Saj Reports Back
North West England
September 2009 Edition
Dear Colleagues and Friends,
I hope you are all well.
Parliament came back into session right at the end of August and I have a great deal of news to report back to you since then. I will stick to some highlights otherwise we’d be here all afternoon!
Brussels; Breakfast seminar to discuss an eco-efficient economy with the deputy Prime Minister of Sweden; Wednesday 2nd September
I was invited to join Ms Lena Ek, Member of the European Parliament from Sweden, Mr Leif Zetterberg, State Secretary for Telecommunications and Transports and also the Deputy Prime Minister, Maud Olofddon, Minister for Enterprise and Energy, to discuss ideas on how to simultaneously meet the economic and climate crises through the transition to an Eco-Efficient Economy.
Having set out various other components of the Swedish Presidency’s priorities across the variety of European Parliament Committees, the purpose of the Swedish Presidency’s meeting with the Committee I serve on, the Industry, Research and Energy Committee, the Presidency wanted to encourage a shift towards a more eco-efficient economy.
The Deputy Prime Minister highlighted the need to reach an agreement on the energy efficiency package this autumn. The package is due to include draft directives on the energy performance of buildings, energy labelling and also the tyre labelling regulation; all crucial elements of the Committees work.
Meeting with Good Energies Representatives on Financing Low Carbon Energy Technology; Wednesday 2nd September
I met with Mr Guido Agostinelli of ‘Good Energies’ in order to discuss how the European Investment Bank could be involved in the up and coming dossier relating to low carbon energy and renewables. This is another job for the Industry, Research and Energy Committee which I now serve on.
The European Commission is due to publish a Communication on this issue in the near future and Mr Agostinelli was keen to meet in order to discuss how this will impact on his work. We also discussed carbon capture and the issues surrounding this during the meeting.
Dinner with Rochdale, Middleton and Heywood Conservatives; Saturday 12th September
I was invited to join Rochdale, Middleton and Heywood’s Conservatives for a dinner. I was very pleased to see our chairpersons, Susan Pawson of Heywood and Middleton and also Linda Bulter of Rochdale Conservatives there and to be able to share my experiences in Europe and as a Party whip. I wanted to talk of the Party’s position on the EU and of our agenda for reform and was keen to outline my position on Turkey as an accession state. I emphasised the importance of the North West of England as a key battle ground for the Conservative Party in the next general election. I was delighted to be received so well and was very touched by the very kind gift that was presented to me of Rochdale Town Hall, which I have brought to Brussels to have in my office.
Strasbourg; Inaugural Address by President Jerzy Buzek of the European Parliament; Tuesday 15th September
President of the European Parliament, Jerzy Buzek who was elected as President in July, presented the Parliament with the political priorities of his term in office. President Buzek covered five main issues; the economic crisis, energy and environment, the EU’s Foreign Policy with particular reference to the EU’s relationship with Russia and the United Stated. He also covered Human Rights and reform of the European Parliament in the frame of the Lisbon Treaty.
Strasbourg; Meeting with the head of the Volkswagen Liaison Office to the EU, Mr. Klitz, and the Head of the Office of the German Association of Automotive Industry, Mr. Diemer; Tuesday 15th September
Having previously been very active in trying to secure funding from the European Investment Bank via the European Commission for the automotive industry, I was able to meet with the head of the VW Liaison office to the EU and the head of the German Association of the Automotive Industry in Strasbourg. We met largely because of my new role on the Industry, Research and Energy Committee in the European Parliament. The meeting was productive and we focused on the new legislative period and the challenges the Automotive Industry will face over the next five years.
Strasbourg; Election of President of the Commission José Manuel Barosso, Wednesday 16th September
The Parliament gave Barosso another term in office as President of the European Commission in a vote with 382 in favour of Barosso to 219 against, from among the 718 who took part in the secret ballot in Strasbourg. There were 117 abstentions. This majority vote means that Barosso’s term cannot be challenged, even if the Lisbon Treat of European Union reform comes into effect next year. For the purpose of a bit of a background, Barosso, as President of the European Commission is in charge of the Brussels bureaucracy which is responsible for drawing up European legislation. Barosso has significant impact upon the legislative priorities of the European Commission, which will have an almighty budget of 138 billion Euros next year.
Strasbourg; Statement by the Council and the Commission on the G20 Summit; Wednesday 16th September
The European Commission and Council set out their priorities for the G20 Summit in Pittsburgh to the Parliament; holding financial institutions to account. The priority will centre on bankers’ salaries and bonuses, the supervision of financial markets and restrictions on the size of banks. The EU Council Swedish Presidency, Cecilia Malmstrom, Swedish Minister for European Affairs set out their position on the management of the global financial crisis. The European Parliament supported the linking of bankers' bonuses to their long-term performance and discouraging irresponsible behaviour in a resolution which was adopted by Parliament in April, following the G20 summit in London.
Strasbourg; Meeting with Secretary General Xavier Durieu, Director of European Government Affairs Francine Cunningham from Euro-commerce; Wednesday 16th September
Following my appointment to the Industry, Research and Energy Committee in Parliament, I met with Secretary GeneralXavier Durieu, Director of European Government Affairs Francine Cunningham from Euro-commerce in order to discuss retail, wholesale and international trade sectors and the impact that legislation conceived in the forthcoming parliamentary term will have on the sector.
Strasbourg; Meeting with the European Small Business Alliance Representative Patrick Gibbels; Wednesday 16th September
The delegation of representatives of SMEs in the European Union came to meet me in Strasbourg. The SME organization strongly believes that it is essential that the EU is aware of the problems SMEs are facing during this time of economic turmoil. I met with the organisation in order to develop a more complex understanding of the problems that SMEs are facing so that I can that I can lobby better legislation and better policies. I was presented with their key pledges, which I have read in detail and am able to consider during this parliamentary term.
