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The European Parliament Office in Edinburgh produces a newsletter approximately six times a year.

Our newsletter contains topical news from the European Parliament that is relevant to Scotland, as well as news from all six Scottish MEPs.  It also includes details of past and future events organsied all by the Edinburgh Office.  Our events range from small seminars to large conferences about political issues on the European Parliament agenda, to screenings of the European Parliament LUX Film Prize winner and our annual pub quiz!  Our events take place all over Scotland, Northern Ireland and the North East of England.  

Issue 3, 2013

Recent events at the European Parliament

Cyprus crises

The banking and financial crises that came to a head in Cyprus recently resulted in an agreement on a bailout package between the Eurozone and Cypriot President, Nicos Anastasiades.  Among the conditions attached to the €10bn package, Cyprus must raise €5.8bn, including a major restructuring of the biggest bank in the nation, Bank of Cyprus, and the second biggest bank, Laiki, being wound up and split into a "good" bank and "bad" bank.  Depositors with less than €100,000 will see their money guaranteed, but larger depositors face significant losses.

European Parliament President Martin Schulz welcomed the deal and the fact that it "takes on board the European Parliament's clear call that deposits of less than €100 000 should be excluded from any levy." However, he pointed out a couple of lessons that should be learned from it: the fact that a banking union for the euro zone is needed, as well as tax coordination. Schulz also questioned how negotiations had been conducted. "The way the Cyprus case was handled is no way to do business in the EU.  Negotiations lacked transparency, democratic accountability and were badly communicated."  Sharon Bowles MEP, the chair of the EP Economic Committee, welcomed that the agreement was "based on a proper hierarchy of losses and on the acceptance that a bank can fail." However, she also expressed reservations about how the situation had been handled: "Citizens and markets are puzzled by the degree of improvisation that euro zone leaders have shown."

Date of European Elections agreed: 22 May 2014

EP website

In March, European Government decided that the next European Elections will take place in the weekend of 22-25 May, 014.  In the UK, that means polling day will be Thursday 22nd May.  The UK Government has proposed to hold a number of English local authority elections on the same day.  There are no planned local elections in Scotland in 2014, but the European elections will be the last test of national political opinion before the Independence Referendum in September.  Overall, 751 MEPs will be elected across the EU.  There will be 73 MEPs for the UK, and six representing Scotland.  UK legislation confirming the date and establishing the legal deadlines for the nomination of candidates and other technical matters is expected later this year.

EP adopts position on EU long-term budget

Common Fisheries Policy (CFP)

At its March session, the EP voted on its mandate to negotiate the EU budget for 2014-2020 with the Member States.  A majority of MEPs (506 to 161) voted to reject the February European Council agreement in its current form (although did not call for an increase in the overall ceilings).  MEPs insisted on the EU's legal obligation to avoid running a deficit, with no payments from 2012 and 2013 being allowed to run into the new budget period.  They also called for more flexibility within the budget and for a 'mid-term review'.  Liberal Democrat MEPs voted in favour of the EP position, SNP Members abstained, while Labour and Conservative MEPs voted against.

News from Scotland's MEPs

George Lyon MEPIan Hudghton MEPDavid Martin MEPStruan Stevenson MEPCatherine Stihler MEPAlyn Smith MEP

Ian Hudghton MEP has tabled a question to the European Commission asking what steps it is considering to encourage the EU mining industry whilst balancing this with sustainability concerns.

George Lyon MEP has said that the recent EP vote on CAP reform was good for Scotland as it allowed flexibility in moving away from historic payments, but he regretted the loss of flexibility on 'greening'.

David Martin MEP has welcomed the complete ban in the EU on the selling of cosmetic products and ingredients that have been tested on animals.

Alyn Smith MEP has said that EP vote on CAP reform was a "mixed bag" but that he was quite satisfied with the result, welcoming in particular the continuation of coupled support measures, so payments are still linked to production.

Struan Stevenson MEP has said that any EU ban on deep water trawling at depths below 200 metres would seriously harm the Scottish fishing industry.

Catherine Stihler MEP called for EU public procurement directives to become simpler and with greater flexibility, while supporting environmental protection and energy efficiency.

Recent Events in Scotland

Future of European Fisheries: discussion with Struan Stevenson MEP

The European Parliament Office in Scotland and Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) in Oban hosted a discussion with Struan Stevenson MEP on the Future of European Fisheries.  This event took place shortly after a series of votes on major reforms to the Common Fisheries Policy and covered likely next steps. It was followed by a Q&A.

