Welsh Conservatives in the European Parliament
Dr Kay Swinburne MEP

New market-manipulation rules help - but are useless without determined application, Strasbourg, 10.09.13

Conservative MEPs today cautiously welcomed a vote by the European Parliament supporting a proposed package of reforms to tackle insider-dealing and abuse of the markets.


But they warned new rules would only work in countering abuse such as the LIBOR scandal if they were backed by a determined and sustained effort from the EU and member states to crack down on rogue traders.


A plenary session of the legislature in Strasbourg voted through proposals for a regulation to introduce new rules on abuse, and to update existing ones.


Drawn up during three-way talks between representatives of the Parliament, EU Commission and EU Council, the report introduces stronger sanctions for companies breaking the law, including temporary bans and requiring member states to set the maximum level of fines up to a minimum of 15 per cent of turnover. In the most serious cases traders and firms could be banned from the markets.


To address the weaknesses revealed by benchmark manipulation scandals, including those involving LIBOR (London Inter-Bank Offered Rate), the transmission of false or misleading information will be made illegal.


Kay Swinburne, Conservative negotiator on the proposal, said: "I am wary of those who think the vote on this regulation is the end of the story.


"The original Market Abuse Directive has been in place for the entire financial crisis and during the many scandals of LIBOR and product mis-selling that we have seen across the EU in recent years.


"Having rules is not good enough. It has to be about effective supervision and enforcement, including prosecution."


The Conservative MEP for Wales said national authorities "on the ground" must make clear that abusive practices would not be tolerated. Fines needed to be set high enough to be a genuine deterrent.


And she cautioned: "Personally I am disappointed that we have not sought more punitive fines for market abuse across the European financial markets and it is difficult to see how the European banks found guilty of market manipulation by US authorities, who were fined amounts ranging from a hundred to a billion dollars, could be similarly fined under these new rules.


"It is time the EU as a whole enforced our market abuse legislation firmly and successfully prosecuted offending institutions and individuals."


She hoped Britain and others would use the discretion allowed by the legislation, and said: "They should go further to make certain crime does not pay with punitive fines and, where necessary, criminal sanctions. High profile prosecutions will prove a valuable deterrent."


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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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