TTIP to create jobs and add billions to UK economy
Despite scaremongering over NHS, trade deal is in Britain’s interests
The proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) would help to create high-quality jobs and could add an extra £4 billion a year to the UK economy.
Concerns have been expressed about the possible privatisation of public services and deterioration of labour standards but I believe these claims are overblown and misguided.
The EU is looking for an ambitious agreement which would have a positive impact on trans-Atlantic trade and create new jobs, in addition to the five million that already depend on trade with the USA. The existing EU-Canada trade agreement (CETA) would be a model for provisions on sustainable development and respect of International Labour Organisation (ILO) standards.
Although health services are in principle within the scope of the agreement, the rights of EU member states to manage their health systems according to their various needs can be fully safeguarded as they are already are under the Treaties.
Bilateral agreements made by the EU contain specific reservations for publicly funded health systems. Thus, member states do not have to provide foreign private companies access to their health markets. In addition, member states will be able to adopt new measures that specifically control such access.
Better Passenger Name Recognition rights for EU citizens
In my role as the draughtsman for the opinion of the Foreign Affairs Committee I have appealed to the pragmatic instincts of the European Parliament to ensure a vital international agreement goes ahead that cements co-operation between the EU and Canada, a NATO country that shares our values and ideals and is an ally in the fight against global terrorism and trans-national crime.
MEPs have regrettably voted for the EU-Canada agreement on the transfer of Passenger Name Records (PNR) to be referred to the European Court of Justice for an opinion on whether data protection and privacy rights are in line with the EU treaties and the Charter of Fundamental Rights. This is the first time that Parliament has asked that a PNR agreement be given a preliminary check by the Court before the final vote on the deal. However, this process could take several years and leave EU citizens in the ensuing period with lower levels of protection, as afforded by the existing 2006 agreement that continues to operate regardless.
The proposed new agreement offers improved data protection and access rights to EU citizens. Limited storage periods of data form the cornerstone of the agreement, as do strict purpose limitation clauses and significant degrees of access rights and rectification processes.
We are repeatedly reminded of the threat of global terrorism and its devastating effects, both in Europe and around the world. The emergence of ISIS is the latest development in that battle and we should not forget that over 3,000 EU nationals are fighting in Syria and Iraq under that banner. Sadly, Canada too has its own domestic jihadist threats.
It is in this global context and security-minded framework that we must assess the merits of the proposed PNR agreement with Canada.
EU/US foreign affairs
With US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, Elmar Brok MEP, Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, and Christian Dan Preda MEP, Foreign Affairs coordinator for the European People’s Party, discussing EU/US foreign affairs priorities.
Being interviewed on Montenegrin television following an appearance at the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Western Balkan countries Foreign Ministers. As Rapporteur in the European Parliament for the candidate country Montenegro,I was pleased to highlight the positive progress being made in that country towards eventual EU accession.
Hindu New Year
Pictured with among others Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Harrow West Hannah David at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir celebrating Hindu New Year. The Annakut is the devotional and ceremonial offering of the first meal of the Hindu New Year.
With Indian Minister of State for Foreign Affairs General VK Singh, Ambassador of India to EU Manjeev Puri, and Chairman of EP delegation to India Geoffrey Van Orden MEP at the Indian Ambassador’s Residence for a dinner in honour of the Ministerial visit.
Kurdistan and ISIS threat
As Chairman of the EP Friends of Kurdistan informal intergroup, with a Ministerial delegation from the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq discussing the situation in Kurdistan and the Middle East, paying particular attention to the threat that ISIS is posing to the stability of that region.
Amber Alert Europe
Chairing a session at the Amber Alert Europe event with representatives from Interpol, the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children and the Meuse-Rhine Missing Persons project. Amber Alert brings together all of the various law enforcement agencies across state and national boundaries, enabling those organisations to work effectively together to find missing children.
Sakharov Prize Winner
With 2014 Sakharov Prize winner Dr Denis Mugwege who was honoured for his work treating Democratic Republic of Congo victims of sexual violence during war.
With US Ambassador to the EU Anthony Gardner and David McAlister Chair of the European Parliament-US delegation discussing EU/UK-US relations.
Rochester & Strood
In Rochester & Strood constituency with Conservative activist Annesley Abercorn campaigning in the parliamentary by-election.
Prisoner of conscience
With Mikhail Khodorkovsky, former founder of Yukos Oil and at one time one of the wealthiest men in the world. He spent almost ten years in a Russian jail but was declared a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International. A large international campaign was launched calling for his release.
Save our Sugar
Supporting London business Tate & Lyle which is campaigning to save London jobs with its ‘Save our Sugar’ initiative as the EU debate on sugar and cane refining enters a crucial stage of reform with the negotiations for a revised Common Agricultural Policy and the rules for the European sugar market between 2015 and 2020