Funding the EU and EU Funding in Scotland

A recording40th anniversary of UK accessionA video

On 22 February, the EP Office hosted a Conference entitled "Funding the EU and EU Funding in Scotland". It comprised two sessions. The first considered the recent European Council agreement on the long term EU budget (the Multi-Annual Financial Framework) and its implications for Scotland, with contributions from George Lyon MEP (LibDem), David Martin MEP (Lab), Struan Stevenson MEP (Con) and Cllr Drew Hendry (SNP).  The second, more technical session, considered what changes in EU funding programmes had been proposed, what lessons had been drawn from previous programmes and how organisations in Scotland keen to pursue European funding should approach the issue in future.   Materials from the events are available on our website.

Europe's Knowledge Economy: Women in Science

To mark International Women's Day 2013, on 8th March, the EP hosted a careers event for secondary school students, based on the theme of the Knowledge Economy.  The event looked at careers that studying science can offer and featured four women who had studied a science subject (or were still studying) talking about different directions in which their careers had led them.  The speakers were Prof Jean Beggs (Edinburgh University), Dr. Eleanore Irvine (Strathclyde University) and Kian Raafat (Edinburgh University).  Their talks were broadcast via the Education Scotland GLOW intranet, available to all Scottish schools, with a clip by Catherine Stihler MEP, who studied chemistry at St Andrews University, to be added later.  These clips will shortly be available on our website.

Upcoming events at the Edinburgh Information Office

2013: European Year of Citizens - It's Our Europe - Let's Get Active              
(23rd April, Edinburgh & Strasbourg)

' The Future of EU Fisheries.'

In Strasbourg on 23rd April, the European Ombudsman will host an event to help focus how European citizens can contribute to shaping the EU, either by using the European Citizens' Initiative (ECI), by turning to the European  Ombudsman, or by mobilising large groups of citizens to carry out grassroots initiatives.  He will be joined by the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz MEP.  The event will be web-streamed at www.ombudsman.europa.eu and broadcast live at the EP Edinburgh Office.  Contributions via Twitter (#eyc2013eo) will be invited throughout the event from those participating at all 33 EP Information Offices around Europe.  The event runs from 8.30 to 11.30. If you wish to participate, please send an e-mail to epedinburgh@ep.europa.eu

Europe Day     
(9th May, Edinburgh)

'Funding the EU and EU Funding in Scotland'

On 9th May, St Andrew's Square in Edinburgh will be the venue for an open-air exhibition to mark Europe Day.  The European Parliament Office, the European Commission, various European Members of the Edinburgh Consular Corps, the Scottish Government, Scotland Europa and others will have stands in the square, highlighting their work in Scotland. It will be open to all, and run for most of the day.

Europe Day Quiz     
(9th May. Edinburgh)

Also on the 9th of May, the European Parliament office in Edinburgh will host its traditional pub quiz at the Pleasance Bar at Edinburgh University, from 6.00.  The quiz will admit teams of up to 4 people and registration is essential. To register a team you can e-mail epedinburgh@ep.europa.eu

Scottish Resource Centre for Women in Science, Engineering and TechnologyEdinburgh University

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Issue 2, 2013

Recent events at the European Parliament

Funding the EU

The European Parliament's leadership has reminded EU Member States they still face negotiations over the EU's long-term budget before it can be approved by MEPs.

European Head of State and Government Council agreed spending plans for 2014-2020 on 8 February, but Parliament's four largest political groups have indicated that the deal as it is may not receive the necessary parliamentary majority. In a statement they said: "We see with astonishment that EU leaders agree to a budget that could lead to a structural deficit. Large gaps between payments and commitments will only store up trouble for the future and not solve existing problems." They also expressed concern that the budget as agreed will do too little to stimulate growth and job creation and called for the EU to have genuine own resources in order to reduce Member States' contributions.

Scottish MEPs and political parties have made their own comments on this issue - links to their websites can be found in the box to the right or via the EP Office in Scotland website.

Member States decided to cut the long-term budget - also known as the multiannual framework - by 3.4% or €34 billion, partly by reducing planned funding for investment in infrastructure, broadband, research and digitalisation.  EP President Schulz and leading MEPs will begin discussions on the agreement with European Council President Van Rompuy and Commission President Barroso on Monday 18th February.

Horsemeat scandal

EP website

The EP Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety will debate on Monday 18th February the EU response to the discovery of horsemeat in products labelled as containing beef, with representatives from the European Commission and EU Food Safety Agency (EFSA).  The meeting will be live-streamed on the EP website.

Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy

Common Fisheries Policy (CFP)

A major reform of the EU's Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) which aims to cut fishing to sustainable stock levels, end dumping at sea (discards), and base long-term planning on sound scientific data, was approved by the EP at its February session.  MEPs also insisted that the CFP should move to a more decentralised and regionalised approach to fisheries management with the appropriate involvement of stakeholders.  These proposals were adopted by 502 votes to 137.  Parliament will now start negotiations with the Council and the Commission.  The Irish Presidency of the EU Council has repeatedly said it hopes to achieve an agreement by the end of June.

