Saj Reports Back
North West England
November 2009 Edition
Dear Colleagues and Friends,
This month has been a very mixed one. There have been very exciting developments in Brussels to report, but equally, my thoughts go out to those who have suffered devastating effects of the flooding in Cumbria.
Cumbria Floods – Call on the Government to Apply for EU Funds
In a letter to Mr Hilary Benn MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, I called for the Government to make an application to the European Union’s Solidarity Fund in order to assist Cumbria in efforts to recover from the flooding.
The European Union Solidarity Fund was set up to respond to natural disasters and express European solidarity to disaster-stricken regions. The Fund was created as a reaction to the severe floods in Central Europe in the summer of 2002. Six years later, it has been used for 26 disasters covering a range of different catastrophic events including floods, forest fires, an earthquake, a volcanic eruption, storms and drought. 20 different European countries have been supported so far for an amount of more than 1.5 billion Euros.
I am also in the process of setting up a meeting with Commissioner Pawel Samecki, European Commissioner for Regional Policy who is responsible for the EU Solidarity Fund with a view to discussing the case of Cumbria.
My immediate concerns are for the safety and wellbeing of all those affected in my constituency. Looking toward the recovery from these horrific events, I am concerned that this disaster will severely impact upon the local economy and the outstanding natural beauty of Cumbria.
Promotion to European Legal Affairs Spokesperson and Legal Affair Coordinator for the European Conservatives and Reformists
In the post-Lisbon EU, harmonisation of legal procedures and processes is high on the EU agenda. This will have direct implications for all member states and poses direct challenges to UK sovereignty.
As a solicitor with EU level practice and policy formulation experience I know how different our legal system is as compared to others on the continent. These developments will ensure that my new role is thoroughly demanding and challenging. I will work as closely as is possible with our Westminster parliamentary party to ensure UK interests are protected.
I am excited about the challenges that will come hand in hand as Coordinator for the Group and Spokesperson for the British Delegation on Legal Affairs. The responsibilities that these roles bring, serve as something that I feel I can provide a substantial level of expertise and experience on.
I am very much looking forward to working alongside my colleagues in the European Conservatives and Reformists Group in this capacity.
Timothy Kirkhope MEP, Leader of the British Conservative Delegation in the European Parliament and Vice Chairman of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group:
"I am delighted that Sajjad Karim has accepted my offer to be Conservative Legal Affairs Spokesman and also the European Conservatives and Reformists Coordinator on the Legal Affairs Committee. Given his legal background and has wide experience of European policymaking, he is ideally suited to fill the position. I look forward to working with him in his new capacity."
Michał Tomasz Kaminski, Leader of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group:
“It is my pleasure to underline high personal and professional skills of Mr. Sajjad Karim and I am convinced that Mr. Karim will successfully cope with a position of the Legal Affairs Coordinator for the European Conservatives and Reformists Group.”
Networking Event in Manchester, hosted by Yan Cockayne, Conservative candidate in Greater Manchester, 13th November
The event had a very substantial turnout and meeting so many keen activists in the Greater Manchester area was very encouraging for the Party.
Yan really is a first class candidate who has such a lot of enthusiasm and drive to offer. Yan is the Conservative Action Team leader for Ordsall, the City Centre and Salford Quays and is the Manchester City Centre candidate for the 2010 elections.
Meeting with Hugh Morgan Williams, Chairman of Northern Way, 17th November, Brussels
The Northern Way focuses on sustainable economic development across the North of England. It was formed as a partnership between the Northwest Regional Development Agency, Yorkshire Forward and One NorthEast, the three development agencies serving the North of England and well as other bodies including universities, the private sector and local authorities to support the goal of sustainable development.
I met with the Chair, Hugh Morgan Williams to discuss the impact of EU policy on the organisation’s goals and how the priorities of this parliamentary term will tie in with this.
Meeting with the US Secretary of State Special Envoy for Eurasian Energy, 18th November, Brussels
I attended an informal meeting with Mr Richard Morningstar, the US Secretary of State Special Envoy for Eurasian Energy in order to discuss topics of common interest such as the security of energy supply.
We debated EU and US initiatives in this field and issues related to energy relations with Eurasia countries such as Russia, Ukraine and Turkey were debated. We also discussed possible activities of the Transatlantic Energy Council.
Islam in Europe; Whose Identity Crisis – Debate in the European Parliament, 19th November, Brussels
I was very pleased to host a debate with the British Council debate in the European Parliament entitled ‘Europe and Islam; Whose Identity Crisis?’ Also participating in the debate was Pal Schmitt, Vice President of the European Parliament, Douglas Murray, Director of the Centre for Social Cohesion, Dr Chris Allen, Academic, writer and broadcaster on Islamaphobia in Europe, Bashy Quraishy, Chair of the Advisory Council at the European Network Against Racism and Daniel Hannan MEP. The debate was moderated by Shada Islam who is the Senior Policy Executive at the European Policy Centre.
Europe is a melting pot of diverse cultures, languages, religions, political affiliations, nationalities and races. The way in which people choose to identify themselves taking all these aspects into consideration is becoming increasingly important. The European Union is a diverse and dynamic entity and last year’s theme of intercultural dialogue embraced the many cultures, religions and identities that make up what Europe has come to be today.
For me, as the first Muslim to be elected to the European Parliament, my professional role provides me with a unique viewpoint on the issue of Islam in Europe. European Union expansion has been running parallel with concerted efforts to successful integration of all EU citizens, to promote a concept of a common European identity and culture. European cultures share common values; acceptance, respect for human rights and democracy - all of which encourage the smooth workings of a European civilization.
Eid al-Adha, 27th November
I would like to take this opportunity to wish all Muslims in my constituency a very happy Eid Mubarak.
Thank you for reading this month’s update, please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or comments.
Sajjad Karim MEP - Putting The North West First
Contact Team Karim:
Lucy Pickles: 07969533554
Paul Dyson: 07969 533 616
Joanna Kielty: 0032 228 47640
Caroline Trakadas: 0032 228 37640