European Parliament (general)

8 Nov 2011 07:05:00

Martin Callanan MEP's report from the European Parliament

CALLANAN MARTINMartin Callanan is leader of the Tory MEPs.

Last week, the action was all happening in Brussels. Two summits, countless meetings, media galore. The European Parliament, however, was in Strasbourg!

The mood was sombre but strangely detached from the historic events happening 250 miles up the road. Actually, I’m not sure our being in Brussels would make much difference – the current Eurozone crisis is more of an academic discussion in the parliament about whether we need more ‘community method’ rather than the intergovernmental method. One poster I recently saw was advertising a hearing for the Green group, with the title: “Never waste a crisis”!

After the Sunday summit failed to reach agreement on the terms of a new bailout fund, I began to hear something that strangely I’d not heard before: people openly talking about the demise (or at least the reduction in size) of the Eurozone. Of course, they would never dream of saying such things publicly. Heaven forbid that anyone would question the Euro project.

So, with usual arrogance and aloofness, the parliament went about its business. As EU leaders prepared to meet in Brussels, we in Strasbourg voted on the EU’s budget for 2012.

Of course, the parliament – once again – voted for an increase of over five percent. They still really don’t get it.

After last year’s 2.9 percent rise, this is just another slap in the face for the taxpayers in countries who pay the EU’s bills.

Continue reading "Martin Callanan MEP's report from the European Parliament" »

5 Jul 2011 16:34:42

Is the European Parliament more sensible about climate change than the House of Commons?

By Tim Montgomerie
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I ask the question because MEPs have just rejected increasing the EU's emission reduction targets unilaterally from 20% by 2020 to an eyewatering 30% by 2020 (the reduction is from 1990 levels). Votes from Tory MEPs made the difference.

The British Government - like the governments of France and Germany - had supported the commitment to deeper cuts but MEPs from the EPP and our own ECR had opposed unilateral action on the basis that the EU acting alone would mean we would continue to export industrial capacity to developing countries which weren't willing to sign up to such controls.

Callanan Martin June 2011 2 Martin Callanan MEP, leader of Conservative MEPs told ConservativeHome:

"Conservative MEPs voted for a 30% EU target, "provided that conditions are right". We remain opposed to a unilateral EU increase, without other industrial nations, because of the effect on competiveness of UK and EU companies."

That "conditions are right" clause is crucial. Unless China, India and other competitor economies are willing to sign up to verifiable cuts in their own carbon footprints the realists - including our own MEPs and many from, for example, Poland - are not going to handicap European manufacturers.

ConHome's surveys of Tory candidates show that our MPs are probably as sceptical about going alone on climate change as our MEPs but whipped by the Coalition they are under more pressure not to say so.

___

By way of footnote, over at LibDemVoice Chris Davies MEP is complaining that Tory MEPs weren't willing to back the Huhne/Coalition line that unilateral 30% cuts were essential. Mr Davies should reflect on his own support for the end of Britain's EU rebate and for new EU taxes before he complains about anyone else's failure to support Coalition policy.

1 Jul 2011 07:00:00

The six Tory MEPs first elected in 2009 agree that they are more Eurosceptic now than when they arrived in Brussels

By Jonathan Isaby
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I have already posted the first instalment of answers from the six Tory MEPs first elected in 2009, replying to ConHome's questions about life in Brussels during their first two years there.

In the second instalment below, the sextet reflect on their respective proudest achievements so far, generally agree that they are even more sceptical about the European project after two years observing it at close hand; and urge those in Whitehall and Westminister to play a greater role in scruitnising European legislation.

