Latest News

EU-flags-flying-700x410.jpg

With the UK Tory government in chaos, Europe’s socialist parties and leaders are getting on with the business of governing and campaigning for real change that will improve citizens’ lives, not imperil them as Brexit will do, writes Richard Corbett MEP, Labour’s Leader in the European Parliament

While the UK is paralysed by Brexit, epitomised by Theresa May’s pulling of the meaningful vote on her Brexit deal, socialist parties and governments across the EU and within the European Parliament are looking ahead to the European elections with policies that will tackle many of the concerns of people who voted for it.

Fighting tax avoidance; combating climate change; enhancing workers’ rights... from jobs and rights to trade and the economy, from climate change and environment to taxation and security, leaders from Europe’s socialist parties, including prime ministers and party leaders, met this weekend to agree the campaign priorities for the European elections - and unlike in the UK, they’re not obsessed by Brexit.

Jeremy Corbyn, myself and other Labour representatives joined our socialist colleagues at the Party of European Socialists Congress in Lisbon this weekend to discuss the issues people care about, especially issues that can only be tackled effectively with cross-border cooperative action.

And we also clarified that Socialist priorities at national level are compatible with EU membership and single market rules. The Portugese socialists and prime minister António Costa, praised by Jeremy in his speech for starting “to turn the tide of failed austerity economics”, offer the ultimate proof that anti-austerity economic policy is perfectly possible as an EU member state.

Across Europe, there is of course concern over Brexit, fears over what it means for the rest of the EU and a desire for it not to happen, but for our colleagues their priority is to look to the future and next May’s elections, coming up with answers that will solve the social and economic problems facing their citizens, not exacerbate them as Brexit will do.

Indeed, while all eyes will understandably be on the chaos and confusion at Westminster and on Brussels for the EU’s reaction, this coming week in the European Parliament in Strasbourg offers a snapshot of what we and our socialist colleagues are working on, with progressive legislation that will benefit the many set to receive the backing of MEPs, including:

  • Protecting workers exposed to dangerous substances at work: MEPs are set to back new laws that will protect workers from work-related cancer, including exposure to diesel exhaust. The new restrictions will offer greater protection to more than 20 million workers in the EU, particularly those working in the automotive and construction industries.
  • Clamping down on tax avoidance by tech giants: MEPs are set to back EU proposals to reform corporate tax systems to ensure multinational companies are taxed where they make their money, and not simply at a notional headquarters located in a tax haven. International behemoths like Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon must pay their fair share of taxes, and not continue to be able to get away with being severely under-taxed.
  • Food safety: MEPs are set to back new to laws to require the early disclosure of information in the risk assessment process in the food chain, ensuring the highest level of protection for consumers. We need a robust system in which fraud is easily detected and corrected - as recent EU laws on food labelling, laws proposed and driven through Parliament by a Labour MEP, have done, ensuring no repeat of the horsemeat scandal.
  • Aviation safety: The European Parliament is set to vote for a report by a Labour MEP backing enhanced safety measures in the US-EU agreement on cooperation in the regulation of civil aviation safety; while the UK faces the potential no-deal Brexit chaos of having to scramble together new treaties on aviation to ensure flights are not grounded and aircraft are safe, the EU is enhancing safety, to the benefit of millions of air passengers.

As can be seen, the policies being voted on in the next week alone will enhance worker and consumer rights, protect jobs and grow the economy, and make the economies of Europe fairer by clamping down on corporate tax dodging. Policies that our socialist colleagues will seek to build on in the future – policies which really do address some of the concerns of those who voted for Brexit – policies working people in the UK risk missing out on.

And as Frans Timmermans, our socialist candidate for European Commission President, told the PES conference in Lisbon at the weekend, since the referendum “the EU has changed”, with those currently advocating Brexit, especially those on the left, needing to answer the question: “Can you achieve what you want more easily as a member of the EU family or on your own?”

