Welsh Conservatives in the European Parliament
Dr Kay Swinburne MEP

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Save the Bee
Across the European Union bees are in trouble. Welsh bee populations alone are disappearing at an estimated rate of 39% a year – with one in three colonies wiped out in the last three years. Researchers say there is no single cause of the decline but loss of habitat, chemical exposure and disease have all been blamed.

What is very clear is the catastrophic effect this will have on Europe’s food security. The European Honeybee pollinates over 90 crops – from fruits and vegetables to nuts and grains. It is imperative we act to halt this decline as the loss of this vital link in the food chain presents a huge threat to Britain’s agricultural industry. Without a plan for bees, we have no plan B.

If you want to know more about keeping bees then please contact the Welsh Beekeepers Association at www.wbka.com

The EU is currently funding new research into protecting bees: http://ec.europa.eu/food/animal/liveanimals/bees/research_en.htm  

Recently, I launched my ‘Save the Bee’ campaign at the Royal Welsh Show to increase public awareness of this terrible situation. Over the summer months I also attended many of the agricultural shows across Wales where it was encouraging to meet so many people who wanted to engage and get involved on this issue. Welsh beekeepers were pleased to see that people were being made aware of this issue and the level of support for their plight was extremely high.
 
We need to remember, this is a Europe-wide problem; we need to further increase funding into research and try to co-ordinate the ongoing research from individual EU countries at EU level so a real difference can be made. It is on issues such as this where Europe as a collective is better placed to act than individual countries. Bees, after all, do not acknowledge borders.

Honeybee health and the challenges for the beekeeping sector 
  
In response to the number of constituent queries I have received regarding the alternative motion for resolution on honeybee health,  proposed by Jill Evans MEP from the Green group, I would like to clarify why I voted against it during the November Plenary session and in favour of the Tabajdi report as drafted.
 
We are all aware the honeybee population has seen a stark decline these past few years which subsequently could have a devastating effect on Europe’s ability to produce crops that require pollination. A number of factors have been attributed to this decline, and Welsh beekeepers, although they are increasing in number, are concerned about their bee population’s long-term survival. Such is the revival of beekeeping in the UK , however, even the London Stock Exchange now boasts beehives on its London city roof.
 
The Tabajdi own initiative report offers a balanced view of reasons for honeybee mortality, and rightly calls for more research funding to be made available from the FP8 programme to focus on bee disease prevention and to find possible solutions to their declining numbers. I therefore hope researchers look globally for case studies and do not begin from a prejudiced viewpoint with regards to certain pesticides and genetic technology. Independent research needs to be just that. Independent and without bias. Current evidence is not conclusive with regards to reasons for recent mortality.  
 
Welcome research into honeybee mortality, 21.05.12
Welsh Conservative MEP, Kay Swinburne, welcomed the announcement of a new and comprehensive programme of research into the worrying decline of honeybee numbers across Europe.


Over the past few months, Kay has taken a close interest in the crisis affecting the Welsh honeybee population. Last summer, Kay launched a ‘Save the Bee’ campaign at the Royal Welsh Show to raise awareness of the sharp decline in the honeybee population and the important role they play in pollinating crops. She subsequently supported calls for EU funding to be allocated for a study into the decrease in the numbers of honeybees across Europe.


The European Commission has recently announced its plans to fund a project worth €3.2 million to support 17 European countries, including the UK, in carrying out surveillance studies to gather further information on honeybee colony losses. The aim of this year-long project will be to close the knowledge gap and gain a better understanding of the problem across Europe, as well as to explain the reason for the increase in honeybee mortality.


Kay said:


"I am delighted about this announcement and the fact that the Commission has listened to the concerns of my constituents. Not many people know that honeybees are responsible for pollinating around 90% of crops and so the continued decline in their numbers will have a disastrous effect on allowing our farmers to continue to produce food in Wales. I have always maintained that this is a Europe-wide problem and it is only sensible that research is co-ordinated at EU level so that a common solution can be found.


"Honeybees across Europe are continually threatened by pests and diseases, the causes of which are not fully understood. The Welsh honeybee population has been estimated to have decreased at a rate of 39% a year and many Welsh beekeepers have experienced the complete destruction of their hives from such diseases.