4. What is you proudest achievement thus far?

Vicky Ford 2011 Vicky Ford: I´m not sure what my proudest achievement has been thus far but my weirdest was definitely being spun upside down underwater in a capsized helicopter and having to swim to safety through the windows.  It's a long story. After the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, the EU decided to look into safety of Offshore Oil.  As this is so important to the UK I was asked if I would act as the Parliament´s Rapporteur (i.e. the MEP who leads the negotiations).   My experience from banking has taught me that physically visiting an industry is invaluable learning, but to visit an offshore oil rig one needs to pass the helicopter training session.   I hope that the final outcome of my work will result in a sharing of best safety practice from the North Sea to the Med and Black Sea, working with neighbouring countries in each sea area (both inside the EU and outside).  But the UK will not become subservient to an EU super regulator.

Ashey Fox: Passing the "Fox amendment" to the European Parliament´s calendar for 2012. This reduced the number of times the EP has to travel to Strasbourg - saving time, money and CO2).  This enraged the French government who have now taken the Parliament to the Court of Justice.  I have also been named in the French Senate as the author of this pernicious amendment!

Julie Girling Julie Girling: My proudest achievement on a personal level was becoming Chief Whip of the Conservative Delegation, but, on behalf of my constituents, it would have to be launching a successful campaign to protect bees and pollinators which has included being Rapporteur on an opinion. We have secured funding for Europe-wide research and development, much of it being spent in the UK.

Emma McClarkin: Personal achievements are small in their nature out here: a word here, an amendment there. But helping to stop traffic lights on food labelling and halting a French-inspired ban on online alcohol advertising was a result. I am most proud of our starting and growing a new Group in the European Conservatives and Reformists, which fights for reform and inspires real debate in parliament. We are a force to be reckoned with!

Kay Swinburne Kay Swinburne: During one of my first speeches in the plenary chamber I delived a speech on minority languages in Welsh - and by providing all of the interpreters with my own translation in advance I was able to use my own language without any extra cost to the tax payer. This was the first time Welsh had been used and understood in a plenary debate, although my Plaid Cymru colleague advocates official language status for Welsh in the EU, which would force unnecessary simultaneous translation of all meetings. I demonstrated that it was possible to use the language - without the half a million pound price tag.

Marina Yannakoudakis: My proudest achievement so far was when I successfully delayed the progress of the Maternity Leave Directive to give twenty weeks' compulsory fully paid maternity leave to women. This would have been catastrophic for many British SMEs.  The delay meant that the Directive went to the European Council after David Cameron became Prime Minster and the UK Government was able to shelve the Directive. I was delighted that this victory for common sense was picked up by the British press at the end of last week (here and here).

Continue reading "The six Tory MEPs first elected in 2009 agree that they are more Eurosceptic now than when they arrived in Brussels" »

28 Jun 2011 06:09:29

The six Tory MEPs first elected in 2009 reflect on their first two years in Brussels

By Jonathan Isaby
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Of the 26 Tory MEPs elected at the June 2009 European election, six of their number were taking their seats in Brussels for the first time.

So, two years on, I thought it would be interesting to ask them all to reflect on their experiences to date with a series of questions which would allow them to explain the highs and lows of life as an MEP.

The sextet are: Vicky Ford (East of England), Ashey Fox (South West England), Julie Girling (South West England), Emma McClarkin (East Midlands), Kay Swinburne (Wales) and Marina Yannakoudakis (London).

They have generally found the Euroepan Union to be as bureaucratic as they feared, although most of them have positive things to say about their colleagues in the Euroepan Parliament.

Below is the first instalment of their answers...

1. Have any of your views about the EU changed after seeing its institutions work at close quarters?

Picture 2 Vicky Ford: My first impression of the EU institutions was one of considerable bureaucracy.  This remains true, especially compared to the private sector.  Until I had seen the legislative process first hand I had not realised how important the position of Council is - this is where each national government´s minister can amend and vote on legislation.  Where a Westminster minister is actively involved, as well as our MEPs, we can reshape a piece of legislation.   A good example of this was the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive - at one point this would have made it considerably more difficult for UK and other EU companies to access investment - the final text actually makes it easier for venture capital firms to invest across all of Europe.