While UK is beset by Tory Brexit chaos, socialists in rest of EU shape the future

With the UK Tory government in chaos, Europe’s socialist parties and leaders are getting on with the business of governing and campaigning for real change that will improve citizens’ lives,...

Read more

Hungary-Central-European-University-protest.jpg

Tory MEPs have once again voted in support of Hungarian hardliner Viktor Orbán, opposing Labour amendments calling for the EU to act to ensure academic freedom in Hungary.

Wajid Khan MEP, author of the European Parliament report on academic freedom in the EU’s external action, which was passed today, said:

“At this point, I am no longer surprised by the Tories’ nefarious actions in the European Parliament. The Hungarian government is being transformed into a tyrannical, Islamophobic, anti-Semitic regime that is persecuting religious minorities, closing media outlets and waging a war against academic freedom - and the Tories seem happy to support them.

“Hungary is in the process of trying to close an academically rigorous, widely respected university, the Central European University - it is despicable that the Tories are not backing us in opposing this grotesque attack on freedom of speech, conscience and thought.

“We are delighted the report passed, in spite of the Tories. The European Parliament is placing academic freedom clearly on the EU’s policy agenda.”

Clare Moody MEP, author of the amendments calling for action in defence of academic freedom in Hungary, added:

“Once again, the Tories have backed Orbán rather than condemn his attacks on academic freedom. Forcing the Central European University to close in Hungary and move to Austria is an outrageous attack on academic freedom and free speech inside Europe.

“These attacks on our shared values should be opposed and not supported as the Tories are doing yet again. It is deeply worrying for the future that the Tories are choosing to ignore the lessons of history.”

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Notes to Editors:

  1. Tory MEPs vote against action for Hungary’s persistent and blatant breaches of EU values: http://www.eurolabour.org.uk/hungary-viktor-orban-theresa-may-eu-fundamental-rights-infringement-proceedings

Tory MEPs vote against academic freedom for all in EU, once more backing Hungarian hardliner Orbán

Tory MEPs have once again voted in support of Hungarian hardliner Viktor Orbán, opposing Labour amendments calling for the EU to act to ensure academic freedom in Hungary.

Read more

Southern-Rail-delayed-trains-700x410.jpg

Tory MEPs have voted against proposed new EU laws aiming to ensure that millions more rail users get greater rights, including commuters who use suburban and regional trains and passengers who rely on connecting services.

Lucy Anderson MEP, Labour’s European Parliament spokesperson on transport, said:

“From Chris Grayling to their MEPs, the Tories have this week once again shown they are on the side of the likes of SouthWest Trains, Virgin and Southern Rail, companies that make millions from commuters, and against the millions who use their services, who suffer daily from overcrowding, delays and cancellations.

“In opposing these new proposals, the Tories have once more shown themselves to be on the side of the few, not the many.”

Lucy Anderson MEP added:

“Labour MEPs and the European Parliament as a whole have voted to strengthen these proposed new laws. Under the European Parliament's version, passengers on suburban and regional services, as well as those travelling internationally or inter-city, would be entitled to compensation for serious delays or cancellations – and rail companies would not be permitted to deny compensation for reasons such as bad weather.

“Passengers who miss connections through no fault of their own would also now have the right to be transferred to the next available service, even if they booked the tickets separately and with different operators. The improved rights would ensure millions of passengers are not left stranded or have to fork out hundreds of pounds for new tickets.

“It is vital the UK does not water down passengers' rights if we leave the EU – in Britain, rail passengers have suffered for years from poor services and mistreatment and deserve greater protection, and unlike the Tories, Labour will fight to ensure they get it.”

The proposals now go forward for further negotiations with the Commission and national governments.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Tory MEPs vote against more rights for millions of rail users, including commuters and passengers relying on connecting services

Tory MEPs have voted against proposed new EU laws aiming to ensure that millions more rail users get greater rights, including commuters who use suburban and regional trains and passengers...

Read more

More Stories >

As with most websites, we will place cookies on your computer to help make your visit to this site better.

Use of this site confirms your acceptance of these cookies.