Welsh Conservatives in the European Parliament
Dr Kay Swinburne MEP

Presentation of Draft Initiative Report on 'Endangered European Languages and Linguistic Diversity in the European Union', 23.04.13

•        Dr Swinburne apologises to the Rapporteur and colleagues that she is unable to attend today's committee in person to hear the presentation of Mr Alfonsi's Draft Report on Endangered European Languages and Linguistic Diversity in the EU, but unfortunately she is required for trilogues on an ECON committee file, for which she is also a Shadow Rapporteur.
•        However, she was very pleased to read Mr Alfonsi's report which she believes raises a number of key points which we must look to address if we are to fulfil our responsibility to support endangered languages and encourage linguistic diversity to flourish across Member States.
•        The European Parliament has played a positive role in supporting linguistic diversity in the past, but as this report acknowledges a renewed effort, which pays special attention to those European languages that are in danger of dying out, is now needed.
•        We have heard some very worrying statistics in our previous exchanges of views about the alarming rate at which languages across Europe are becoming endangered. Even in Dr Swinburne's own home country of Wales, where Welsh continues to be spoken proudly, the recently published results from the 2011 census did show a disappointing decline in the number of people in Wales able to speak Welsh, especially in the rural heartlands.
•        Whilst Dr Swinburne is aware that this report is focusing only on endangered languages, she feels strongly that the Welsh language still remains a vital example of a language that has gone from being considered as endangered and has managed to engineer a revitalisation of its presence in everyday lives and in communities, so perhaps lessons can be learned from these experiences.
•        Dr Swinburne also welcomes the Rapporteur's inclusion of the media amongst the various fields in which a coordinated schedule of activities for language revitalisation should be based, as advances in digital technology, in particular various forms of social media such as Twitter and Facebook, provide real opportunities for the promotion of endangered languages and Dr Swinburne believes that we should support language communities in their efforts to harness these opportunities.
•        To conclude, Dr Swinburne feels that whilst it is important that we are mindful of costly initiatives, the timely introduction of this report provides us with an excellent opportunity to support concrete actions to encourage the speaking of endangered languages in all aspects of daily life. We must encourage a grassroots approach that doesn't just focus on supporting the learning and speaking of endangered languages in schools, but supports opportunities for both fluent, and very importantly, the not so confident non-fluent speakers, to speak their language in the workplace and also to speak endangered languages in the home, as it is here that the value of such languages can often be transmitted from one generation to another.


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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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