Welsh Conservatives in the European Parliament
Dr Kay Swinburne MEP

Explanation of Votes, Strasbourg, 21.11.13

Horizon 2020 - framework programme for research and innovation (2014-2020)


I am really excited to see Horizon 2020 rolled out next year. This programme is one of the areas of the EU budget where the added value is clear. With its strong focus on supporting scientific excellence and innovative industries, as well as its welcome inclusion of an ‘SME instrument', I am confident that Horizon 2020 will provide real opportunities for our researchers back home and lead the push for growth and job creation via innovation in our Member States.


·         Rules for the participation and dissemination in Horizon 2020


Simplification had to be at the heart of this new single set of rules for Horizon 2020. Instead of placing complicated application processes and heavy administrative burdens in the way of our individual researchers and our small businesses, as we have done with previous EU research programmes, we needed to make it easier for a wide range of stakeholders to take part in Horizon 2020. I welcome the steps this Regulation takes to put in place a more flexible framework for EU research funding going forwards and I do hope that it will mean that more of my constituents in Wales will feel able to apply in 2014.


·         Strategic innovation agenda of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology


I support the goals of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology; however I do have some concerns relating to the institutions budget under the next MFF, in such difficult economic times I do believe that all significant EU budgetary increases must be carefully justified.


·         European Institute of Innovation and Technology


Whilst I am supportive of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology's aims, I believe that as we try to strive for reduced, and smarter, EU spending, any decision to increase budgets (such as the one made in this case) needs to be evidence based and clearly justifiable.


·         Competitiveness of enterprises and small and medium-sized enterprises (2014 - 2020)


I fully support the introduction of this programme to support the competitiveness of our SMEs. COSME has the potential to assist our SMEs in areas in which they often face the biggest uphill struggles, such as gaining access to finance or venturing into overseas markets. One of the things that Conservatives in the European Parliament have been calling on the European Commission to do to help SMEs, is to remove the red-tape that EU legislation places on them. Therefore I am delighted to see the drive to reduce burdens on SMEs included as one of the five indicators for the achievement of this programmes objective.


·         Specific programme implementing Horizon 2020


I support this Regulation and its provisions for the establishment of the European Research Council (ERC). The frontier research that the ERC supports is hugely important and UK universities have already demonstrated huge success in engaging with its programmes.


·         European statistics


This proposal outlines means to address the lack of public confidence in statistical data. It proposes a number of measures to strengthen the quality and independence of statistics.



·         Programme for social change and innovation


This new funding instrument will bring together, within a single framework, three existing EU programmes which support European Union policies in the field of employment and social affairs. I hope that this program will prove to be an effective tool in addressing social and employment challenges.


·         Programme for the environment and climate action (LIFE)


The struggle to meet the environmental challenges of the future is one that is not going to go away and we will have to continue to try to address these challenges. Therefore it is right that amongst the EU’s funding programmes for 2014-2020, there is a dedicated financial instrument for the environment. I can support the overall agreement that has been reached on this LIFE Programme and I voted in favour of its adoption here today.


·         Action programme for taxation


I voted to support this Fiscalis programme which aims to improve cooperation between Member State tax authorities, in order to ensure better application of tax laws and to further the fight against tax fraud and evasion.


·         Action programme for customs


I voted in favour of this report which I hope will strengthen cooperation between Member State authorities within the Customs Union. This proposal also outlines a number of other measures to advance the operation of customs procedures and customs authorities.


·         Insurance and reinsurance (Solvency II)


I voted in favour of extending the deadline for application of the Solvency II rules on insurance, pending the outcome of the negotiations on the Omnibus 2 package. The adoption of this revision today means that the new deadline for implementation will be set to 1 January 2016, more than three years later than was originally intended.


·         State of play of the Doha development agenda

B7-0492/2013, B7-0493/2013, B7-0494/2013

I voted in favour of this Resolution which gives a mandate to the MEP ad-hoc delegation which will represent the European Parliament at the Ninth Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation.


·         Entrepreneurship 2020 action plan - Reigniting the entrepreneurial spirit in Europe


I am supportive of this Resolution's goal to stimulate entrepreneurship, via calls for simplified business start-up procedures and by improving access to finance. I particularly welcome its call for the Commission to follow up on the “Top Ten” consultation on burdensome EU legislation; removing red tape is something Conservative colleagues and I have supported in the Parliament for a long time. However I do have reservations about elements of this Resolution which look to address issues relating to taxation, which are a matter of Member State competence. 


·         Implementation of the Common Security and Defence Policy


This remains a time of economic difficulty and therefore I cannot support duplicative policy exercises put forward in this report which would cause unnecessary increases in EU costs. Rather than pursuing its own new strategies and institutions with the framework of the CSDP, I would like to see the EU focus its attention on strengthening its coordination with NATO.



·         European defence technological and industrial base


Whilst broad cooperation between Member States in Defence Technological and Industrial Base can be supported, I have wider concerns about EU competence creeping into areas which have until now remained the exclusive right of the Member States. Therefore I could not support this report today.



·         Strengthening the social dimension of EMU


I am concerned by this resolutions call for the European Union to score or make comparisons between Member States on areas in which they do not have competence. This is something that I cannot support and therefore I voted against this resolution.

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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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