Ashey Fox: I was genuinely surprised at the amount of attention the Commission pays to the Parliament and MEPs.  I had expected them to ignore us, but my experience is very positive.  To give but one example, one Commissioner agreed to meet me regarding a constituent's problem and has helped in sorting it out.

Julie Girling: Yes my views have changed... I was expecting a bureaucratic nightmare at the Commission, Parliament and Council and this has proved to be the case, but I have been appalled by the way that these institutions have only one direction of travel. Once a report is written at the Commission and proposed to parliament it takes on a life and momentum of its own. There are no effective mechanisms for pulling back or abandoning proposals. Any mechanisms that do exist are rarely, if ever, used. The lesson is "never start a ball rolling or suggest anything unless you are absolutely sure that  you want it ".

Emma McClarkin: Having worked out in Brussels before getting elected I've had the chance to observe the institutions at close quarters for quite some time. It's what fired me up to come out here to do something about it. The scale of the Project scared me then and it still scares me now.

Picture 10Kay Swinburne: Working on the derivatives legislation over the past 18 months has enabled me to participate in the legislative process in a technical field withe which I am familiar. Throughout I have worked co-operatively with senior Commission staff, EP colleagues accross political groups and the civil servants of many EU countries, and I am reassured that the process can be influenced significantly so that the final outcome, which in this case is a global ambition of the G20, will be a workable regulation. Changes we have helped influence have included a corporate exemption, special treatment for pension funds, improved collateral arrangments and investor protection.

M arina Yannakoudakis: I have realised that the institutions have not developed sufficiently to cope with enlargement. They are overly bureaucratic and costly, certainly not as effective as they ought to be. Looking at this with my business hat on, I can see precisely where the institutions could be made more efficient. In addition some committees need to be re-thought. For example, the Women's Rights and Gender Equality Committee should now become the Equalities Committee to more accurately reflect the changes in society over the past 20 years.

Continue reading "The six Tory MEPs first elected in 2009 reflect on their first two years in Brussels" »

8 Jun 2011 17:34:56

European Parliament: Conservative MEPs vote against new European budget increases

By Matthew Barrett
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6a00d83451b31c69e20147e31f9807970bToday in Strasbourg, the European Parliament adopted proposals to increase the EU budget, introduce a financial transaction tax, abolish national rebates, impose direct EU taxes and end the returning of unspent EU money to national governments.

The European Parliament set out its priorities for the next seven-year budget plan, known as the "multi annual financial framework" (MFF). Although the EU works on annual budgets, the budgets are set within the longer-term MFF. Current debates concern the next MFF, which will be in operation 2014-2020.

The European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group, of which the Conservative Party is the largest party, voted against the proposals. There were, in total, 468 votes in favour and 134 against. Labour and UKIP also voted against the proposals, with the Lib Dems a mixture of for and abstaining. Edward McMillan-Scott, who was elected as a Conservative in 2009 before defecting to the Lib Dems, voted for the proposals. 

The ECR put down an amendment to the proposals, which said:

Is therefore of the firm opinion that freezing the next MFF at the 2013 level, as demanded by some Member States, is a viable option; welcomes the letter from the five Heads of Government – those of the United Kingdom, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Finland – and shares the opinion that commitment appropriations over the next multiannual financial framework should not exceed the 2013 level, with a growth rate below the rate of inflation

This amendment was defeated by 540 votes to 104, with Labour MEPs voting for the amendment, UKIP against, and the Lib Dems divided between abstaining and voting against it. Edward McMillan-Scott voted against the amendment. 

Continue reading "European Parliament: Conservative MEPs vote against new European budget increases" »

10 Mar 2011 15:04:59

Labour MEPs back plan to clobber the City with Financial Transaction Tax levied by the EU

By Jonathan Isaby

European-parliament-strasbourg-inside I am only just catching up with a story from Tuesday in the European Parliament, but one which eventually could have a massive impact on Britain and in particular the City of London.

