• Charles   TANNOCK  

Charles TANNOCK : Written explanations of vote - 8th parliamentary term 

Members can submit a written explanation of their vote in plenary. Rule 194

Use of digital tools and processes in company law (A8-0422/2018 - Tadeusz Zwiefka)  
 

With a potential customer base of over 500 million, surely one of the most indisputable benefits of EU membership is the ability to trade with and set up shop in any one of the EU’s 28 Member States. Many have taken advantage of this opportunity, which increases competition, drives innovation and promotes prosperity. However, it is clear that e-government services vary hugely between Member States and information on business registries and requirements can be patchy. I am therefore voting in support of this proposal to reduce burdens on entrepreneurs seeking to establish a business or branch in another Member State via digital means. There are measures in the report which make it the norm to only have to submit documents once and not have to be physically present in the country in which the business is being established. Given the digitalisation in all areas of life, this seems to be a practical and timely approach. I am pleased to support this tightening up of regulations and hope that many across Europe see their businesses flourish as a result of it.

Programme for the Environment and Climate Action (LIFE) (A8-0397/2018 - Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy)  
 

I am aware of the deep concern amongst many of my constituents about the undeniable threats to the environment, biodiversity and climate as a result of the impact on our planet of the choices we make. Recent protests in my constituency of London such as the Climate Strike in March attended by school children have pressed this point home. I am pleased therefore to see that the EU’s funding instrument for the environment and climate action, LIFE, could see an increased budget of EUR 5.45 billion for the next programme from 2021. LIFE has already funded 244 projects in the UK since its inception in 1992 and EUR 262 million of EU funds have been channelled back into environmental projects. In London we have seen a range of initiatives win this funding from local clean up projects, and social housing improvements, to efforts to reduce food waste in the capital. I am pleased to see that the programme remains open to association with non-EU countries and so I hope that the UK government will consider adding this to the long list of other instruments to which we should request an opt-in when the UK leave the EU.

Interoperability between EU information systems in the field of borders and visa (A8-0347/2018 - Jeroen Lenaers)  
 

. ‒ Increasing concern about the scale of migration from the EU has placed border control at the forefront of the public’s consciousness, particularly in recent years amidst the Brexit saga. An enhanced information-sharing system is urgently required if public trust in the European Union’s border security is to be maintained. In the UK this is particularly important given all we stand to lose in terms of cooperation and information sharing should a security-cliff-edge, no-deal Brexit take place.
This proposal would collate all EU information systems and provide a fast, simple and efficient tool enabling border officials to make quick judgements at the border gate. Biometric and biographical data could be cross-referenced and searched across multiple databases simultaneously, which would provide a powerful new system for the EU as a whole. I am pleased therefore to vote in favour of this proposal and I sincerely hope that the UK will be permitted to participate for the foreseeable future.

Copyright in the Digital Single Market (A8-0245/2018 - Axel Voss)  
 

. ‒ The Digital Single Market Copyright proposal, which took three years to negotiate, highlights the arduous and intricate nature of EU decision-making, a fact that is now starkly evident to those who said at the start that Brexit negotiations would be easy. Compromises on even focussed policy proposals like copyright must be hard-fought to ensure that the best outcome is achieved that provides a fair balance for all parties. I feel that this has been accomplished in this case. I understand that many interested parties on both sides of the debate have deep concerns about copyright changes and how this will affect a free and fair internet. Many of my constituents have contacted me on this issue. However, I am satisfied that the exemptions and derogations that have been negotiated to protect revenues for content producers and provide exceptions for the education and research sector are sufficient. It is particularly important in the United Kingdom to safeguard the rights of the creative industries, such as the music industry, where we have so much talent and value added to our economy. I am pleased to vote in favour of this proposal.

Common rules ensuring basic air connectivity with regard to the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the Union (A8-0062/2019 - Pavel Telička)  
 

The necessity of this proposal which seeks to ensure basic air connectivity should the EU and UK fail to approve a withdrawal agreement before 29 March shows just how interconnected and reliant the UK’s airline industry is on its European neighbours. I was pleased to see that the rapporteur has accepted some of the amendments put forward by the ECR group such as allowing code-sharing to continue on a reciprocal basis as well as a one-year derogation for airlines to meet the EU’s rules on ownership and control. Despite these amendments, however, it is still the case that were the airline industry forced to have to rely on this proposal should the UK crash out, they would still feel significant negative effects as a direct result of Brexit and would lose many of the freedoms they currently enjoy to function within the European single market. I sincerely hope that a way forward can be found to render this proposal unnecessary but I will be abstaining on this report in recognition that although it is far from ideal, such an agreement would be better than nothing.

