Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Speeches

2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999


Organ harvesting in China - Delivered in Plenary, 12 December 2013
For over a decade now China has been accused of operating a heinous state-sponsored programme of non-consenting organ harvesting, particularly against executed Falun Gong detainees of conscience.

Negotiations for an EU-Canada strategic partnership agreement - Delivered in Plenary, 10 December 2013
Canada is a model liberal Western democracy and one of our closest friends. It is exactly the kind of country with which the EU should be forming free trade agreements, not least because of its booming economy, but almost uniquely amongst G7 and wealthier nations it avoided falling victim to the banking crisis which then engulfed the rest of the Western nations.

Common Fisheries Policy - Delivered in Plenary, 10 December 2013
The new common fisheries policy is definitely a step forward. The UK fishing industry saw over GBP 770 million worth of fish caught in 2012. It boasts the European Union’s second-largest fishing fleet in terms of capacity and sixth-largest by number of vessels. The common fisheries policy is hugely important to the economy of my country, and London – the region I represent – is of course a very large consumer of fish products.

Development and 'state building' in South Sudan - Delivered in Plenary, 10 December 2013
I welcome the De Keyser report on development and state-building in South Sudan. This is a very new country in which I have taken quite a considerable interest and whose birth as a state has not been without problems, which is perhaps to be expected given the long and brutal civil war which preceded its birth.

Sexual and reproductive health and rights - Delivered in Plenary, 10 December 2013
The strength of feeling provoked today by this report was evident during the plenary vote where the intolerance by Ms Estrela of dissent or differing views on this side of the House was fortunately firmly rejected by this Parliament. It is wholly accurate to label the Estrela report as being contrary to the EU’s motto of unity and diversity, i.e. a respect for subsidiarity and in particular respecting the moral values of individuals in their countries, and particularly the issue of conscience over abortion issues and the right to object to performing abortions. I, as a doctor, feel particularly strongly about that.

Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance - Delivered in Plenary, 10 December 2013
The path to EU accession is difficult, both politically and economically and, with the exception of Iceland and Turkey, all of the accession countries that have recently joined emerged from Communist systems that severely limited access to the market economy and, therefore, prosperity and which institutionalised authoritarian government.

Human rights in the world 2012 and EU policy on the matter - Delivered in Plenary, 10 December 2013
On behalf of the ECR Group let me congratulate my friend pán Kukan on his comprehensive report on human rights in the world. I join colleagues in endorsing the bulk of this year’s report, which outlines the potentially beneficial role played by the External Action Service amongst other things, in addition to the perennial human rights probes we face in North Korea, Iran, China, Zimbabwe, Belarus and Russia

Horizon 2020 - framework programme for research and innovation - Delivered in Plenary, 21 November 2013
As was the case with Framework Programme 7, Horizon 2020 brings together a strong package aimed at supporting research and development across the EU, particularly for research projects considered to contribute to scientific excellence. It is to be welcomed that it will be easier for small and medium-sized enterprises to access funding from this source, thus increasing the chance of supporting projects with the potential not only to provide valuable research and science but also to lead to job creation and wider benefits.

Competitiveness of enterprises and small and medium-sized enterprises - Delivered in Plenary, 21 November 2013
In concluding the Creutzmann report, the EU has been able to provide an improved programme to replace the previous competiveness and innovation framework. These reformist proposals currently before us now seek to the give the financial support that is vital to so many SMEs, both in my country and in the rest of Europe. I am also pleased that, as part of the process, the ECR – my Group – has been able to enforce its message of encouraging a reduction in bureaucracy and bringing results to our wider campaign to cut burdensome and unnecessary red tape.

State of play of the Doha development agenda - Delivered in Plenary, 21 November 2013
Although the 12 years of the Doha trade talks have been marked by the repeated collapse of negotiations and allegations of bad faith, the Development Agenda is still the best current hope we have in promoting multilateral free and fair trade across the world and in reducing the many non-tariff barriers placed in its path.

Bangladesh: human rights and forthcoming elections - Delivered in Plenary, 21 November 2013
For the past five years Bangladesh has enjoyed a period of relative stability, under a democratically elected government, practically unprecedented in its 42-year history. The foundation of this stability was the last general election, which I witnessed as this Parliament’s election observation leader, and it went very well.

Qatar: situation of migrant workers - Delivered in Plenary, 21 November 2013
There has been controversy over the treatment of migrant workers in Qatar in recent months, triggered by revelations about the poor working conditions of those helping to construct the stadiums for the 2022 World Cup.

Fair justice in Bolivia, in particular the cases of Előd Tóásó and Mario Tadic - Delivered in Plenary, 21 November 2013
The arbitrary detention of EU citizens Elód Tóásó and Mario Tadic in Bolivia represents a serious breach of human rights and the rule of law. Since the return of a civilian democratic government in Bolivia in 1982, much has been done to attempt to re-establish properly functioning state institutions. But cases like this highlight the very real problems that still remain.