News from Scotland's MEPs

George Lyon MEPIan Hudghton MEPDavid Martin MEPStruan Stevenson MEPCatherine Stihler MEPAlyn Smith MEP

Ian Hudghton MEP has welcomed the outcome of the European Parliament's February vote on reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

George Lyon MEP has welcomed the fact that the recent agreement for the medium term Common Agricultural Policy budget does not imply further cuts for Scottish farmers.  

David Martin MEP has called for measures to block extremist parties gaining access to public funding through European Political Parties structures.

Alyn Smith MEP has called on the European Commission to propose legislation to make country of origin labelling for meat products mandatory.

Struan Stevenson MEP was named "Fisheries MEP of the Year' for 2012 at the Parliament Magazine MEP Awards in January.

Catherine Stihler MEP spoke to the EP plenary in February to highlight the importance of ensuring that libraries have access to e-books.

Recent Events in Scotland

Euroscola Civic Reception

On 29 January, the Lord Provost of Glasgow hosted a civic reception at Glasgow City Halls for Glasgow students who attended the European Parliament's Euroscola Programme last November.  The students travelled to Strasbourg and spent the day discussing and debating European political issues with 600 fellow students from around Europe.  During their stay in Strasbourg they also conducted a number of projects in French, and hosted a Ceilidh!  Around 10,000 16-18 year olds participate in Euroscola each year, including two groups from Scotland.

40 Years UK/EU  

A recording40th anniversary of UK accessionA video

Throughout 2013, the UK Office of the European Parliament will be hosting a series of events linked to the 40th anniversary of UK accession to the EC (as it then was) on 1st January 1973.  A launch event was held in London on 11th January.  A video is available on the UK Office website.  On 25th January, the Office hosted a seminar with Alyn Smith MEP looking at the impact of UK membership on Scottish business and the Scottish economy, also featuring speakers from the Scotch Whisky Association and Scottish Enterprise.  A recording of their presentations and the debate which followed is available on our website.  Some background papers are available on our website, including a short summary by Professor Jo Shaw of the Scottish experience of UK membership.

Upcoming events at the Edinburgh Information Office

The Future of EU Fisheries
(21st February 2013 18:00-19:00, Oban)

' The Future of EU Fisheries.'

On 21st February 2013 The European Parliament Office in Scotland and Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) are holding a forum on ' The Future of EU Fisheries.' This will take place at the Scottish Marine Institute in Oban. The programme includes a lecture by Struan Stevenson MEP. The event is free to attend but you need to register by emailing epedinburgh@ep.europa.eu or calling 0131 557 7866.

Funding the EU and EU Funding in Scotland
(22nd February 2013, 9:00-14:00, Glasgow)

'Funding the EU and EU Funding in Scotland'

On 22nd February the European Parliament Office in Scotland is holding a conference in Glasgow on 'Funding the EU and EU Funding in Scotland'. Speakers include MEPs, academics and representatives of local and national government. Struan Stevenson MEP (Con), George Lyon MEP (LibDem), and David Martin MEP (Lab) will all speak. For more information please email epedinburgh@ep.europa.eu or call 0131 557 7866.

Europe's Knowledge Economy: Women in Science
(8th March 2013, Edinburgh)

To mark International Women's Day on 8th March, the EP Office, in Scotland in association with Edinburgh University, the Scottish Resource Centre for Women in Science, Engineering and Technology and Education Scotland, will host an event for S3-S5 students to highlight the possibilities offered by studying a science subject.  Speakers will include Scottish MEP Catherine Stihler, who has a Degree in Chemistry. This event is invitation-only. For further information, please email epedinburgh@ep.europa.eu or call 0131 557 7866

Scottish Resource Centre for Women in Science, Engineering and TechnologyEdinburgh University

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Issue 1, 2013

Recent events at the European Parliament

Agenda 2013

The last full parliamentary year before the 2014 European elections promises to be another crucial one. The European Parliament will not only be dealing with reforms to help kick-start the economy, but also negotiate with the member states the EU's long-term budget, as well as decide on various legislative proposals that will impact the everyday life of Europeans.

Tackling the economic crisis will of course remain on top of the agenda, with the legislation to pave the way for an EU banking union to be further negotiated with national governments.  There will also be discussions on changes on the governance of the Eurozone and reform of financial services will also continue, including important issues such as credit rating agencies, capital requirements for banks and bankers' bonuses as well as measures to improve the single market. The Parliament's key priority will be to ensure proper democratic control and accountability at the heart of these new structures.  MEPs will also continue to negotiate the EU's long-term budget for 2014-2020 with the Council and the Commission.