"However, I would stress that the research that is carried out is independent, free from bias and looks to global case studies when investigating how to help ensure their long-term survival. I believe this funding of research will be instrumental in providing us with the much needed answers as to why their numbers are dwindling so rapidly."
 
Tell us your red-tape problems
 

Local MEP Kay Swinburne is putting herself forward as an agony aunt for small business who find themselves fuming over red tape.

Kay is calling on entrepreneurs and leaders of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Wales to contact her with their chief concerns over burdensome rules and regulations - particularly those emanating from Brussels.
 
She has written to trade organisations and companies across the country asking them to take part in a Europe-wide survey to take stock of the legislation that creates the biggest headaches for business.
 
The move follows an initiative by the European Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship, Antonio Tajani, who says he wants to discover the 10 most-restrictive pieces of legislation for SMEs on the EU's statute books. He has launched a consultation which will last until December 21, when the Commission will analyse the results and assess what should be done to help small businesses.
 
Kay is asking business to write to her so that she can be aware of their concerns before forwarding the information to the Commission in Brussels.
 
"She said: "I want business people to really get things off their chest - tell me all their biggest bug-bears. Instead of just grumbling to themselves about the problems red tape cause them, they should tell me all about it - and I will tell Brussels.
 
"At the same time I can hopefully build up an invaluable picture of the mood of business in the region and the challenges people face."
 
She said: "The Commission is saying it wants to know the problems of small business. It says it aims to cut red tape but wants guidance about which bits to tackle.
 
"Let's hold them to their word and make sure we tell it like it is."
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13/11/2014



Kay was delighted to help launch a European Parliamentary Interest Group on Innovation in Health and Social Care this week. This Interest Group is led by Health First Europe and with Kay’s support as one of the Co-Chairs will aim to facilitate greater focus on improving patient access to innovation in health and social care and to address key policy objectives around research, health promotion and public health at EU level.


Ensuring that public health is a Parliamentary priority in the next term, the Interest Group will focus its activities on prioritising innovation on the EU health and social care agenda, raising awareness of patient-centric solutions for sustainable, accessible and resilient health systems, and seeking broad support from MEPs for implementing innovative solutions for patients and healthcare professionals.


The Interest Group was launched on the occasion of the 10th Anniversary of Health First Europe, bringing together officials from the European Institutions and health stakeholders to celebrate the past work of the association on a variety of key health issues.  The first meeting of the Interest Group will take place in 2015.

13/11/2014



Kay was really pleased to welcome representatives from Swansea Conservative Future to the European Parliament, so that they could hear more about her work as an MEP and view this month’s mini-plenary session first-hand!

11/11/2014



Kay was delighted to welcome a group of 12 constituents from Porthcawl to the European Parliament to discuss how European Union funding can be better used going forwards
to help grow businesses in Wales.

24/09/2014



I was delighted to meet with members of British Council Wales to discuss the ways in which they promote Wales on an international stage.  We covered a wide range of issues including the Erasmus Plus programme, how efforts may be coordinated to showcase Wales globally and how to actively involve and educate Welsh schools as to what goes on in the European Parliament.

23/09/2014 Today Kay will be meeting with NFU Cymru President Stephen James and NFU Cymru Director John Mercer. Kay will have the opportunity to discuss the key current issues facing farmers, mainly being: The new CAP rules set to be implemented in just over three months and the new Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development who will be questioned on Thursday 2nd October on what he intends to achieve if his position is confirmed.
24/04/2014


Welsh Conservative MEP Dr Kay Swinburne met local fishermen to discuss support for those unable to put to sea because of the severe winter storms.

Dr Swinburne was in Tenby for a meeting with the New Under Ten Fishermen's Association, which represents those operating in boats under 10m in length.

Inshore fleets in Wales have been particularly badly affected this winter as storms have prevented them from going to sea.

Fishermen have faced the choice of risking their lives at sea or not having enough money to pay their bills and feed their families. It was only by mid-February that fishermen were able to return to the sea after almost two months of inactivity.