Gender balance among non-executive directors of companies listed on stock exchanges - Delivered in Plenary, 20 November 2013
At the 100 largest companies listed on the London Stock Exchange, just 19 % of the board members are women. This may be a cause for concern, but I cannot accept that the best means of rectifying it is the imposition of mandatory quotas offering a top-down, one-size-fits-all approach.

Implementation of the Common Security and Defence Policy - Delivered in Plenary, 20 November 2013
As a Euro-realist, of course I accept the reality of the CSDP and the need to engage with it, although many in my own national political party are deeply hostile to the very concept. In my view, the CSDP must always remain subject to unanimity in the Council. I believe that constructive engagement is the way forward, partly because – as was pointed out in the debate – France insists on it as one of only two European major military powers and as a condition of rejoining NATO and its command and control structures.

Multiannual financial framework - Delivered in Plenary, 19 November 2013
As I and many other colleagues have often said in this House, if the European Union seeks to sustain popular support at the next European elections in May, it must respond to complex economic, fiscal and political challenges both carefully and sensitively.

Erasmus for all programme - Delivered in Plenary, 19 November 2013
The Erasmus programme celebrated its 25th anniversary last year. It is an enduring programme that has brought opportunities to millions of students across the 33 countries in which it operates. Students from all over the United Kingdom benefit as well from the scheme, and I have encountered in my professional life many CVs where students have been able to broaden their skills or develop a language as part of this process.

Suspension of the SWIFT agreement as a result of NSA surveillance - Delivered in Plenary, 24 October 2013
The revelations made by Edward Snowden have raised questions on both sides of the Atlantic as to the extent and acceptability of the NSA’s surveillance activities. These questions are rightly being asked. However, we must be very careful before taking action here in the European Union.

Common foreign and security policy - Delivered in Plenary, 23 October 2013
I am a staunch defender of national sovereignty and the right of Member States to hold the reins over their own foreign policy and defence, acting in their own national interests. But this does not mean that the United Kingdom – my country – cannot support a common foreign security policy of the EU where it adds clear value.

Situation in the Maldives - Delivered in Plenary, 23 October 2013
2008 saw the Maldives’ first democratic election, in which Mohamed Nasheed became President, representing a turning point for the country. We all hoped, as friends of the Maldives, for a future of multiparty politics and peaceful democratic rule in that small South Asian island paradise.

European Neighbourhood Policy, working towards a stronger partnership - Delivered in Plenary, 22 October 2013
The latest European Neighbourhood Policy report is largely to be welcomed, although each year it becomes more apparent how difficult it is to harmonise a strategy for such different countries, particularly with the combination of both the Southern and Eastern Partnership.

Human rights in the Sahel region - Delivered in Plenary, 21 October 2013
The preparation of my Sahel report has not been easy, and I would like now to set the record straight on how this report came to exist in its current form. For a start, my position on the Western Sahara has been consistent over a number of years in terms of the right of the Saharawi people to determine their own future in a free and fair manner acceptable to both sides.

Rule of law and human rights in Russia - Delivered in Plenary, 10 October 2013
Many of us from across the political divide watched with delight as the Iron Curtain came down and the former countries of the Soviet Union embraced freedom. Then ten years ago Mikhail Khodorkovsky was imprisoned. He has been in jail ever since, a victim of selective justice. His case, and that is why I raised it, was illustrative of a serious and sustained decline in the rule of law and human rights in Russia, whose government has effectively created an enemy of all those who simply want to live their lives in peace without harming anyone.

Caste-based discrimination - Delivered in Plenary, 10 October 2013
Caste discrimination is clearly unacceptable. It is a serious human rights violation and it is for this very reason that this Parliament has been calling for action to address caste-based discrimination ever since 2007. However, we must, when addressing the issue, take into account the entrenched cultural and historical roots that caste has in certain societies.

Technical requirements and administrative procedures related to air operations - Delivered in Plenary, 9 October 2013
The European airspace is one of the busiest in the world, and passenger safety must of course be a priority. This is especially a concern for me as an MEP for London, the home of Heathrow Airport, which last year saw nearly 70 million passengers embark on over 470 000 flights.

Measures to tackle the flow of refugees as a result of the conflict in Syria - Delivered in Plenary, 9 October 2013
All Members of this House will observe the situation in Syria, which is tragic, with absolute horror and want to express their deepest compassion for the two million or so Syrian refugees and displaced persons and try to help however possible.

Corruption in the public and private sectors: the impact on human right - Delivered in Plenary, 8 October 2013
I do not believe that any Members of this House could possibly be against the Gomes report’s noble aims of reducing organised crime, corruption and money laundering internationally and their impact on human rights. The way in which this is achieved, however, is less clear.

Manufacture, presentation and sale of tobacco and related products - Delivered in Plenary, 8 October 2013
The issue of the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) has inspired much lobbying in my mailbag. This new EU legislation will do more to combat an activity which, sadly, contributes yearly to 700 000 cancer, cardiovascular and respiratory-caused deaths in Europe. Many TPD aspects regarding the size of health warnings, types of packaging and descriptors are indeed positive. However, the attempts to make e-cigarettes a medicinal product are counterproductive in my view.