Strasbourg; European Parliament Debate on Energy Security; Thursday 17th September
Following a statement by the European Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs on European Energy Security and a subsequent debate in the parliament, I delivered the following speech to the House in the limited timeframe allocated to me:
“Mr President, Europe’s future depends on securing energy. As both the Nabucco Agreement and the Desertec initiative show, Turkey is an essential gateway, and in this regard I echo Mr Van Orden’s point. It is critical at this time to be building greater trust and deeper ties with countries who will be our energy partners, including Middle Eastern and North African states. In relation to many of these there is a connected development issue. With Desertec the mass generation of electricity from solar power is a unique opportunity for revenue generation, which must be used for the benefit of their people also. This opportunity must not be squandered.
Unfortunately, some Member States – including my own – have not used the recent past to prepare a coherent energy strategy. My own constituency, the North West of England, has been identified as a prime area for wind power generation, and yet the UK’s planning laws are an obstruction. Whilst we must look outward for future energy supplies, Member States must also make the best use of the resources and potential they already have.”
For more information about the debate, please click here.
London, Meeting and Press Conference with Chairman of the Conservative Party, Eric Pickles MP and the Leader of the Conservative Party, the Rt. Hon. David Cameron MP, Friday 18th September
Leader of the Conservative Party, the Rt. Hon. David Cameron MP held a meeting at Broadway House ,London, with Party Chairman Eric Pickles to meet Liberal Democrat party candidates who have defected to the Conservative party. Eric delivered a message to Liberal Democrats, to follow in our footsteps and come home to the Conservative Party. Eric described the party as the home of progressive liberal democracy in British Politics. He couldn’t have said it better.
Blackburn, Queen Elizabeth Grammar School Europe Day; Friday 25th September
I was really delighted to visit the Queen Elizabeth Grammar School in Blackburn in order to celebrate their European Day ahead of the National European Languages Day, which took place on Saturday 26th September. I enjoyed a continental breakfast with year 8 students and a question and answer session followed by a question and answer session with sixth form politics students. I was very encouraged to talk with Blackburn's young people about the issues that concern them most; immigration, climate change, international trade and the growing influence of the EU in the world that these people will grow up in. I hope to see some of them becoming engaged in European politics in the future
Mr Andrew Rose, head of modern languages at the school, who was integral in putting together such a successful day stated:
"We were delighted that Mr Karim was able to accept our invitation to the school's Europe Day. We are passionate about teaching our pupils European languages. Mr Karim really captivated the pupils with his answers to their questions, helping to bring to life what an MEP does and how his work has relevance in the lives of young people. We will be inviting him back!"
Preston, Campaigning for the Fishwick by-election, Friday 25th September
The by-election in Fishwick is taking place tomorrow (1st October) and I feel confident that our candidate Sharon Riley fought an extremely strong campaign. On the doorsteps I could sense a real feeling of disappointment in Labour’s performance for the local area. With Preston now a Conservative Council and Lancashire a Conservative County Council, I am really hoping that this ward will be a Conservative ward too. I am confident in Sharon’s ability and am convinced that she will do a great job for the local people. Good Luck Sharon!
Cheadle; Eid Party with Ben Jeffreys PPC and the Conservative Muslim Forum; Saturday 26th September
The Conservative Muslim Forum and our PPC for Cheadle, Ben Jeffreys hosted a party to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr last Saturday evening. I was fortunate enough to be able to celebrate alongside people such as Lord Sheikh, Cllr Faraz Bhatti and many other members of the Conservative Muslim Forum. Eid Mubarak!
Brussels; Press Conference on the Plastics Industry; Wednesday 30th September
This morning I took place in a press conference in Brussels to call on European Decision Makers to take immediate measures to support the plastic recycling market as the recession bites. As Europe is becoming plagued by an excess of landfill sites, I got on board with the plastics industry to explore innovative measures as a means to both improve sustainability of resources and to recover from the financial crisis.
In the heart of my constituency, the Greater Manchester waste management solution is a model aimed at diverting waste from landfill sites. The planned solution aims to achieve recycling and composting of at least 50% of the waste, which will meet both the UK’s own waste management targets and the provisions of the recently revised European Waste Management Directive. The municipal solid waste that cannot be recycled will be taken to a Waste combined heat and power plant in Runcorn, which will produce heat and power for the neighbouring INEOS chemical manufacturing operation. In addition to the savings this makes for taxpayers, Greater Manchester will reduce their dependence on landfill from today’s 65% to below 25%. This will minimise landfill penalties and the need to open new landfill sites. However, the project is currently experiencing funding difficulties. It is these issues facing the industry, and the new innovations towards a greener environment using energy recovery that I sought to highlight to European Decision Makers today.
At the press conference, I stated:
“Legislation such as the Waste Framework Directive already shows the commitment of European legislators to efficient waste management policies. Right in the heart of my constituency, efforts are being made to reduce the amount of non-recyclable waste both in Greater Manchester and in Runcorn, that I want to support fully for their environmental efficiency and for the generation of potential employment. If we want such efforts to bring rewards, we cannot turn our backs on the recycling market now. The requested measures are well in line with the sustainable development policy of the European Union and should be seriously considered. ”
For more information, please email email@example.com
I hope that you found this month’s newsletter an interesting read, if you would like any further information in addition to the above, please don’t hesitate to contact my office.
Many thanks and as always, best wishes
Sajjad Karim MEP - Putting The North West First
Contact Team Karim:
Sajjad Karim MEP
442-444 Barlow Moor Road
Tel: 01618617571 Fax: 01618607582