Welsh Conservatives in the European Parliament
Dr Kay Swinburne MEP

Explanations of Vote, Strasbourg, 10.09.13

Promoting a European transport-technology strategy for Europe's future sustainable mobility


In all sectors right across the EU, maximising our research and innovation potential, means we can deliver competitive, high-quality and sustainable services, and the transport sector is no exception.


However, the principle of subsidiarity must remain foremost in our consideration of the European Commission's Communication on a European transport-technology strategy, "Research and innovation for Europe's future mobility".


I am concerned that this report points to initiatives which would be best formulated and executed by the Member States themselves. Having witnessed regularly the quality and breadth of research and development taking place just in my own constituency of Wales alone, I remain confident in Member States ability to deliver leading, high-tech mobility options for our constituents.

Therefore I could not support this report as formulated.

Right of access to a lawyer in criminal proceedings and right to communicate upon arrest of access to a lawyer in criminal proceedings and right to communicate upon arrest

I am hugely skeptical about the practical implementation of the European arrest warrant by many member states. Having heard personal stories from my constituents in Wales where the arrest warrant has been used to make them face spurious charges under different legal systems of questionable legitimacy in other parts of Europe, particularly in less regulated sectors such as the construction industry, I have serious concerns.

I see this Directive as a step forwards to ensuring that when the European Arrest Warrant is used, the basic rights of citizens across Europe such as access to a lawyer and the confidentiality of all communication with a lawyer and access to diplomatic authorities are properly upheld.

We cannot create European systems without the necessary protections and safeguards that have been built into national law for centuries.

To make the European Arrest Warrant work in practice we need to learn from the experiences gained across member states to date and ensure that individual countries do not and cannot abuse their privileges.



Credit agreements relating to residential property

I and my colleagues in the UK Conservative delegation have been receiving letters from constituents for literally a decade about their treatment when trying to get mortgages or trying to navigate local rules for property markets in Spain, France and Bulgaria to name but a few of the EU Member states. These cross border purchasers of mortgage products are however the exception - most mortgages are local to the country from which the applicant derives.

Every country in the EU has their own culture with regards to home ownership which should be respected, but consumer protection should be the defining principal when looking at cross border rules and compatibility of national systems.

I congratulate Mr Sanchez-Presedo on his report in this area, although still have concerns with how this directive is likely to be implemented across the EU. I cannot understand why the Council has such a problem with including correlation tables which would provide a record for how they have implemented the directive – a directive that has legal force across the EU and they are all voting to make law.

I’m glad that in future when one of my Welsh constituents has a problem with a property they have bought elsewhere in the EU I can point to this piece of legislation – but I fear that my post bag will not diminish as a result of this directive.

Making the internal energy market work

There is an irony to a British member talking about making the Internal energy market for the EU work, My own Member State has fully embraced its EU partners when it comes to the supply of energy – in my own constituency of Wales , RWE a German company has spent £450 on non-renewable energy generation and a further billion on a state of the art gas powered generation plant in Pembrokeshire. EDF, a French company is one of the largest supplies of electricity to domestic households in the UK and also operate many of the British nuclear power plants.  A new Welsh Nuclear power plant in Anglesey although not developed by an EU firm but a Japanese company is as a result of a competitive tender process, encouraged by EU rules.

Most of the UKs energy network is now operated by non-British firms, yet the full benefits of open competition are not yet being felt by consumers due to protectionist policies in other EU member states that continue to involve heavy state ownership or state subsidies. I hope that this new initiative from the Commission can provide a real roadmap to reducing prices for consumers and bringing down those aspects of fuel prices that are within our control.












Implementation and impact of the energy efficiency measures under the cohesion policy


In what remains a time of economic difficulty across the EU, it is absolutely essential that we ensure that every penny of EU funding is spent in the most cost-effective manner possible.


Strategic use of European structural and investment funds could drive private investment in energy efficiency in Europe and support Member States in their efforts to increase their energy efficiency.


However, the most successful and effective initiatives will, I believe, be those that complement Member States individual efforts to increase energy efficiency, with targeted investments of EU funds that contribute to overall growth and job creation within our regions.

This report does not adequately reflect this need for local leadership and so I abstained on the text as it stands.

More efficient and cost-effective interpretation in the European Parliament

I am hugely supportive of maintaining the diversity of languages within the EU, my own first language, Welsh, has a long history over centuries of not being allowed to be used in public discourse, yet has always managed to survive and in deed is now used with equivalent status to English in the Welsh Assembly.

I am very proud of my language, yet I do not need all of my documents on the economic and monetary affairs committee- many thousands if not hundreds of thousands of pages to be translated into my mother tongue. During committee meetings discussing derivatives, recovery and resolution of market infrastructure, central securities depositories – I am the only person in the room who could discuss it in Welsh – but am also comfortable in English. Any of my constituents who are interested in the issues, and want to read information concerning them in Welsh, simply have to ask – my website is bilingual and all of my personal speeches are translated into Welsh as a matter of course, within the allowances provided for running my office.

This report suggests similar efficiencies where translation is used for members when it is necessary for them to perform their duties, but not to make political points about the use of language.

There are much better ways of supporting multi-lingualism within the EU and protecting endangered or minority languages sited in the report we are voting on tomorrow EU money, be reserved for costs when they are required by a specific member to do their legislative work, not as a matter of course.



Online Gambling

I would like to congratulate my colleague Ashley Fox on his report. Online gambling is a very difficult issue to incorporate into the internal market and I hope his report is a first step towards doing this.

However, in a previous ECON opinion concerning gambling I raised a point that is not covered in this report, concerning the status of spread betting. In different parts of the EU this practice is considered regulated by financial market legislation, in others it is considered part of gambling laws. Whichever is chosen as the correct medium for regulating this area, I am concerned that consumers should be protected in a way that they understand so that companies registered in Cyprus or Gibraltar are operating under the same rules as those registered in Paris or London.

It seems to be a loophole in our investor protection legislation that I would like to see closed.

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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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