Taiwan trade relations - Delivered in Plenary, 8 October 2013
As Chairman of the EP-Taiwan Friendship Group I have for years now called upon the EU to respond more fully to Taiwan’s financial dynamism and innovation with the ultimate prize of a much-coveted economic cooperation agreement that would prove of huge benefit to both parties.

Union Customs Code - Delivered in Plenary, 12 September 2013
The Customs Union is a key tenet of the EU. The changes to be adopted in this report will modernise and simplify procedures, therefore reducing bureaucracy and allowing United Kingdom businesses to operate with greater ease.

EU's military structures: state of play and future prospects - Delivered in Plenary, 12 September 2013
Acting in times of humanitarian and global crisis as a united EU while simultaneously respecting the sovereign rights of individual Member States is no easy task. By acting alongside NATO, the CSDP has proved to be broadly helpful, when it involves civilian missions, in meeting such a delicate balance and allowing the EU to play a successful role in, for example, Afghanistan and the Balkans. It would therefore be foolish to make any attempt to extend the scope of the CSDP which would see it duplicate the role of NATO.

EU policy towards Belarus - Delivered in Plenary, 12 September 2013
Belarus’s continued disregard for democratic government and the rule of law is of great concern to all of us. The elections last September in Belarus were clearly not free or fair. Nevertheless, the release of Siarhei Kavalenka is of course welcome, yet we must not allow this lone political gesture by Lukashenko to detract from the wider picture.

Situation in Bahrain - Delivered in Plenary, 12 September 2013
There can be no doubt that what happened in Bahrain back in 2011 was of serious concern. The police sometimes acted disproportionately, innocent protestors were indeed killed and it goes without saying that those responsible for such crimes must be brought to justice. Nevertheless, there seems to be little new that has happened in that country since our last urgency resolution in January of this year.

Situation in Syria - Delivered in Plenary, 11 September 2013
Syria remains the most pressing challenge to international peace and security, with more than 100 000 dead, 2 million refugees and now the alleged horrific use by the Assad regime of sarin gas on 21 August 2013. This violates customary international law under the 1925 Geneva Gas Protocol and rightly demands a robust response by the international community.

Pressure exercised by Russia on countries of the Eastern Partnership - Delivered in Plenary, 11 September 2013
Along with my group, the ECR, I have long taken an interest in the Eastern Partnership countries. Ukraine, Georgia and Armenia, in particular, are countries I have come to know well during the last few years as they work hard to build strong, accountable democracies from the wreckage of their Soviet past.

Insider dealing and market manipulation (market abuse) - Delivered in Plenary, 10 September 2013
The financial services industry is one of the UK’s economic strengths and particularly for the City of London, which I represent. Such importance, however, should not exclude the industry from supervision and effective policing and regulation where necessary. The revelations of the LIBOR benchmark manipulation are just one high-profile example of the current scope for unscrupulous operators to abuse or manipulate the financial markets.

More efficient and cost-effective interpretation in the European Parliament - Delivered in Plenary, 10 September 2013
The EU has 28 Member States and 24 official languages. The UN, with 193 Member States, operates with just six, and the 47-Member-State Council of Europe has just two official languages. Working towards a more efficient and cost effective interpretation process is of course welcome, but the recommendations do not offer the radical solution which would be the logical step for an expanding supranational institution such as the EU.

Further macro-financial assistance for Georgia - Delivered in Plenary, 4 July 2013
I have long considered myself a strong friend of Georgia, which has made great strides in its democratic transition since the Rose Revolution overthrew the dictatorship about ten years ago. While many of us continue to look with unease at the difficult relations between President Saakashvili at the end of his mandate and Prime Minister Ivanishvili, there does appear to be some cause for concern with regard to the overall situation for human rights in that country.

Impact of the crisis on access to care for vulnerable groups - Delivered in Plenary, 4 July 2013
Access to health care, social services and welfare benefits are all areas which have been affected by the economic crisis in Europe. With pathways to care threatened by this necessary fiscal contraction, it is hardly surprising that vulnerable groups, sadly, have also been affected.

Situation in Djibouti - Delivered in Plenary, 4 July 2013
As perhaps one of the few Members of this House who has actually visited Djibouti, I can advise colleagues that, having been to this country, it does have a lot to recommend it, by way of a marvellous combination of French and Somali cuisine and culture on the Red Sea. Nevertheless, it remains beyond doubt that there are serious deficiencies in its governance and that Djibouti’s authoritarian leadership regularly suppresses fundamental freedoms and restricts the actions of civil society and political opponents.

Situation in Nigeria - Delivered in Plenary, 4 July 2013
Nigeria is the largest country in Sub-Saharan Africa and a massive holder of oil and other minerals. It plays a strategic and regional role in the African Union and Ecowas. Sadly, since Nigeria’s independence, it has been characterised by successive military governments and widespread corruption, so it is a welcome relief now to see a democratic government in power.