Following pressure from Conservatives in the European Parliament, the European Commission revealed that support can be provided via EU schemes such as the European Fisheries Fund... (Read more under 'Articles')

03/04/2014



Conservatives rallied sufficient support during a full plenary session in Brussels to overturn an earlier decision by the Environment Committee under which the EU would have attempted to force non-European airlines to pay a carbon levy every time they flew in or out of the EU. This would have provoked retaliation which could have severely damaged the UK's aerospace sector.

 

During the vote Plaid MEP Jill Evans joined Green colleagues in rejecting proposals to continue exempting non-European airlines from its Emissions Trading Scheme... (Read more under 'Articles')

26/03/2014



Dr Kay Swinburne, Conservative MEP for Wales, has today become a Freeman of the City of London.

Dr Swinburne collected her Freedom of the City in a ceremony that took place today at London's Guildhall, in recognition of her work throughout this mandate as a Member of the European Parliament, particularly during her period as Co-ordinator on Economic and Monetary Affairs for the European Conservatives and Reformists Group.

The granting of the Freedom of the City of London is one of the oldest traditional ceremonies still in existence today...(Read more under 'Articles')

17/03/2014



Dr Kay Swinburne MEP was delighted to welcome the Gwent Magistrates to the European Parliament in Brussels this week. The group, led by Revis Williams, enjoyed an informative talk about the workings and the history of the European institutions, followed by a visit of the main Parliament buildings.

 

The group also listened to the European Parliament's Constitutional Affairs Committee, and watched a televised briefing by UK Government Minister of State for Europe, David Lidington MP.

 

Speaking of the Gwent Magistrates' visit to the European Parliament, Dr Swinburne remarked:

 

"The opportunity to welcome Welsh constituents to the European Parliament, whether it be in Brussels or Strasbourg, is always an occasion which I look forward to. It was a pleasure to meet the Gwent Magistrates this week, and I look forward to hearing from them in the near future."

14/03/2014  

The Ministry of Defence has confirmed that the Royal Air Force is reforming an auxiliary squadron in Wales, 57 years after its disbandment. The announcement follows a series of proposals outlined in the independent review of the UK's reserve forces, part of the overall strategic defence and security review in 2010.

 

The newly reformed squadron’s commanding officer, Wing Commander Phil Sagar, said:

 

“As reserves play a bigger part in the UK’s military strategy, the reforming of 614 Squadron will provide an exciting and challenging opportunity for people in Wales to be part of the future of their Royal Air Force."

 

Efforts to re-launch 614 Squadron of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force is now nearing completion, with an emphasis to start recruiting personnel to man the squadron in the near future.

 

Upon learning of the announcement, Dr Swinburne MEP commented:

 

"I am delighted to hear of the Ministry of Defence's decision to reform 614 Squadron in Wales, especially considering the UK's reserve forces play such a crucial role in the nation's defence capabilities.

 

"The opportunities to develop skills in the Royal Auxiliary Air Force squadron are endless, and provide for an excellent opportunity for those who are interested to train with likeminded driven, and professional individuals.

 

"I wish Wing Commander Sagar the best in the recruitment process for the squadron, and look forward to hearing of its successes in the weeks and months to come."

 

If you are interested in joining the reserve forces, find out how you can get involved at:  https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/ministry-of-defence/about/recruitment#join-the-reserves
26/02/2014



Conservatives in the European Parliament have contacted the European Commission seeking information about EU funds for those facing financial losses because of the storms.

 

Inshore fleets, including those in Wales and southern England, have been particularly badly affected this winter as storms have prevented them from going to sea.

 

According to Dr Swinburne fishermen have faced the choice of risking their lives at sea or not having enough money to pay their bills and feed their families. Fishermen were finally able to return to the sea only last weekend after almost two months of inactivity.

 

Following pressure from Conservative MEPs, the European Commission has revealed that support can be provided via EU schemes such as the European Fisheries Fund...(Read more under 'Articles')

25/02/2014


 

In advance of tomorrow's European Parliament vote on the Tobacco Products Directive UK Conservative MEPs gather to show that they are 'still fuming' about EU proposals to over-regulate e-cigarettes. Many of the companies currently supplying Welsh constituents with these less harmful alternatives to tobacco products are small Welsh businesses. As the proposal currently stands it would be draconian and likely to result in the e-cigarette business being moved to the pharmaceutical companies and tobacco companies themselves. Another unintended consequence would also be that the sponsorship of the Merthyr stadium by Welsh Company, E-ciggs would also be unlikely to be allowed if these measures are adopted unchanged.