MEPs voted in their droves (529 to 127, with 18 active abstentions) for the Podimata report on "Innovative financing at a global and European level" which, amongst other things, proposes an EU Financial Transaction Tax (EU FTT) - something on which the European Commission can now be expected to draw up a draft proposal. The report also calls for feasibility studies into an EU carbon tax on every product sold.

Supporters of an EU-wide FTT suggest that at a rate of 0.05% it could raise the EU €209billion, of which a disproportionately large amount would come from the City of London, with some suggesting it would treble the UK's EU contribution to £20 billion, whilst redirecting some tax receipts away from the Treasury and most likely pushing some transactions offshore to less-regulated markets.

Of the British MEPs participating in the vote on Tuesday, all 13 British Labour MEPs backed the move, as did four Lib Dems (Chris Davies, Fiona Hall, Edward McMillan-Scott and Graham Watson) two Greens and the Plaid Cymru MEP. There were active abstentions from 3 Lib Dems, the SNP MEP and the Sinn Fein MEP.

The report was opposed by all British Conservative MEPs participating in the vote, with just one of our delegation absent from the division. Four Lib Dems and most UKIP MEPs also joined the British Tories in opposing the report. 

Vicky Ford Here's what Vicky Ford MEP, the Conservative economics spokesman in the European Parliament, had to say in reaction to the vote:

"Whilst it is absolutely right that financial services companies should pay increased taxes, this is not the way to do it. A European Financial Transaction Tax would be a tax on the City of London raised by Brussels to fund pet projects. No wonder Labour MEPs are so enthusiastic for it.

 Socialist MEPs show once again that they completely fail to understand the global nature of finance. Their slogan calls for the EU to regulate global finance as though the world stops at the borders of the EU.

"Labour MEPs want to treble the UK's payments to the EU. That is simply indefensible at a time when they should be seeking to cut what we pay to Brussels. Any Financial Transaction Tax levied must be in concert with at least the G20 countries, with revenues going to national exchequers, not to the EU.

 Imposing a tax of this nature without a global agreement would cause some of our financial services sector to relocate, losing the UK billions in tax revenues and costing untold jobs.

"The UK already has a bank levy in place which will raise ₤2.5 billion a year by 2012-13, thus ensuring bankers are making a contribution, and it is better designed to incentivise more stable financial practices."

4 Feb 2011 07:00:00

I'm staying with the European Conservatives and Reformists, says Michał Kamiński

By Jonathan Isaby

Michal Kaminski Manc Since the resignation last week of Michał Kamiński as leader (President) of the ECR grouping in the European Parliament, there has been mush fanciful speculation as to where his future lies.

The Guardian suggested he may quit as an MEP, whilst the Telegraph quoted sources as saying he may join the EPP group instead.

Hopefully I can now quash all such speculation once and for all. Here's what he told ConHome last night:

"I remain fully committed to the European Conservatives and Reformists, of which I was proud to be the founder President. I have no intention of leaving."

27 Jan 2011 16:14:14

Michał Kamiński to step down as leader of the European Conservatives and Reformists in the European Parliament

By Jonathan Isaby

Saturday a.m. update:

I have now obtained a copy of the resignation letter Michał Kamiński sent to all MEPs in the ECR group on Thursday night:

Picture 1

Continue reading "Michał Kamiński to step down as leader of the European Conservatives and Reformists in the European Parliament" »

19 Dec 2010 07:55:21

Charles Tannock MEP is Britain's best Value-For-Money MEP

Tim Montgomerie

TANNOCK CHARLES Charles Tannock, a Tory MEP for London, has been named by The Sunday Telegraph as the MEP who gives taxpayers the best value for money.

He gets the rating because of his "near-perfect attendance of 97.44%" and his "moderate to low expenses". The newspaper also credits him with "bombarding" EU officials with questions about their responsibilities.