Reforming the structure of the EU banking sector - Delivered in Plenary, 3 July 2013
The UK’s banking sector is a national asset and London, the EU’s largest financial centre. The financial services industry contributes approximately 10% of UK GDP, with every job in the sector adding around GBP 117 000 to my London constituency’s regional economy and representing about 50% of it.

Situation in Egypt - Delivered in Plenary, 3 July 2013
It hardly needs to be restated here that the situation in Egypt remains very grave. In fact the situation is evolving on a seemingly hourly basis as the army deadline approaches and there are reports that tanks are being seen on the streets. We must take this opportunity to offer our support to the millions of ordinary Egyptians who never lost their dreams for freedom, prosperity and security through all the decades of Hosni Mubarak’s tyranny, of the bloody, hard-fought Arab Spring revolution and now, for a year, of the chaotic mismanagement by Mohamed Morsi, whose legitimacy is now in question.

External aviation policy - Delivered in Plenary, 2 July 2013
International aviation by definition crosses borders. Therefore, while I am always cautious in the battle of competing EU and Member State competences, aviation policy is one area where, clearly, a coordinated policy can add value and make logistical sense

Member States' export credit agencies - Delivered in Plenary, 2 July 2013
In 2012-13 British businesses received GBP 4.3 billion worth of support from the UK Government through UK export finance. I am therefore a strong believer that Member States’ export credit agencies are vital in fostering the domestic export industry

Promotion and protection of freedom of religion or belief - Delivered in Plenary, 13th June 2013
Recently in Brussels I listened to the harrowing story of Mr Adamu Abila, a victim of devastating jihadi violence against Christians in Nigeria. Distressingly, Mr Abila is by no means alone. His story is a mere microcosm of the struggles felt by religious groups all over the world.

Reconstruction and democratisation of Mali - Delivered in Plenary, 13th June 2013
Mali is a country which has suffered the gravest of disasters since the Tuareg rebellion which began last year, and it now needs a coordinated nation-building approach from a foreign affairs, security – particularly following the French military intervention – and human rights perspective in order to rebuild its institutions and establish trust between government and citizens.

Partnership and cooperation agreement with Afghanistan - Delivered in Plenary, 13th June 2013
Shortly it will be twelve years since the US-led invasion of Afghanistan, and with the 2014 withdrawal deadline looming for ISAF forces it is paramount that progress does not unravel as Western troops leave the country. It is essential that withdrawal is measured and sensitive to regional developments, and increasingly vigilant as the Afghan army and police begin to take full responsibility again for national security.

Reception of applicants for international protection - Delivered in Plenary, 12th June 2013
I am extremely proud to represent my London constituency, which is widely recognised as being one of the most multicultural and diverse cities in the world.

Adjustment rate to agriculture direct payments - Delivered in Plenary, 12th June 2013
Agriculture has always been embedded in Britain’s history and culture. Indeed Shepherd’s Bush, Wormwood Scrubs and Lincoln’s Inn Fields, in my very own London constituency, were once thriving agricultural areas. Furthermore, with the profitability of agriculture in the London green belt having increased in recent times, the impact of the CAP on Britain is of personal interest to me.

2013 review of the organisation and functioning of the EEAS - Delivered in Plenary, 12th June 2013
I was initially quite sceptical about the EEAS, which had the potential to seize an unacceptable level of power from national governments. However, I have now slightly tempered my views, and under Cathy Ashton we have seen an institution develop from scratch which has the potential to add value in those consensual areas of foreign affairs, human rights, security and defence policy, where all EU Member States speak with one voice and where no conflict occurs with NATO.

A broader Transatlantic partnership - Delivered in Plenary, 12th June 2013
I have just attended a party to say goodbye to US Ambassador to the EU, William Kennard, and I am conscious of the fact that there are no stronger Atlanticists in this Parliament than my group, the ECR. I join colleagues from across this Chamber in welcoming a broader transatlantic partnership, specifically through the institution of a TTIP agreement between the EU and the USA.

Organised crime, corruption and money laundering - Delivered in Plenary, 11th June 2013
In March of this year Europol – sadly and alarmingly – described my London constituency as being the organised crime capital of Europe. So undoubtedly cross-border organised crime is a major threat and problem, both to my constituents and to the wider EU, and definitely needs a coordinated response.

Labour conditions and health and safety standards in Bangladesh - Delivered in Plenary, 23rd May 2013
All of us in this House would wish to send our condolences to the people of Bangladesh following the horrendous disaster at the Rana Plaza factory in Dhaka. In my London constituency there are more than 150 000 British Bangladeshis, some of whom will have lost loved ones in the disaster.

Asset recovery to Arab Spring countries in transition - Delivered in Plenary, 22nd May 2013
The Arab Spring was intended to embody the essence of political freedom: the fundamental right of populations to determine how they live and how they are governed. That spirit of freedom and democracy which swept away the rigid secular tyrannies in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt bore justice at its centre, but too much was stolen from the people for too long.

2012 comprehensive monitoring report on Croatia - Delivered in Plenary, 17th April 2013
Certainly not in Strasbourg for MEPs every month. Anyway, the ECR Group has always supported EU enlargement and the benefits that it can bring to former Communist countries, both in Eastern Europe and in the Western Balkans. It has now taken Croatia nine years of negotiations to follow its neighbour Slovenia into the European Union family. This is a development that we should fully welcome.

