: 029 2054 0895

National Political Party: Conservative Party
European Group: European Conservatives and Reformists Group (ECR)

European Conservative and Conformist Group
© Copyright Kay Swinburne 2013 | All rights reserved. | Photographs of the Parliament supplied by Adam Issacs.

Website design in Cardiff by Designer Websites Ltd