ConHome is particularly pleased to see Mr Tannock at the top of the league table. He writes regularly for this site but sadly that openness to Tory members isn't reflected in the Sunday Telegraph's calculations!

Unfortunately it's another Tory MEP who languishes at the bottom of the VFM table. The South East region's James Elles claimed one of the highest amounts for expenses but also had one of the lowest activity rates in terms of attendance, speeches and questions.

Read more in The Sunday Telegraph.

20 Oct 2010 20:48:49

In Westminster George Osborne announces spending cuts. Meanwhile in Strasbourg...

By Jonathan Isaby

European-parliament-strasbourg-inside The Comprehensive Spending Review has naturally dominated the news agenda and the ConHome threads today, so I only got the chance earlier to post a quick link to a blog post by Daniel Hannan MEP about the latest outrageous activities of the European Parliament. He reported that MEPs had spent the morning pushing through what he reckoned was an increase in EU spending that will cost Britain £880 million.

I have now noticed the blog post by his colleague, Vicky Ford MEP, who enlarges upon the details of what has been going on during a Strasbourg sitting of the 736 MEPs:

Today in Strasbourg, I (and my Conservative colleagues) voted for a freeze in the EU budget because it is unacceptable for EU institutions to keep spending more taxpayers´ money when national governments are having to rein back spending at home. We voted to reduce the expenses of MEPs and to reduce the costs of Parliament. We also voted against increasing maternity pay to 20 weeks because I believe that this sort of decision should be taken by national governments not international parliaments (especially given the dire economic times).

Sadly colleagues from other countries and other groups did not agree. The Parliament voted to increase the EU budget by 5.9% (£843 million gross contribution for the UK). The vote on maternity leave was lost by just 7 votes (327 to 320)- this is predicted to add costs of £2.5 billion a year to UK businesses and government.

These are not yet final decisions as national governments will now get their say. Let's hope some sense prevails.

Amen to that.

I hope to establish tomorrow whether Labour and Lib Dem MEPs joined the Conservatives in doing the right thing...

15 Jul 2010 08:58:15

Votes from Tory MEPs were "decisive" in speedy expansion of the EU's foreign service

KEEPINGanEYE Last Thursday, on the orders of William Hague, the ECR group in the European Parliament, that includes Tory MEPs, voted to support the formal creation of the European External Action Service. I write formal because the EEAS has been in effective existence for some time. The EEAS is a deliberately bureaucratic name for what is the EU foreign service. It has, blogs Dan Hannan, a budget twenty times larger than the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. It has 7,000 staff members, operating in 130 global embassies.

Last week's ECR votes were decisive in seeing the EEAS motion pass*. Without ECR support, reports EurActiv, there would have been no decision until the autumn - time, some believe, that could have been used to dilute the EEAS' powers.

Charles Tannock MEP, the ECR's Foreign Affairs spokesman, told EurActiv:

"We were opposed to the creation of the EEAS but we are now reconciled to engaging constructively within the new architecture in the best interests of our countries."

That is an EU-constructive rather than an EU-sceptic position. This is the latest example of the Coalition government engaging with the EU in what it calls a "constructive" rather than "sceptical" way. The ambition is to make arrangements work better rather than delay or frustrate.

This morning's Telegraph reports that the EU desk will be moved to the centre of the UN General Assembly as part of a "back down" by William Hague:

"Baroness Ashton, the EU foreign minister or "High Representative", will be given a special seat alongside a new European UN ambassador with "the right to speak in a timely manner, the right of reply, the right to circulate documents, the right to make proposals and submit amendments (and) the right to raise points of order". EU sources told The Daily Telegraph that William Hague, the foreign secretary, was forced to "back down" and accept the plan as part of the creation of a Brussels diplomatic service under the Lisbon Treaty."