2012 progress report on Turkey - Delivered in Plenary, 17th April 2013
Turkey is an economic and political powerhouse straddling both Europe and Asia and embedded in both those continents throughout its history and by modern geopolitical and social realities.

2012 progress report on Montenegro - Delivered in Plenary, 17th April 2013
It has been my great privilege to act as Montenegro’s standing rapporteur for this Parliament. Montenegro is a small but beautiful country with much to contribute to the world’s stage and is undoubtedly a success story in the long and tortuous narrative of Western Balkan European accession.

2012 progress report on Serbia - Delivered in Plenary, 17th April 2013
It is hard to imagine that just 14 years ago the cities of Serbia were being bombed by NATO jets and there was a dictator in power. It seemed unthinkable then that Serbia would so quickly be transformed into a stable, prosperous democracy, now with candidate status to join the European Union. We can all celebrate this coming to pass so quickly.

Credit institutions and prudential supervision - Delivered in Plenary, 16th April 2013
There can be no doubt that, since the 2008 global credit crunch and the collapse of many banks internationally – which is still a problem, as evidenced by the most recent crisis in Cyprus and possibly now in Slovenia – all is not well with the capital adequacy of our banks, hence the need to tighten requirements under the Basel III agreements.

Groundhandling services at European Union airports - Delivered in Plenary, 16th April 2013
Although the aim of the proposed new regulations on ground handling services at European Union airports has good intentions, such as attempting to open the market and increase airport efficiency, there is severe doubt that it would actually add much value to the existing directive.

Equal treatment between men and women in the access to and supply of goods and services - Delivered in Plenary, 16th April 2013
Gender equality is of course something which all politicians should support. Women have been historically discriminated against and the global battle for emancipation of the sexes has not yet been fully won. Nevertheless, equality is an extremely complex issue.

Advancing development through trade - Delivered in Plenary, 16th April 2013
The EU started life as a trading bloc, and its most fundamental and appealing quality remains that it is a bastion of free trade in which the wide exchange of goods and services builds prosperity for those who participate in its networks

Trade and investment-driven growth for developing countries - Delivered in Plenary, 16th April 2013
I am very honoured, thank you. Everybody in this House should be in favour of boosting trade for the benefit of developing countries and the least-developed nations of this planet, and this report has much to recommend it. Several passages rightly address the need to boost access to major markets by improving, for instance, good governance and economic diversification

Situation of women in North Africa - Delivered in Plenary, 14th March 2013
Spring heralded many positive changes in this politically repressed part of the world, but it is our duty now to ensure that women’s rights do not suffer from the continuing upheavals and increased extremism in the region.

Overseas countries and territories - Delivered in Plenary, 14th March 2013
The legacy of hundreds of years of European history dictates that there are many far away territories that still fall under the sovereignty of Member States. While not officially EU territory, they nevertheless deserve our political and financial support.

Multiannual Financial Framework - Delivered in Plenary, 14th March 2013
The annual budget and the multiannual financial framework (MFF) are the anchor and core around which the entire EU functions, and nothing that the EU does can take place without them. The importance of the annual budget and the MFF cannot be overstated. Agreeing the seven-year budget-cap MFF is therefore the most precious responsibility that we MEPs have: it is a power both material and symbolic.

European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) - Delivered in Plenary, 14th March 2013
Agriculture and CAP support to rural communities is a common thread across all EU Member States, but the industry varies in importance, from those whose economies rely on productive farming, such as Poland, to those with a much smaller agricultural sector such as my country, the UK. For all of us, rural development is the key to a healthy agricultural industry, but ultimately, I would like to see radical downsizing of the whole CAP scheme.

Energy roadmap 2050 - Delivered in Plenary, 14th March 2013
Energy security will, in many ways, be the key to the future prosperity of my country and all other Member States – which must think long-term and be forward-looking in this respect. It is crucial that we seek ways to diversify our energy sources and thus to protect all European countries from external influences which affect costs for consumers and threaten energy security.

Risk and safety assessments of nuclear power plants in the European Union - Delivered in Plenary, 14th March 2013
Nuclear power is the energy of the present and the future; it is cleaner in terms of greenhouse gas emission, and more efficient and more sustainable than any other prominent energy source. It is crucial that we recognise the potential of nuclear energy. It is also crucial that we do so cautiously. Stress tests on nuclear power plants are very necessary to ensure the safe production of this form of energy. These plants must be able to withstand strain such as that associated with earthquakes.

Protection of public health from endocrine disrupters - Delivered in Plenary, 14th March 2013
We all strive to protect our constituents from undue harm when possible. Health risks certainly fall within this remit.

Integration of migrants - Delivered in Plenary, 14th March 2013
The workforce is an essential component of any country: it is the workforce that upholds national economies and supports our national populations. As our working-age population declines across the Member States, we should all share concerns over the negative effect this trend will have within our countries.