The European Parliament will also consider proposed legislation to set new CO2 limits for cars, to update rules on passenger rights and to overhaul the rail sector in Europe.  Controversial proposals on the marketing of tobacco products and the rules covering cloning and genetically modified food will also be debated.  

European Parliament leaders send New Year messages

Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought

The EP's political group leaders have high hopes for 2013. They hope it will be better than last year and that it will bring an end to the crisis affecting Europe.  "I hope that 2013 will be a better year than 2012," said EP President Martin Schulz, a feeling shared by the political leaders in Parliament. He also insists that 2013 should be the year when young people are provided with jobs and hope for a good future.  The handwritten wishes of the President and political group leaders were published on the EP website, where you can read what else they are wishing for.  

"Your peace, your prize": Nobel Peace Prize passed on to European citizens

Flickr here

In response to the decision to award the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union, the Europ4ean Parliament organised a special ceremony in Strasbourg in December at which the prize was symbolically handed over to 20 citizens of different ages and nationalities to represent the people of Europe, including 10 young winners of the Facebook competition" Peace, Europe, Future."  "The reason we have peace is because of the EU," EP president Martin Schulz said, warning that peace in Europe should not be taken for granted. You can see a video of the ceremony here and browse a slideshow on Flickr here.

News from Scotland's MEPs

George Lyon MEPIan Hudghton MEPDavid Martin MEPStruan Stevenson MEPCatherine Stihler MEPAlyn Smith MEP

Ian Hudghton MEP has welcomed the vote in the EP Fisheries Committee for substantial controls over fisheries to be decentralised.
George Lyon MEP has called for Farm Ministers to drive forward their negotiations to enable the CAP reform package to be agreed by the middle of 2013.
David Martin MEP spoke in an EP debate to oppose the EU's Free Trade Agreement with Colombia because of the human rights concerns.
Alyn Smith MEP has called for a ban on pork imports from countries that are not compliant with new EU rules on pig welfare by 1 January 2013.
Struan Stevenson MEP has welcomed decisions by EU Fisheries Ministers on quotas and permitted days at sea for 2013.
Catherine Stihler MEP hosted a seminar with London MEP Mary Honeyball at the EP Office in Edinburgh on the issue of the trafficking of women.

Recent Events in Scotland

MacCormick European Lecture

On 23rd November the Royal Society of Edinburgh, with support from the European Parliament Office in Edinburgh, hosted the annual MacCormick European Lecture.  This year, it was given by BBC journalist Allan Little who tried to make sense of the current crisis in Europe, especially the euro crisis, by putting it in the context of Europe's history.

EP Calendar Competition

On 6th December the European Parliament Information Office in Scotland opened an exhibition of the 25 drawings featured in its official 2013 Calendar. The theme of this year's calendar competition was 'Europe's rich animal kingdom'.  We received over 1200 entries from nearly 60 schools from all over Scotland.  The winners were chosen by a jury made up of all six Scottish MEPs.  The winner, from St Margaret of Scotland Primary School in Cumbernauld, and the two runners, up were presented with certificates and 'goody bags'.      

Upcoming events at the Edinburgh Information Office

UK-EU 40 Years

found here

To mark the 40th anniversary of the UK's entry in the EC (1st January 1973), the European Parliament Information Office in the UK has asked Prof Jo Shaw (Salvesen Chair of European Institutions and Dean of Research of the College of Humanities and Social Science, Edinburgh Law School, Edinburgh University), to write a short academic paper - inclusive of a timeline of the most salient events - on the history of UK membership from a Scottish perspective.  Similar papers have also been commissioned to chart the history of membership from the perspective of Wales and Northern Ireland and the UK as a whole, and they can be found here.  During the course of 2013, our office will also be organising a series of debates, briefings and seminars throughout the UK on the anniversary theme, looking at various aspects of EU membership with the participation of top British political figures.

UK-EU 40 Years: the Single Market
(25th January, EP Office, Edinburgh)

WCAA

The first event on our UK-EU 40 Years will look at the impact the European Single market has had on Scotland and on Scottish businesses.  Speakers will include Alyn Smith MEP, Nick Soper, Director of European Affairs at the Scotch Whisky Association and Anis Mourad, European Knowledge Transfer Executive from the Enterprise Europe Network.

The Future of EU Funding in Scotland
(22 February, Glasgow)        

FoP 2012

As discussions on the long-term funding of the EU enter a crucial phase, the EP Edinburgh Office will organise a conference looking at the likely impact of these decisions on EU funding in Scotland.  Speakers will include Scottish MEPs, leading academics and representatives of local, national and European stakeholder organisations.  The focus will be on the future of the structural funds, but there will also be wider consideration of all funding streams.  This event will be free to attend, but prior registration will be required.  Registration details and the full agenda will be published in the coming weeks.

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