Policy challenges and strategies against women's cancers and related comorbidities (B8-0097/2019)  
 

As a medical doctor working within the National Health Service in my constituency of London before my time as an MEP, and as a cancer survivor myself, I fully support this motion for resolution which encourages the establishment of an EU preventative strategy on cancer which disaggregates information by sex in order to better target actions for cancer patients.
Despite significant progress in research and treatment in recent years, the cancer statistics are still difficult to read. A third of all Europeans will receive a cancer diagnosis at some point in their lifetime and 26% of people will die of cancer. It is also obviously the case that some of the most fatal cancers, such as cervical and uterine, only affect women, and that breast cancer, which has one of the highest mortality rates, is most commonly found in women too.
Consequently, I think it is a sensible approach to develop strategies to share best practice between Member States and implement preventative cancer screening and awareness raising measures to decrease cancer rates. I sincerely hope that the UK will recognise the advantages of this approach after Brexit.

Implementation of the cross-border Healthcare Directive (A8-0046/2019 - Ivo Belet)  
 

. ‒ Many British citizens will have had to access healthcare whilst travelling abroad and will have been grateful for the ease with which this has been possible with the EHIC card and reciprocal rights for cross-border healthcare. However, it is not just holidaymakers who make use of reciprocal healthcare arrangements. Patients suffering from rare diseases, for whom relevant expertise and treatment may not always be available in the UK, have had, until now, the possibility of travelling to other EU countries without having to worry about complicated administrative requirements. Under the current Brexit agreement these reciprocal rights will continue until the end of the implementation period but the situation after this is dependent on the outcome of negotiations. Should the UK crash out of the European Union there may well be no reciprocal arrangements in place, creating huge uncertainty and anxiety for those who rely on cross-border healthcare.
I will be abstaining on this report as the situation regarding Brexit negotiations is still so uncertain. However, I sincerely hope that should the UK leave the EU there will be enough goodwill on both sides to ensure that those who rely on these reciprocal arrangements are not made to suffer unnecessarily.

EU Emergency Travel Document (A8-0433/2018 - Kinga Gál)  
 

. – Any UK citizens who have been in the unfortunate position of losing their passport or having it stolen whilst travelling abroad will be grateful that the EU emergency travel document exists. I am therefore pleased to vote in favour of this report. The ETD was established twenty years ago and its rules and format need to be updated to prevent counterfeiting. It is also the case that millions of EU citizens travel to countries outside the EU in which there is no permanent consulate or representation. In such situations, EU citizens can turn to any Member State consulate for assistance in order to be granted a travel document. This protection, built on the right of freedom of movement, is a little known benefit of EU membership where cooperation and protection are the foundations of a peaceful Europe. The UK Government will need to significantly enhance consulate capacity in embassies across the EU post-Brexit so that British citizens who are stranded abroad are still able to acquire emergency travel documents in the same way. This is yet another area where new agreements will have to be reached in order for the UK to exit the EU in an orderly fashion.

Autonomous driving in European transport (A8-0425/2018 - Wim van de Camp)  
 

. – As the rapporteur states in this own initiative report on autonomous driving, our mobility system is undergoing profound changes as we move towards a safer, cleaner, digitised transport network. The possibilities that digital technology could offer European transport are almost limitless and in my constituency of London, where road traffic and overcrowded public transport are commonplace, any advances in technology should be viewed with avid interest. Autonomous cars, aeroplanes, ships and trains could increase safety for all users, improve public transport and traffic flow, and reduce environmental impacts. However, this innovation would bring with it significant issues such as interoperability across borders, harmonised technical standards for infrastructure, data protection concerns, liability and ethics. It would also be important that any changes in employment patterns are addressed so that transport workers are not simply replaced by technology. The potential impacts of automation are significant but I have concerns that mandatory fitting of technologies would pass substantial costs onto manufacturers and consumers alike. For this reason I will be voting against the report. Although I welcome the potential that these technologies could bring, consumers must be free to choose whether or not they adopt them in the future.

EU guidelines and the mandate of the EU Special Envoy on the promotion of freedom of religion or belief outside the EU (A8-0449/2018 - Andrzej Grzyb)  
 

. – I am pleased to vote in favour of this report on the guidelines and mandate of the EU Special Envoy on FoRB. The issue of religious discrimination and persecution remains a salient and worrying issue. According to religious freedom charities, radical Islam promoting terrorism is moving from the Middle East to sub-Saharan Africa, and authoritarian states are increasing their use of legal regulations to prevent apostasy and limit freedom of expression and assembly. Freedom of thought, conscience, religion and belief is one of the universal human rights on which the EU community is built and it is right that defending this freedom for persecuted minorities should be a high priority. Consequently, during the next mandate I would be pleased to see the position of Special Envoy linked more closely to the office of the High Representative so that this issue can remain high on the policy agenda. By working together, the EU can be highly influential in protecting persecuted minorities across the world. I hope that the UK, as part of post-Brexit European relations, can do all it can to assist in this vital endeavour.