25/02/2014

Dr Kay Swinburne, Conservative MEP for Wales, will join representatives of UK thalidomide survivors today to meet with Health Commissioner, Tonio Borg, in Strasbourg.

These representatives have campaigned tirelessly for proper compensation for thalidomide survivors, from the German manufacturer of the drug, Grunenthal.

Speaking in advance of today's meeting Dr Swinburne MEP said:

"I am very pleased to have the opportunity to join the representatives at this crucial meeting today."

"Proper compensation from Grunenthal for thalidomide survivors is long over-due, but these representatives have refused to give up, campaigning continually for justice."

"I have already written to Commissioner Borg stating my support for their campaign and I really hope that together we will be able to secure the help of the Commissioner, in brokering a meeting between the representatives of UK thalidomide survivors, the German Government and Grunenthal."

25/02/2014

Wales has already benefitted from £57 million pounds of UK Government investment in the Superfast Cymru project, but today's news that local projects in Wales will receive an additional £12 million of funding, focusing in particular on rural areas, will come as a welcome boost to businesses and families, who are yet to reap the benefits of superfast broadband.


Commenting on the news Dr Swinburne MEP said:


"This is great news for Wales. We are already seeing the value that investment in superfast broadband can bring, but it is vital we ensure that no community in Wales is left behind and this kind of extra funding can help us to achieve this goal and deliver a real boost to our rural economies."


"Superfast broadband can also unlock direct access to EU markets for our Welsh businesses, providing real opportunities for growth and for export."


"This extra funding is a clear signal of the UK Government's commitment to investing in broadband infrastructure for people in Wales and I look forward to seeing this funding aiding the delivery of the new technology to the doorsteps of as many homes and businesses in Wales as soon as possible."




11/02/2014



Dr Kay Swinburne, Conservative MEP for Wales, has today met with European Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs, László Andor, who is currently making a visit to Cardiff. At an event in Ty Hywel, to welcome the Commissioner, she had the opportunity to discuss with him her thoughts on how Wales can ensure it generates the absolute maximum benefit from its new allocation of European Union funding for 2014 – 2020.

During his visit, Commissioner Andor will also be visiting the sites of three European Social Fund projects in Wales, to see how our communities have already been aided by EU funding.

24/01/2014


The plans outlined by the Welsh Government on how Common Agricultural Policy funds will be distributed have confirmed that they will transfer 15% of the CAP Single Farm Payment from Pillar 1 to Pillar 2 (Rural Development Programme).


15% is the maximum amount allowed, when it comes to transferring funds from Pillar 1 to Pillar 2 and it is a bigger chunk of the budget than is planned in England, where the Government will only initially move 12% of the funds available and then gradually increase the amount to 15%. This initial reduction is designed to provide some comfort to farmers who are worried that this transfer of funds could leave them disadvantaged.

 

Commenting on this decision by the Welsh Government to opt for the maximum 15% transfer Dr Swinburne, Conservative MEP for Wales said:

 

“I am disappointed to see that the Welsh Government have not chosen to offer our farmers the same sliding scale that farmers in England are going to receive. Conservative MEP's fought hard for the flexibility and it is a shame that the Welsh Government are not using it to help Welsh farmers".

 

“In failing to opt for the 12% transfer rate, the Welsh Government has missed a vital opportunity to address some of the understandable concerns our farmers have and to offer Welsh farmers a helping hand in what is a hugely competitive European agricultural market.”

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Dr Kay Swinburne MEP
Rhumney House
Copse Walk
Cardiff Gate Business Park
Cardiff
CF23 8RB

Tel: 029 2054 0895
kayswinburnemep@welshconservatives.com

National Political Party: Conservative Party
European Group: European Conservatives and Reformists Group (ECR)

European Conservative and Conformist Group
© Copyright Kay Swinburne 2015 | All rights reserved. | Photographs of the Parliament supplied by Adam Issacs.
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