Match-fixing and corruption in sport - Delivered in Plenary, 14th March 2013
If there is anything all of us in the EU share, it is a love of football. We certainly do not always agree on the same clubs, but people follow football with a passion, from London to Poland. We owe it to the football fans across our constituencies to ensure that criminally-fixed matches are prevented and the legitimacy of the game is upheld everywhere.

Global cotton value chain - Delivered in Plenary, 14th March 2013
Cotton is one of the unique materials that could be classified as a universal commodity. The material is found across industries and markets and produced all around the world. It is also of great interest to farming, textile and clothing businesses throughout the European Union, including the city I represent, London.

Situation in Bangladesh - Delivered in Plenary, 14th March 2013
When I was in Dhaka five years ago I visited the national Liberation War Museum and saw first hand the documented evidence of the atrocities carried out during the 1971 war of independence. These were mainly perpetrated on minorities, particularly the Hindus, Christians and Buddhists, who were deemed by virtue of their religion not to be loyal to Pakistan.

Iraq: plight of minority groups, in particular the Iraqi Turkmen - Delivered in Plenary, 14th March 2013
10 years after the allied military intervention, the Iraqi people sadly continue to be victims of violence and disorder on a depressingly regular basis.

Nuclear threats and human rights in North Korea - Delivered in Plenary, 13th March 2013
North Korea remains one of the most isolated and brutal dictatorships in the world, with a dangerous nuclear programme which risks a regional nuclear arms race. The recent atomic tests and ballistic missile experiments with weaponising its nuclear payload mean that the international community, via the Six Powers, and the EU now, must redouble its efforts to get the DPRK to sign the CTBT and reunify peacefully with the South.

Syria, with specific reference to the humanitarian situation - Delivered in Plenary, 13th March 2013
Each time we debate Syria the situation appears more desperate. Both sides are determined that they can win this war and seem content to entrench themselves in a battle of attrition regardless of the human cost. Assad, in particular, has reached the stage where he is prepared to reduce his once great country to a wasteland of rubble and blood, all for the purposes of retaining power and escaping justice – a megalomaniac’s Pyrrhic victory.

Situation in Mali - Delivered in Plenary, 13th March 2013
I had only a minor role to play, with three other doctors, but when duty calls, we do our best in the circumstances. I was only concerned about the length of time it took for the ambulance and the emergency medics to come from the local hospital. It was far too long a delay, but we will talk about that some other time.

EU-China relations - Delivered in Plenary, 13th March 2013
The ECR has always acknowledged the PRC as a constructive and essential global partner, and I do hope that one day we will be able to welcome it into the family of nations as a peace-loving and democratic China, with full respect for human rights – a bit like Taiwan. For the time being however, it remains a one-party Communist dictatorship with an alarmingly dismissive attitude to the welfare of its own people.

Alternative consumer dispute resolution - Delivered in Plenary, 12th March 2013
Many of our citizens’ main encounter with the EU single market comes from purchasing goods and services from other EU Member States. In principle, it is an excellent advertisement for free trade and healthy competition, and when these transactions operate smoothly it represents a great EU success story.

European venture capital funds - Delivered in Plenary, 12th March 2013
The thrust of this report on European venture capital funds is: how do we reconcile the appeals to professional investors to offer much needed risk capital to SMEs with the legitimate need to clamp down on tax havens? We must do all we can to help finance the small businesses which form the backbone of most of our economies and whose shareholders have frequently borne the brunt of the global financial turmoil.

Impact of the economic crisis on gender equality and women's rights - Delivered in Plenary, 12th March 2013
There are few in this Chamber who do not support the concept of gender equality and increased representation for women, and there is also broad agreement that the economic crisis has indeed created economic hardship for women in some parts of the EU.

Eliminating gender stereotypes in the EU - Delivered in Plenary, 12th March 2013
Perhaps the Liotard report will be most remembered for eliciting such a protest from enraged EU citizens, who have flooded our e-mail boxes, condemning Parliament’s attempts to ban pornography and censor the Internet. But, while the tone of the report is much more sensible than this – which was somewhat hysterical – it still attempts to adopt powers that are reserved to EU Member State governments.

European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing - Delivered in Plenary, 7th February 2013
Ageing is a challenge we must all face and in fact, for the record, professionally I trained as an old-age psychiatrist. The elderly are a growing portion of the EU population and have a great deal to contribute to our societies. Growing older should have no correlation to quality of life and it is important that we ensure that all of our respective national elderly populations age with grace and with opportunities to continue to be active, to learn new things and to enjoy their lives.

Corporate social responsibility - Delivered in Plenary, 7th February 2013
Corporate social responsibility programmes can have powerful impacts at local level on alleviating social issues throughout the world. For businesses which choose to create such programmes and have the capacity to manage them, I fully support their endeavours, but businesses should have the right to choose whether or not to participate in such programmes and this decision lies firmly with its shareholders and boards of directors.

