Regular readers of this website will already be familiar with the achievements of our local MEP – Linda McAvan. You can read more on that on her page on this site.
Here are some of the key recent achievements of Labour’s MEPs – among them Linda’s own work, e.g. on Tobacco policy.
• Labour MEPs campaigned and achieved a real-terms cut in the EU budget at the last seven year budget negotiations, calling for it to be more streamlined and focused on delivering growth and jobs.
On European banking reform
• Labour MEPs delivered measures to clamp down on bankers’ bonuses. These include measures to cap bonuses at a ratio of 1:1 with salary, or 2:1 with shareholder approval; and to defer bonuses so that they are linked to the longer term performance of the bank. Conservative MEPs failed to support these measures and George Osborne is still trying to stop them with a legal challenge.
• Labour MEPs battled against unfettered credit default swaps, against unstable speculation in commodities, such as food, and increased transparency for equity and derivatives trading.
Standing up for families
• Labour MEPs tackled the cost of living by delivering cuts to mobile phone call and data costs to protect British families from rip-off prices when using a mobile phone abroad.
• Labour MEPs voted to make unfair credit card charges illegal. Thanks to these changes, from this year onwards, British consumers will be protected against sky-high credit card transaction fees.
• Labour MEPs moved to protect savers against losing everything by backing a new deposit guarantee to provide compensation for depositors if their bank goes bust.
• Labour MEPs voted to introduce clear food labelling – including labelling on which country our food comes from – against opposition from Government Ministers.
• Labour MEPs took on the big tobacco industry in order to protect children from aggressive marketing by backing new rules to introduce graphic warnings covering 75 per cent of cigarette packaging; a ban on chocolate, strawberry and menthol flavoured cigarettes a ban on slim cigarettes; and calls for better regulation of e-cigarettes.
Championing energy security
• Labour MEPs backed reforms to the EU’s Carbon Market to protect our environment and get a better deal for British industry.
• Labour MEPs backed reforms to the European Emissions Trading scheme which would have allowed intervention in the auctioning timetable of carbon permits to try to restore the price of carbon following its collapse caused by the economic crisis.
Stronger, Safer Communities
• Labour MEPs were crucial in supporting a European victims’ rights package that offers advice and practical support to UK victims and their families – especially when they have been caught up in the aftermath of a crime and serious injury abroad – so that people are not left to simply fend for themselves under what are often incredibly traumatic conditions.
• In the next Parliament, Labour MEPs will support a law which seeks to clamp down on cross-border money laundering.
Preventing a race to the bottom on wages and conditions
• Labour MEPs and the last Labour Government strengthened rights for agency workers to help protect the living standards of Britain’s families, but there is still work to do. There is a loophole in the laws around Britain’s interpretation of the European agency rules which allows firms to avoid paying agency workers at the same rates as directly-employed staff. Labour MEPs will work with the next Labour government and with British business to close this loophole and ensure that agency workers cannot be used to undercut non- agency staff.
• Labour’s MEPs have campaigned for tough new laws, so that no firm across Europe can use your personal data to ‘blacklist’ or prevent you from working, just because they don’t like your views or activities.
A Global Voice
• Labour MEPs secured new EU wide laws which for the first time introduced legally binding sanctions and criminal penalties against human trafficking.
• Labour MEPs led the European Parliament ratification of the International Arms
Trade Treaty, first proposed by Labour in Government. The Treaty has the potential to significantly boost efforts to stem the flow of arms to some of the world’s most volatile places. Labour will continue to show international leadership, and ensure a progressive interpretation of the Treaty and its measures.
• Labour MEPs delivered an overhaul of European fishing rules including a new ban on throwing unwanted fish back into the sea.
Tackling corruption through rules on transparency of extractive industries
• Labour MEPs took on the big extractive industries and drafted new rules to tackle
bribery and corruption in European oil, mining, gas and logging companies. The Labour-drafted transparency reforms will ensure local communities can benefit from the natural resources in their country by making those companies disclose the payments they make to foreign governments to secure access to natural resources.
British influence and value for money
• Labour MEPs supported restraint in EU annual and long-term budgets.
• Labour MEPs back the scrapping of the Strasbourg Parliament.
• Labour MEPs backed more transparency in meetings of EU Ministers and for national parliaments to play a stronger role in the making of new EU rules.
• Labour MEPs have also supported changes to the European Parliament to make sure votes are more transparent and the expenses system for MEPs is reformed.
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