Welsh Conservatives in the European Parliament
Dr Kay Swinburne MEP

Swinburne: Derivatives vote was for democracy and accountability, Strasbourg, 05.02.13

A leading Conservative MEP on the European Parliament's Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee today expressed her satisfaction after the committee accepted her recommendations to reject potentially damaging proposals for regulating so-called over-the-counter derivatives trading.

Kay Swinburne, Conservative MEP for Wales, said the vote had "drawn a line in the sand" by preventing a regulators body from extending their reach into areas which should be the domain of democratic and political decision-making.

In a narrow vote late on Monday, the committee decided by 24 to 20 to reject some of the rules drafted by the European Securities and Markets Authority (Esma).

These delegated acts had been prepared under the European Markets Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR) which governs the trading of derivatives. Under the regulation derivatives must normally be traded through a central counterparty in order to safeguard against systemic risk. However it was agreed during the passage of EMIR, in the level 1 text, that an exemption should be made for non-financial companies which trade in derivatives so as to hedge against circumstances such as oil price rises and currency fluctuations.

Dr Swinburne and rapporteur Werner Langen MEP both believe that the delegated acts do not adequately reflect the EMIR regulations requirement to allow non financial companies to make OTC derivative transactions without being subject to central clearing obligations and so tabled the successful resolution rejecting the problematic measures.

Both were concerned when the European Commission recently published several draft regulatory technical standards (RTS) without consulting the Parliament's negotiating team, which had previously raised concerns about the interpretation of the text and blatant disregard for earlier agreements.

In the most stark example, ESMA chose to calculate thresholds for corporate exemptions by basing them on gross figures instead of assessing the overall net position of a non-financial company as detailed in the legislation. This directly contravened the Parliament's objective that non-financial entities should be treated differently from financial entities - something which was consistently stated throughout the original agreed text.

Now the committee decision will be followed by a plenary vote of the full Parliament on Thursday.

Dr Swinburne, Conservative spokesman on Economic and Monetary Affairs, said: "The intention was always clear - companies hedging their business risk should not be subject to the same application of certain aspects of the rules as the banks and financial players."

Speaking after committee vote to reject two of the RTS on the basis they do not conform to the level 1 text, she said: "I don't want to see delays in the EU living up to its G20 commitments around central clearing and the reporting of derivative trades. There is no reason why this Motion of Resolution has to mean a long delay.

"This could be addressed efficiently in a timely manner, particularly if redrafting is based upon the kind of informal discussion with the Rapporteur and shadows that existed with the Commission under the old commitology procedures."

"Respecting the democratic process of scrutiny does not need to delay the legislation by many months; but failing to get this right would set an unwelcome precedent for the co-legislative text to be ignored."

" I hope that the whole Parliament will now vote to reject the regulatory technical standards, as currently drafted by ESMA and endorsed by the Commission, which are clearly in contradiction to the level 1 text.

"ESMA does not, and should not, have the power to make political decisions; that is our role and our responsibility. That is why we have drawn a line in the sand."

"Ignoring these changes to level 1 text could potentially carve the way to creating a European version of the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission and its style of rule-making, which is unaccountable and decided by unelected technicians. That is hardly the model we in European markets should be aspiring to.

"Establishing the European Supervisory Authorities to ensure a single rule book for financial services across the EU was an important step, but we should ensure that our right to scrutinise the resulting Rule Book is not diminished."

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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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