Establishing Horizon Europe – laying down its rules for participation and dissemination (A8-0401/2018 - Dan Nica)  
 

The next proposed Framework Programme, Horizon Europe, which will run from 2021 until 2027 showcases the value added by critical mass advantages of European Union membership. Universities and research institutes in my constituency of London have received the highest share of H2020 grants of any UK region and have benefitted from highly productive collaborative partnerships throughout Europe for years. In this next tranche of funding for scientific research, the main principles will remain the same and investment will be focussed on supporting research excellence. I am pleased too to see a budget increase to €120bn and increased support for SMEs. It is inescapable that the UK research community will be deeply affected by Brexit. Although the UK government have committed to underwrite EU funding this will only apply to existing projects or those with successful applications already submitted. Associate membership of Horizon Europe after Brexit will hopefully be an option but will provide significantly diminished influence and risks research funding being used as a pawn as happened with Switzerland. It is vital that excellent, innovative research is properly funded over the next ten years. I sincerely hope that sensible arrangements can be made for UK participation in collaborative research to continue.

Findings and recommendations of the Special Committee on Terrorism (A8-0374/2018 - Monika Hohlmeier, Helga Stevens)  
 

I am pleased to vote in favour of this comprehensive and detailed report drafted by the Special Committee on Terrorism as a response to the tragic high impact terrorist attacks on EU soil in recent years, including a tragic one in the very city in which I was present this week, Strasbourg. My constituency of London has seen several deplorable attacks on civilians in 2017; events which violate the key values of human dignity, equality and solidarity on which our country and the European Union is based. We have seen numerous other examples of attacks in Europe committed by terrorists who have fled across borders, hired vehicles and used pre-paid credit cards in one country before committing an attack in another. I am relieved therefore that in the joint political declaration between the UK and the EU, both parties have provisionally agreed to continue close security cooperation and data exchange, including through Europol and Eurojust, which will continue post-Brexit although there are no clear details on how the UK will circumvent the ECJ, for instance. The UK cannot afford to backtrack on progress that has been made to tackle terrorism.

Complementing EU type-approval legislation with regard to the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the Union (A8-0359/2018 - Marlene Mizzi)  
 

. ‒ I support this report, which allows approvals for motor manufacturers to be granted by another EU Member State’s type-approval authority rather than the UK’s type-approval authority. Although it is not widely known, for some vehicle manufacturers the ability to place vehicles on the EU market is tied to approvals that have been granted by the UK type-approval authority.
This is yet another negative consequence of Brexit, as approvals issued by the UK approval authority will become null and void in the event of a no-deal scenario. It is therefore necessary to ensure that both UK and European manufacturing companies have the requisite legal approval to continue to sell their products in the EU. This is essential if the UK and EU motor industries are to continue to flourish and remain competitive in a global marketplace. It remains to be seen what overall effect UK manufacturers will feel in terms of investment in the event of a no-deal Brexit but it is clear that it is in the best interests of all for this to be avoided.

Rail passengers' rights and obligations (A8-0340/2018 - Bogusław Liberadzki)  
 

The overall aim of this report is to deliver an improved railway system across Europe with affordable ticket prices, consumer protection, accessibility and low administrative burdens on rail network operators. There is a lot in this report that I can commend. However, there are some compromises proposed in the text that would be impractical and inflexible; insisting for example that every train provides space for eight bicycles would cut down the space for travellers in often already overcrowded carriages. Additionally, requiring meaningful and proper consultation before any service is discontinued is a good idea in principle but in practice train operators would effectively be banned from stopping a service if there is significant damage to the line, as happened in Devon after the sea wall collapsed several years ago. I will therefore be voting against the report given the impractical nature of the final text. I note that the scope of the report will only be limited to trains running between EU Member States and it remains to be seen if, following Brexit, the UK train industry will keep up with the innovations and standards set by the EU.

