Welsh Conservatives in the European Parliament
Dr Kay Swinburne MEP

Explanation of Votes, Strasbourg 22/10/13

                    Tariff quotas for wine


It is right that this proposed regulation has been brought forward to address any disadvantages that Kosovan wine exporters may face when exporting wine to the EU market. Therefore, I voted in favour of this proposal to allocate a specific tariff quota for wine to Kosovo, so that it may build on the ability it has already demonstrated to generate wine exports to the Member States.


·                     European statistics on demography


Comprehensive and reliable data is an important tool in ensuring the formulation of high-quality legislation; and it has an important role to play in decision-making, forecasting and policy analysis too. I can appreciate the benefits of this proposal to establish a common framework for the systematic production of EU statistics on demography and I am pleased to see that this proposal foresees the generation of these statistics without the imposition of any extra burdens on Member States. 


·                     Human rights in the Sahel region


I was pleased to vote in favour of this report drawn up by my Conservative colleague addressing the important issue of human rights in one of the poorest regions of the world, a region which faces real problems relating to security and armed conflict, and economic and social development too. I very much hope that the recommendations outlined in this report will provide support for a coordinated international approach to the challenges that this region is facing.


·                     Rethinking education


There is no doubt that developing the right education systems, that provide our children with the broad skills set they need, holds the key to successfully tackling youth unemployment within the EU. Whilst I recognise the important of reflecting here on what we can do to support the delivery of high quality learning opportunities for all of our young people, I am afraid that I could not support this report today, as I feel that it goes too far in making recommendations to Member States on how this should be achieved. This is something that I believe our own relevant Governments remain best placed to address.



·                     EU pre-accession funds: judicial systems and the fight against corruption


Tackling corruption and strengthening the rule of law should be a key priority for all candidate and potential candidate countries to the EU. I therefore welcome the opportunity that this report provides to analyse how pre-accession funds can better support these goals.


·                     Misleading advertisement practices


One of the things my constituents often write to me about is the financial difficulty they have found themselves in, or the genuine frustration they have felt as consumers, because they have been the victim of a misleading advertising practice or a scam. Often in such cases I have also found that constituents do not know who they can turn to for advice.

It is clear therefore that we need to do more to address the problems these scams cause and to ensure that they do not go unreported. I am therefore very glad to see this issue being considered here in the European Parliament.


·                     Ship recycling


The European Union has taken big steps during this mandate to bring the consideration of our natural environment to the forefront, when it comes to policy making in a number of different areas. I have spoken before in this plenary about the success we have seen in reforming our common fisheries policies for example, so that it will better preserve and protect our marine environments. I was pleased to support this agreement on the ship recycling regulation today,  which again takes note of environmental needs and outlines how going forwards EU ships can be dismantled in a more environmentally sound manner.


·                     Medical devices


This proposal for a regulation on medical devices is a very important one, and one on which we must deliver smart legislation, that reflects the needs of patients across the EU. I hope that following this vote today, negotiations on this proposal with Member State Governments can deliver such proportionate regulation that has patient safety at its core.


·                     In vitro diagnostic medical devices


I fully support these efforts to evaluate here in the European Parliament what we can do to improve patient health and safety, as this goal should be a priority for all MEPs. However I do have reservations with regards to some measures outlined in this proposal, which I am concerned may place obstacles in the way of innovation without the assurances that patient safety will be improved.


·                     Patient safety


We have already considered reports today that address key issues relating to patient safety in the field of medical devices, so it is timely that we also have this opportunity to review from a broader perspective what can be done to improve patient safety within the EU. I am particularly pleased to see that this report is taking the opportunity to tackle the important issues surrounding the off-label use of medicines. Where alternative authorised treatments exist and are available to patients, within the EU, we need to ensure robust guidelines for any off-label usage take into account patient safety above any cost-cutting incentives.


·                     Macro-financial assistance to the Kyrgyz Republic


I support this approval of the Council position on the provision of macro-financial assistance to the Kyrgyz Republic. I hope that this macro-financial assistance instrument along with other measures identified in the current IMF programmes  can prove to be a positive tool in efforts to support economic stabilisation and social development in the Kyrgyz Republic as well as fostering the building of democratic institutions.


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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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