Welsh Conservatives in the European Parliament
Dr Kay Swinburne MEP

Explanation of votes in European Parliament, Brussels, 02.02.12

EU foreign policy towards the BRICS and other emerging powers
The report on the EU’s foreign policy towards the Brazil, Russia, Indian and China (the BRICS) and other emerging powers, including Turkey, Indonesia and Mexico, rightly acknowledges the increasing role these countries play in foreign policy and the increasing contribution to the global economy. We have also seen an increased participation and cooperation of policies of the BRICS and emerging powers on an international level. We can now see the development of a multi-polar system where economic and political power is distributed between a number of blocs.
It is for this reason I support the report’s proposal for the development of a coherent EU approach to treat the BRICS as a single bloc and to also seek to establish partnerships with each of the countries in the bloc, which will prove to be invaluable when responding to global challenges such as climate change or terrorism and of course the financial crisis.
Consistent policy towards regimes against which the EU applies restrictive measures
I welcome the report on a consistent policy towards regimes against which the EU applies restrictive measures. If the EU and not national governments are best to lead on an issue then consistency should be paramount. The recommendations that the report puts forward to the Council for when the EU needs to place sanctions on these regimes seems to be balanced. It is important, however, that the EU should develop clearer definitions of the sanction’s criteria which should also be in line with the EU’s strategy on human rights.
It is equally necessary to gain support for the EU’s sanction policy from our international partners when they have been applied to third countries, which would only strengthen the impact of the policy. Clearly sanctions need to be coupled with diplomacy, which is often the preferred method of responding to authoritarian regimes by the majority of Member States and should be respected at the preferred collective tool.
Cross-border transfer of company seats
I welcome the report on cross-border transfer of company seats as there are clear economic benefits for businesses as a result. As a consequence, businesses would be able to relocate with ease, thus saving them the much needed time and money. I strongly believe that cross-border company migration is one of the fundamental parts in ensuring the completion of the internal market and so a more coherent EU-wide policy on the procedures will be welcomed by businesses across the EU. This is particularly pertinent when one of the main complaints I hear from businesses which prevents them from migrating to other parts of the EU concerns the high level of administrative burdens they have to face. It is for these reasons that I am happy to support this report.
Budgetary control of EU humanitarian aid managed by ECHO
The report on the budgetary control of EU humanitarian aid takes on board the criticisms of the European Court of Auditors in that it recognises the instances in which accountability and transparency of the monitoring systems and internal audit procedures could be significantly improved. It also looks at the how EU funds are used and managed by partner organisations, such as NGOs and UN agencies, and places greater emphasis on measuring results against initial indicators when evaluating.
The report proposes various improvements that could be made to the Framework Partnership Agreements (FPAs), notably with the process of selecting partners using best value for money, in addition to the experience and expertise that they can offer. For me, this is an important justification to my Welsh constituents, particularly when a number of Member States are having to implement severe austerity measures and are questioning the value grained by UK contributions to the EU.
Iran and its nuclear programme
I support the motion for resolution concerning Iran and its nuclear programme since Iran has failed to prove that its nuclear programme is a peaceful development. With their lack of cooperation, I have a number of concerns about their nuclear programme and its possible intentions. It is therefore sadly a necessary step to prohibit importation of crude oil from Iran twinned with imposing a number of financial measures against the Central Bank of Iran. The sanctions proposed are therefore a proportionate and reasonable response by the EU at the request of its Member States.

European dimension in sport
The Parliament now has co-decision on sporting matters and I am disappointed with the recommendations made in this report.. As an avid rugby supporter, I can’t help but see this as a missed opportunity for the Parliament. This weekend saw the start of the 6 nations championship where Wales will play proudly their national sport The report should have focused on the positive contribution that sports can have on both participants and supporters, in terms of instilling values of respect, fair play and social inclusion, and should have focused on how the EU could help the development of grassroots sports.
It instead concentrates on how the EU can take advantage of the increasing popularity of professional sport including how to develop a new database to share information on hooligans which effectively duplicates the work already being conducted by Europol. The report proposes that all agents representing European sportsmen to have their fiscal residence in the EU, this clearly does not serve to promote sport across the EU but perhaps quite the opposite.
Application of waste management directive
Today’s vote was undemocratic when smaller groups request roll call votes it is because they need to register agreement or otherwise with specific parts of a report. That right was sadly denied to us by the President today. This report highlights that despite this Directive on Waste Management being adopted, it has still not being uniformly implemented across the EU Member States. This is reinforced by the sheer number of petitions and letters received by the Parliament where EU citizens, including a number of my Welsh constituents who have expressed their concerns about potential breaches of a number of such EU Directives.
It is very disappointing to learn that a number of illegal landfills still remain across the EU, which is in clear breach of EU legislation. I am therefore happy to support the reports recommendations that all of these landfills should be safety closed down and by voting in favour today we indicate a move to favouring incineration to landfill, particularly given the technological advances that have been made to reduce the level of emissions emitted from such incinerators. 
Daphne Programme
The Daphne Programme hopes to make contribution to assisting women who have been victims of domestic violence. It is only right that the Commission focuses on strengthening programmes developed in Member States which have had limited participation in this programme to ensure that victims are not being overlooked wherever they may be. I agree that more support is needed in developing programmes to eradicate honour killings, particularly as there have been a number of high profile cases in the UK, indicating that more work needs to be done urgently.
Whilst I have reservations about some of the recommendations made in the report, such as the proposal to allocate funding to candidate countries, I believe that on balance it is something that I can support.
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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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