Monday 26th October 2015
The week started with a debate on ‘mandatory, automatic exchange of information in the field of taxation’. Two further debates followed on the ‘EU-Switzerland agreement on the automatic exchange of financial account information’, and ‘taxation of savings in the form of interest payments: repealing the Savings Directive’.
Whatever David Cameron saying about taxation law being a ‘red-line’ of legislation that he will not allow the EU to cross, it nevertheless already has Directives in this area and intends to make further inroads in into the realm of taxation. The long-term (not so long in fact) goal of the EU and the German and French governments is to bring about full economic and financial integration, and this will mean common tax and spend policies.
Tuesday 27 th October 2015
The high spot of the day (if it can be called that) was President of the Commission Jean-Claude Juncker addressed the Parliament on the ‘Conclusions of the European Council meeting of the 15th October’.
Mr Juncker spoke about the worsening migrant crisis and said that the budget to deal with this was ‘not enough’ and they ‘need more money’. He said that the €10 billion being made available over the next two years was not enough. He wants to ‘engage’ with Turkey to ensure that no more migrants come from there, and that he has to speak to Turkey about its accession to the EU.
Going forward he wants to focus on creating a common border and coastguard agency, and on ‘deepening economic and monetary union, as outlined in the Five Presidents Report’.
Mr Juncker’s speech was followed by contributions from the leaders of the various Parliamentary Groups. They all spoke of yet more EU power needed to address the very problems that the EU has created in the first place.
In his speech UKIP Leader Nigel Farage mentioned the current political crisis in Portugal. He described how a majority of left-wing anti-austerity MPs were being prevent from forming a coalition government by the President because their policies would contrary to EU policies. Nigel likened this to the Brezhnev Doctrine of the old Soviet Union.
A lady MEP challenged him on this by means of waving her ‘Blue Card’ to question him. Nigel quoted the doctrine word for word. In essence it called for the use of Warsaw Pact forces to intervene in any Eastern Bloc nation which was seen to compromise Communist rule and Soviet domination, either by trying to leave the Soviet sphere of influence or even moderate its policies. It was the ideological justification for the crushing of opposition in Czechoslovakia in 1968.
The EU has interfered in the democratically elected governments of Italy and Greece in recent months and years when they threaten to deviate from the path of austerity in order to prop up the euro. They don’t use tanks to enforce their will like the Soviet Union but rather the might of the banks and ‘bail-out’ packages.
Wednesday 28th October 2015
Today we had a mammoth two and half-our voting session, which mainly concerned the EU budget. UKIP MEPs also oppose spending or vote to reduce spending where possible.
There were literally hundreds of individual votes, but one worth mentioning was an amendment on the Deprez Report on the Budget for 2016. Amendment 22 “Reiterates that CAP (Common Agricultural Policy) appropriations or any other appropriates from the budget should not be used for the financing of bullfighting activities”. I have had many emails from my constituents on this subject asking me to vote for this amendment, and I was pleased to do exactly that!
Some of the other legislation and non-legislative reports that we voted on – and which I opposed were as follows:
- Increasing the number of judges in the European Court of Justice
- The use of genetically modified food
- Legislation on ’Novel Foods’
- Emissions of certain atmospheric pollutants
- European Citizens Initiative
- Reform of electoral law in the EU
to name just a few. The legislation on the Emissions of certain atmospheric pollutants caused some amusement in the chamber as the original wording required an unqualified minimum limit on a member state’s emissions of methane gas. It was pointed out that a great source of methane is the passing of wind by herds of cows. An oral amendment was quickly agreed to include the wording ‘except emissions of enteric methane produced by ruminant livestock’. A good laugh was had by all – except that is by a Green MEP who could not see the funny side.