Lidington In the House of Commons yesterday, Europe Minister David Lidington explained this enhanced EU role at the UN:

"Supporting the EU in having enhanced rights in the UN General Assembly is a good example. We want the High Representative to be able to do what the rotating presidency used to do: to speak and act in support of an agreed common position. The Foreign Secretary explained that policy in more detail in a written ministerial statement earlier today. If the General Assembly agrees, the High Representative will have the rights necessary, and no more than the rights necessary, to fulfil the representational role previously carried out by the rotating presidency. That includes the right to speak after the member states have spoken, but not the right to a seat among individual UN members and certainly not the right to vote in the General Assembly. These arrangements will not give EU delegations enhanced rights in United Nations agencies or in other international organisations."

Mr Lidington was also warm about the relationship that the Coalition wants with Baroness Ashton, the "High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy":

"The High Representative has made a very good start to her challenging role. She has an impossible job-almost three jobs, in fact: High Representative, British Commissioner in Brussels and chair of the Foreign Affairs Council. She has been criticised for not being at two different ministerial meetings that were held in two different countries at the same time, but that seems more than a little unfair. I am told that she has 400 days of appointments in the year, and she does not yet really have a proper department to help her. The Conservatives wished her well when she embarked on her task and my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary and I are already working closely with her."

Labour MPs were delighted at Mr Lidington's contributions yesterday. Labour's former Europe Minister, Chris Bryant welcomed Mr Lidington's "conversion". And this from Michael Connarty MP:

"I am sensitive about intruding on private grief, but I am witnessing the acting out of a scenario in which a Minister who takes a very positive approach to issues relating to the European Union is surrounded by a large number of Eurosceptic Members of Parliament who had previously imagined that they were serving under a Eurosceptic Government. The words "a cosy consensus" have been used, but I am not sure that what is happening. I see it more as the sweet breeze of EU realism blowing through the Conservative Government."

CASH WILLIAM In the debate William Cash spoke for Eurosceptics:

"I regard this whole decision as a triumph of European aspirations and European parliamentary ambitions over reality. I am deeply worried about the manner in which this game of multidimensional chess will play out, and I have already indicated to my hon. Friend the Minister my concern about the overlapping functions and the contradictions that will emerge between the necessity of maintaining our bilateral relations with other countries and the extremely ambitious proposals in this decision on global reach. It is phenomenal to imagine an external action service on this scale that would in any way be regarded as not interfering with our domestic diplomatic service."

Tim Montgomerie

* Not all Tory MEPs voted for the EEAS. Dan Hannan, Nirj Deva and Roger Helmer, for example, voted against. I also understand that Geoffrey Van Ordern MEP abstained.

3 Jun 2009 08:14:04

Six of the ten best value MEPs are Conservative

Former CentreRight contributor Dr Lee Rotherham of The TaxPayers' Alliance has rated MEPs according to these criteria:

  • Number of Parliamentary Questions asked (20%)
  • Campaigning activity (20%)
  • Expenses Transparency (20%)
  • Parliamentary voting record on key transparency, red tape, spending controls and anti-corruption legislation (40%)
  • Bonus marks were awarded for MEPs who opted out of the excessive second pension scheme and deducted for the 4 MEPs who have been involved in scandals involving financial irregularities.

His analysis produces a top ten that includes ten Tory MEPs:

Picture 13 Download a PDF of Dr Rotherham's Assessments.

> A week ago Open Europe published league tables for MEPs according to more narrow criteria of open-ness.

25 May 2009 13:25:12

League tables published for openness of Britain's MEPs

"With elections to the European Parliament less than two weeks away, Open Europe has today published a ranking of all 785 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), scoring their record on promoting transparency and reform in the European Union over the last five-year term."

The ten most transparent British MEPs...

1. Caroline Lucas                     Green Party                 43 points
1. Struan Stevenson                 Conservative               43 points
1. Alyn Smith                            SNP                             43 points
4. Diana Wallis                         Lib-Dem                      42 points
5. Jim Allister                            Independent                41 points
6. Derek Clark                          UKIP                            40 points
6. Fiona Hall                             Lib-Dem                      40 points
6. Malcolm Harbour                 Conservative               40 points
9. Chris Heaton-Harris            Conservative               39 points
9. Gerard Batten                      UKIP                            39 points
9. Liz Lynne                             Lib-Dem                      39 points       

The ten least transparent British MEPs...