Governance of the single market - Delivered in Plenary, 7th February 2013
For the British Conservatives the Single Market is the backbone of the European Union. As such it is integral to the existence of the Union, offering 500 million people in the world’s largest economic bloc the right to trade freely and competitively. Against the backdrop of the financial crisis a strong comprehensive Single Market is required now more than ever and can only be achieved through a framework of strong governance and leadership.

Judicial training - court coordinators - Delivered in Plenary, 7th February 2013
Duplication and redundancy is a plague amongst many of our national governments. In an international organisation such as the EU, we must be even more vigilant in avoiding repetition and in streamlining our efforts. Efforts to promote a European judicial standard are already under way in the area of civil law.

Laos: the case of Sombath Somphone - Delivered in Plenary, 7th February 2013
the mysterious disappearance of Sombath Somphone, who is a well-known critic and dissident in Laos, is a deep tragedy indeed and, from the video footage, it is widely suspected that the security service or the police may be involved, but proof of course is lacking.

Detention of human rights activists in Zimbabwe - Delivered in Plenary, 7th February 2013
It is an oft-peddled cliché that Zimbabwe travelled in the course of a few years from bread-basket to basket case. Certainly 10 years ago it stared into an economic abyss as Mugabe’s tyrannical regime impoverished, suppressed and exploited his own people.

Recent attacks on medical aid workers in Pakistan - Delivered in Plenary, 7th February 2013
the case of medical workers being brutally murdered in Pakistan simply for trying to protect children from a crippling disease – polio – exposes the moral bankruptcy at the heart of the Taliban. In their quest to subjugate women and spread lies about vaccinations making Muslim children infertile, they have not only further poisoned the political outlook in Pakistan, but potentially put a generation of children at risk of disease for the sake of their vicious and distorted dogma.

Prices of medicinal products for human use - Delivered in Plenary, 6th February 2013
20 years ago there were only 12 Member States and the single market was only a few months old. Despite all the fundamental changes that have occurred since then, the existing directive regulating the pricing of pharmaceutical products has not once been amended. It is therefore absolutely necessary to update this directive in the interests of patients and health insurance providers.

Common fisheries policy - Delivered in Plenary, 6th February 2013
It scarcely needs to be pointed out that the radical change to the common fisheries policy is long overdue. For years the sight of British fishermen being compelled to throw discards back into the sea – something like one million tonnes of these dead fish yearly, and they are perfectly edible fish – demonstrated an unfeeling absurdity in EU policy and fomented deep domestic resentment in the UK about the over-extension of European Union power.

Sound level of motor vehicles - Delivered in Plenary, 6th February 2013
Anyone who has visited my region of London can attest to the fact that the capital city is plagued by noise pollution. My constituents and I would certainly appreciate reduced noise levels in the city, but Londoners also have a love of motor sports and luxury vehicles and many are connected to the UK’s substantial auto industry. Ultimately they would not be willing to trade economic growth for slightly quieter streets.

Elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls - Delivered in Plenary, 6th February 2013
I doubt there is a single decent-minded politician who would not welcome efforts to combat the scourge of violence against women and girls. Despite the progress of the last fifty years it is shocking that violence against women continues to be perpetrated in every country in the world, including even children, such as the recent case in Pakistan.

Improving access to finance for SMEs - Delivered in Plenary, 5th February 2013
If big business forms the backbone of a modern economy, such as the one in my region of London, then small and medium-sized enterprises could be described as its heart. They have suffered the most under the global financial crisis, so I am delighted to support EU growth measures to boost SMEs and protect them as far as possible from the economic uncertainties and increased red tape of today.

Iraq - Delivered in Plenary, 17th January 2013
The ECR Group accepts the need to sign the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement with Iraq. However, we abstained during the vote on the resolution on the situation in the country.

EC-Eastern and Southern Africa States Economic Partnership Agreement - Delivered in Plenary, 17th Janaury 2013
I welcome the promotion of free trade as the cornerstone of EU external commercial policy. The Cotonou Agreement enabled African, Caribbean and Pacific countries to have a trade and development relationship with us covering not just trade in goods but also services, trade-related rules and development cooperation.

Regulation on mandatory marking of origin - Delivered in Plenary, 17th Janaury 2013
Is it vitally necessary to stamp ‘made in the UK’ on every product made in my country? Although emotionally appealing, this proposed regulation is all about compulsion, rarely welcomed by business. It can add to commercial costs without providing a durable consumer benefit.

State of play of EU-Mercosur trade relations - Delivered in Plenary, 17th Janaury 2013
The EU is Latin America’s second largest trading partner after the US, and its leading investor. Although only a handful of European countries are commercially active in the region, the GBP 200 billion of direct investment is not spread evenly across the continent. Mexico, Argentina, Brazil and Chile take the lion’s share of this money but they are not responding with measures to open their markets.

Violence against women in India - Delivered in Plenary, 17th January 2013
We must remember that India is a strong, secular democratic country with a firm commitment to human rights. Much of the comment directed at India since this appalling murder has lambasted its so-called ‘rape culture’, but given the report’s statistics on rape and sexual assault in Europe, and indeed worldwide, we must be extremely careful before throwing stones from glass houses.