Lyme disease (Borreliosis) (B8-0514/2018)  
 

Lyme disease is a growing problem in Europe with cases in the UK alone increasing nine-fold over the last ten years. The detection and treatment of this tick—borne disease is not straightforward and sufferers often live through months of unexplained symptoms such as headaches, fatigue and arthritis before getting a proper diagnosis and treatment. The fact that there is no accurate description of Lyme disease epidemiology and also currently no available vaccine means that countering this potentially silent epidemic will require swift action and cooperation. This is why I support this Oral Question to the Commission calling for better data collection, reporting and coordination across Europe. The UK has been leading the way in responding to the increase in Lyme disease by publishing guidance on its clinical management and prevention after commissioning a research study which highlighted serious evidence gaps in our understanding of the illness. I sincerely hope that post—Brexit the UK can continue to participate in efforts to combat European health problems and in turn benefit from the research capacity that a coordinated Europe offers.

Mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund to provide assistance to Latvia (A8-0357/2018 - Inese Vaidere)  
 

I am pleased to vote in favour of the mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund to provide assistance to Latvia following the extremely heavy rainfall from August to October last year. Flooding destroyed crops and damaged watercourses, drainage systems, water treatment installations and transport infrastructure, with estimated costs reaching EUR 380 million. Clearly, this natural disaster affecting the livelihoods of many in the less developed Latgale region and the surrounding area was a result of an act of nature and it is therefore right that the European Union steps in to assist the Latvian Government with its clean-up efforts. The Solidarity Fund, mobilised in this way, plays a valuable role in rebuilding damaged infrastructure, which contributes not only to the Member State in question but also to Europe as a whole.

Free flow of non-personal data in the European Union (A8-0201/2018 - Anna Maria Corazza Bildt)  
 

I am pleased to vote in favour of this report on the free flow of non-personal data in the EU. It is hard to think of an industry that does not rely heavily on digital technologies and so removing technical barriers within the digital single market should only encourage growth and innovation. The free-flow of electronic data is vital to many industries and yet territorial obligations on the location of data centres is still enforced in certain Member States. It is right that individual governments retain the power to insist that certain data sets relating to national security remain within the boundaries of that Member State and I am pleased that the rapporteur has insisted on this point in the report. The digital world is moving forward apace and this regulation shows that the EU is doing everything possible to keep up.

Health technology assessment (A8-0289/2018 - Soledad Cabezón Ruiz)  
 

. ‒ Ever since the European Medicines Agency was set up in 1995, in my constituency of London, we have seen the benefits that joint clinical assessment of medical treatments at EU level can bring. However, it is clear that the medicines system in Europe needs to improve. The June 2016 Council conclusions underlined the concern that, despite spiralling drug costs, it is not always a given that new medicines will advance treatments or give significantly improve outcomes for patients.
This is why it is now a positive step for the Commission to consider setting up a stable system for assessing health technologies at EU level, so that Member States are not duplicating each other’s assessments and requiring health technology companies to share information numerous times.
There are some concerns in the report relating to compulsory participation of Member States in assessment reports, and it is important that the principle of subsidiarity is respected. For that reason, I abstained in the vote but I am acutely aware that cooperation at this level is simple common sense and I sincerely hope it will be carried over to the UK’s post-Brexit relationship with the EU.

Provision of audiovisual media services (A8-0192/2017 - Sabine Verheyen, Petra Kammerevert)  
 

The pace of change in the way television, film and other video content is consumed has been extraordinarily rapid. In the space of only a few years, the tradition of turning on the TV to watch a favourite show at a set time has all but disappeared, and in its place a huge amount of content is now available on demand, on a mobile phone or tablet.
It is right therefore that regulations are updated to reflect the realities of this changing market. Old media channels are justified in their call for a level playing field, and new media sources should be held responsible for protecting children from harmful content and ensuring that incitement to violence and child sexual abuse images are categorically not tolerated.
However, the rapporteur’s wish to include all live-streaming actors is problematic given the numbers of amateur ‘vloggers’ and the sheer proportion of content now available online. For this reason, I will be abstaining on the report. Updating this regulation is worthwhile, but it must be workable and balanced and not impede the audio-visual industry in Europe.

A European Strategy for Plastics in a circular economy (A8-0262/2018 - Mark Demesmaeker)  
 

I am pleased to vote in favour of this report which sends a firm signal on the need to reduce plastic pollution and promote a circular economy within plastic manufacturing. Plastic is still a vital product for the functioning of our society and economy but action needs to be taken to change the way products are designed, produced and recycled before our environment is irreparably damaged. Public understanding of this damage that single-use plastics in particular can cause is increasing and the EU and National governments need to pursue measures that will continue to encourage changes in consumer behaviour. It is telling that the UK government hope to work closely with the Commission on the plastics strategy even after Brexit, demonstrating that there are very few areas where working alone would be more effective that working together. It is hoped that the UK will continue to play an active role on a multi-lateral level in order to battle the negative impacts of plastic use.