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Gaza-protest

Labour MEPs played a leading role in successful efforts today to win strong, across-the-board parliamentary backing to call for an immediate ceasefire to end the death toll in Gaza.

Labour MEPs played a leading role in successful efforts today to win strong, across-the-board parliamentary backing to call for an immediate ceasefire to end the death toll in Gaza.

Richard Howitt MEP, Labour's European spokesperson on foreign affairs, took part in negotiations for a resolution agreed by the European Parliament condemning the loss of civilian life, backing regional efforts for mediation by Egypt and Jordan, and calling for all sides to respect international humanitarian law.

Mr Howitt, who has visited Gaza three times since Israel closed the borders, was joined by fellow Labour member of the European Parliament's foreign affairs committee, Afzal Khan MEP, and other Labour MEPs to meet protesters from Palestinian and Israeli peace movements ahead of today's vote.

Richard Howitt MEP said:

"The immediate priority must be to end the tragic loss of civilian life, but there can be no long-term answer without peace talks towards the two-state solution.

"This week I've appealed directly to the Israelis to see Palestinian reconciliation as an opportunity not a threat. This could be part of necessary efforts to persuade Hamas, without in any way excusing their actions, that there can be a real alternative to violence.

"Just as the situation deteriorated rapidly from talk about a long-term truce between Israel and Hamas to the appalling violence of today, we have to support hopes that a path to peace can now be restored."

Afzal Khan MEP added:

"We welcome the European Parliament's call for an immediate ceasefire, lifting up the blockade of Gaza, and for all parties to work to achieve a just and a lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians. We urge the EU to have a more active role in achieving this."

Labour MEPs help win call for Gaza ceasefire

Labour MEPs played a leading role in successful efforts today to win strong, across-the-board parliamentary backing to call for an immediate ceasefire to end the death toll in Gaza.

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European-Parliament

Labour MEPs called on David Cameron to learn from his failure to stop Jean-Claude Juncker after MEPs today voted him in as the next European Commission President.

The vote in the European Parliament, in which Labour MEPs voted against Mr Juncker, followed his nomination by the Council of Ministers, with no other candidates put forward in the wake of David Cameron's failure to build a consensus for an alternative.

Glenis Willmott MEP, Labour's Leader in Europe, said:

"The success of Jean-Claude Juncker is another EU humiliation for David Cameron, an abject failure of leadership. His errors of judgement and diplomatic own goals have let Britain down. Over the past few years, instead of building bridges with key European allies, we have seen first-hand how he has been burning them, and has repeatedly put the interests of his own party ahead of the national interest.

"Britain needs to be building alliances to deliver meaningful reform."

On Mr Juncker's record, Glenis Willmott MEP said:

"Labour MEPs have long said we do not support Mr Juncker as a candidate for President of the European Commission. When Mr Juncker was put before the European Parliament today, Labour MEPs voted against his appointment.

"We need a European Commission that will deliver changes and reforms that will boost jobs and economic growth. We need a European Commission that will show leadership on climate change and clamping down on tax avoidance. We need a European Commission that will close the loopholes that have enabled employers to undercut workers' pay and conditions, leading to feelings of insecurity at work.

"Mr Juncker's record shows he not best placed to deliver these changes."

And looking ahead, Glenis Willmott MEP added:

"Now he has been confirmed as President, we need to work with Mr Juncker, and it is vital that Mr Cameron works with him, and has more success with the Commissioner negotiations. The UK needs a Commissioner with a strong portfolio, to drive forward change and ensure Europe works better for Britain."

Cameron urged to learn lessons after MEPs vote in Juncker as Commission President

Labour MEPs called on David Cameron to learn from his failure to stop Jean-Claude Juncker after MEPs today voted him in as the next European Commission President.

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Linda-McAvan-MEP-Dr-Jim-Doyle

Europe's first CCS power station will be built in Britain, the European Commission announced today.

Three hundred million euros will be awarded to the White Rose Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) project at Drax power station in Yorkshire. Once up and running, it will generate enough low carbon electricity to power 630,000 households and is expected to create around 4,000 jobs by 2020.

Labour MEP for Yorkshire and Humber, Linda McAvan, was instrumental in establishing the NER300 fund with cash generated from the sale of carbon permits as part of the EU's flagship Emissions Trading Scheme.

Ninety per cent of the C02 produced by the plant will be captured and pumped along 100 miles of pipeline to be permanently stored beneath the North Sea.

Linda McAvan MEP said:

"Riding high on the back of the 'Grand Depart', Yorkshire has scored yet another European coup.

"I am delighted to see the EU is investing in the White Rose project. As well as the immediate jobs the CCS project would create, the potential to export this technology, once developed, could bring untold economic benefits to Yorkshire and the Humber.

"CCS technology is essential if we hope to meet ambitious climate action targets and reduce the amount of carbon being released into our atmosphere.

"Yorkshire is the UK's most energy intensive region making it ideally suited to the development of CCS with a cluster of large emitters of carbon and plenty of off-shore storage space."

Labour MEP helps UK get EU's first CCS power station

Europe's first CCS power station will be built in Britain, the European Commission announced today.

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