Human rights situation in Bahrain - Delivered in Plenary, 17th Janaury 2013
Let me make it clear that much of what has happened in the kingdom of Bahrain since the anti-government protests began two years again has been unacceptable. The police have frequently acted with gross disproportionality, and innocent protestors have indeed been killed.

Modification of Parliament's calendar of part-sessions - 2013 - Delivered in Plenary, 16th Janaury 2013
I just want to speak on this very important issue. It may be a little insensitive perhaps with the 50th anniversary of the Elysée Treaty coming up next Tuesday to stand in the city where a former Conservative Party leader, Winston Churchill, called for Europe to unite after the war and say that all MEPs must leave this city.

Public finances in EMU - 2011 and 2012 - Delivered in Plenary, 16th January 2013
The eurozone crisis gives me no pleasure and unemployment and recession are evils that nobody deserves, but they are a consequence of the profligacy and irresponsibility of some governments which avoided the choices that many other governments had to make in the 1980s and 1990s.

Credit rating agencies - Delivered in Plenary, 16th January 2013
Credit rating agencies have been widely blamed for their role in the financial crisis of 2008. They triple-A rated the US mortgage-backed securities, which ultimately caused the collapse of institutions such as Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers and AIG.

Feasibility of introducing stability bonds - Delivered in Plenary, 16th January 2013
The eurozone crisis – which I actually wrote about as inevitable a decade ago – is an existential challenge to the European integrationalist project. It is therefore not surprising that European leaders – the ones most committed to further political union – will do whatever it takes to resolve this matter.

Situation in Syria - Delivered in Plenary, 16th January 2013
It is hard to believe that the Syrian conflict has now been going on for two years with so many lives lost and so little achieved in terms of bringing peace to a once stable Middle Eastern country. Only yesterday 87 people were killed in a bombing attack on Aleppo’s university campus.

EU-Iraq partnership and cooperation agreement - Delivered in Plenary, 16th January 2013
It is clear that Iraq has made some progress since the fall of Saddam Hussein, but key concerns remain about the stability of the country and the state of human rights within it. Iraq’s government is fragile and its people continue to face the daily anxiety of terrorism and intercommunal violence. Only today, ten people were reportedly killed in an attack on political offices in Kirkuk.

Recent casualties in textile factory fires, notably in Bangladesh - Delivered in Plenary, 16th January 2013
We must bear in mind above all that Bangladesh is a relatively stable secular democracy which expends genuine effort to fulfil its human rights obligations, and it depends very much on EU textile trade to create jobs in this country. What happened in the textile factory fire was a grave and genuine human tragedy, but I have received assurances of a thorough investigation by the Bangladeshi authorities and support for their families.

Recommendations of the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference - Delivered in Plenary, 16th January 2013
Despite my initial misgivings, this resolution put before Parliament is broadly in line with the views of the ECR and therefore we can support it. Certainly its aspirations that the Middle East should be an area free from weapons of mass destructions are shared by all of us. In a highly charged region, heavily susceptible to conflict, the dangers of nuclear proliferation are self-evident.

Urban redevelopment as contribution to economic growth - Delivered in Plenary, 15th January 2013
The Cozzolino report on urban development as a contribution to EU growth concludes that the EU Cohesion Policy must focus on developing and assisting local initiatives. As an MEP for London, this of course makes sense to me. We must avoid taxpayers’ money being filtered by bureaucratic layers, leaving only residues for those that are targeted.

Role of territorial development in cohesion policy - Delivered in Plenary, 15th January 2013
The report on territorial development and cohesion policy focuses on how to improve the funding programmes in the forthcoming 2014–2020 MMF, but it is too prescriptive, and its advocacy for increased funding is frankly not acceptable. Funding needs to be reduced.

European Union Solidarity Fund, implementation and application - Delivered in Plenary, 15th January 2013
The report on the EU Solidarity Fund dealing with assistance to Member States following national disasters, acknowledges that austerity across the Union precludes an increase in the budget line allocated to the Fund and this aspect I particularly welcome. So I also welcome the Commission’s recent decisions that changes in the Solidarity Fund will not impose any additional financial burden on both the Member States and the EU’s budget.

Intellectual property rights on genetic resources - Delivered in Plenary, 15th January 2013
The report on the development aspects of intellectual property rights and genetic resources overlaps with a key component of the MDG, namely the global protection and preservation of biodiversity, which is being lost at an alarming rate. In this context, biopiracy, which is the misappropriation of indigenous medicinal plant knowledge, has also emerged as a concern for developing countries.

Situation in Mali - Delivered in Plenary, 15th January 2013
The situation in Mali has rapidly become one of the most pressing and alarming issues facing the globe, both in humanitarian terms and in the wider international context of security. Ever since I was appointed as rapporteur for human rights in the Sahel, the outlook on the ground has deteriorated beyond measure.

EU strategy for the Horn of Africa - Delivered in Plenary, 14th January 2013
The whole of Africa is one of the most tense and conflict-prone regions of the world. The countries of the region – Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan and Uganda – continue to be characterised by strife.