78. David Sumberg                  Conservative               10 points
76. John Whittaker                   UKIP                            11 points
76. Robert Kilroy-Silk               UKIP                            11 points
75. Trevor Colman                   UKIP                            13 points*
(MEP since Oct 08)
74. Jonathan Evans                 Conservative               14 points
72. Godfrey Bloom                   UKIP                            19 points
72. Giles Chichester                Conservative               19 points
71. Nirj Deva                            Conservative               21 points
70. Roger Knapman                UKIP                            22 points
66. Nigel Farage                      UKIP                            23 points
66. Baroness Nicholson          Lib-Dem                      23 points
66. Den Dover                         Conservative              23 points
66. Glenis Willmott                  Labour                         23 points*
(MEP since Jan 06)

Click here for a spreadsheet for all UK MEPs.

The parties as a whole...

Party                                                 Number of MEPs      Average score per MEP

1. Green Party                                                2                                 39.5
2. Scottish National Party                               2                                 38.5
3. Liberal Democrats                                     11                                34.5
4. Conservative Party                                     28                               29.5
5. Labour                                                        19                                29.3
6. UKIP                                                           10                                25.5
7. Independents                                              3                                  25.3

Tim Montgomerie

HOW THE RANKINGS ARE CALCULATED

A) Transparency, openness and democracy

MEPs are ranked according to whether they:

1. Voted for easier public access to EU documents
2. Voted against keeping MEPs' expenses and accounts secret
3. Voted to increase transparency, including better public access to MEPs' voting records
4. Responded to Open Europe's Transparency Initiative on expenses and allowances
5. Voted in favour of imposing sanctions for MEPs guilty of financial irregularities
6. Voted in favour of providing mandatory receipts for travel expenses
7. Voted to respect the outcome of the pending legally-binding Irish referendum on the Lisbon Treaty
8. Voted in favour of opening Europe up to trade with developing countries
9. Achieved good attendance at the Parliament's voting sessions

B) Fighting waste and misuse of EU funds

MEPs are ranked according to whether they:

1. Opted out of the Parliament's controversial second pension fund
2. Voted in favour of cleaning up the second pension fund
3. Supported moves to abolish the Parliament's second seat in Strasbourg
4. Voted against 'hypocritical' EU subsidies to tobacco farmers
5. Voted to reform the CAP and discontinue subsidies to tobacco farmers
6. Voted not to clear the European Parliament's accounts for 2006 due to 75% unaccounted expenditure on MEPs' assistants' allowances
7. Voted not to approve the Parliament's accounts for 2007
8. Voted not to approve the Commission's accounts for 2007
9. Voted to postpone clearing the European Council's accounts for 2007
10. Voted against clearing the accounts of the European Police College for 2007 while it was under investigation for fraud

> Recent ToryDiary: Conservative MEPs lead the way in Europe with publication of their expenses

19 May 2009 11:36:23

Dan Hannan on the sovereignty of national parliaments

South East MEP Daniel Hannan has made another speech, on the sovereignty of national parliaments.

Mr Hannan ends almost every speech with the words: "Pactio Olisipiensis Censenda Est" - "The Lisbon Treaty must be Put to the Vote". He tells me this is in homage to Cato the Elder who would end his speeches with the words “Carthage Must Be Destroyed”. Mr Hannan adds:

"Senators used to mock him, imitate his voice, shout him down. But you know what? In the end, they sacked Carthage!"

Tom Greeves

8 May 2009 12:24:15

Dan Hannan: The European Parliament is becoming totalitarian

The hits just keep on coming from Internet star and MEP Dan Hannan. Here he is warning that the European Parliament is becoming totalitarian: