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  • Apr 7, 2014:
    • Duff calls for immediate lifting of British block on Europe for Citizens Programme
      The EU's new Europe for Citizens programme has been blocked by the UK Parliament since November 2013. Today a motion on the 'scrutiny reserve' is due to pass in the House of Commons which will enable the UK government immediately to give the green light to allow the programme to start. Europe for Citizens is a package of measures agreed under the EU's new multi-annual financial framework for the dissemination of public information about the EU. For 2014 the agreed topics include encouragement to participate in the European Parliamentary elections and research into voters' attitudes, as well as projects to commemorate the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War. Andrew Duff MEP, who leads for the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe on constitutional affairs, said: "It is embarrassing for me, as a British MEP, to see how the combined forces of euroscepticism in the UK government and parliament have held up this excellent citizens' programme not only in the UK but across the whole EU. "Many civil society organisations, media and think-tanks are ready to go with good projects whose purpose is to deepen popular understanding of the importance of engaging with the European Union. €93.4m has been allocated to the programme from the EU budget for 2014." END Notes to Editors: The Commission's communication on the programme can be found here: http://ec.europa.eu/citizenship/news-events/news/04112013-2014-wp-adopted_en.htm Published and promoted by Andrew Duff MEP, (Tim Huggan), Orwell House, Cowley Road, Cambridge CB4 0PP Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Apr 3, 2014:
    • MEPs vote to scrap mobile roaming charges in EU by December 2015
      The European Parliament has voted to scrap mobile roaming charges in the EU by December 2015 following a successful campaign by Liberal Democrat MEPs- Current EU caps on roaming charges have saved consumers across the EU an estimated £8bn since they were introduced from 2009, and new lower caps coming into force on 1st July 2014 will bring costs down even more. However, Liberal Democrat MEPs introduced amendments that call for the charges abolished completely, including costly fees for data roaming in the EU which can reach up to £376 per gigabyte. Commenting, East of England Liberal Democrat MEP Andrew Duff said: "Ending rip-off roaming fees will mean people travelling in Europe will be able to use their phones just like they do at home, whether that's using maps, downloading apps or sharing photos online. "This is an example of how by leading in the EU we can drive down costs for local families and businesses and make life easier for people when they go abroad." Notes to Editors Today's full report on the EU Telecoms Package can be found here. Negotiations on the final legislation between the European Parliament and national governments in the Council are due to take place after the European elections in the second half of 2014. Under EU caps coming into force on the 1st July 2014, the maximum cost of data roaming in the EU will come down from 40 euro cents (33p) a MB to 25 euro cents (21p) a MB. Figures uncovered in a Parliamentary Question by Liberal Democrat MEPs show that EU caps on roaming charges have saved consumers EUR 9.6bn (£7.94bn) since 2009. http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getAllAnswers.do?reference=E-2014-002002&language=EN The European Parliament is calling for a strict definition of net neutrality. Blocking and throttling of internet content will be banned, which will give users access to the full and open internet. Companies will still be able to provide "specialized services" with enhanced quality (such as IPTV, video on demand, tele-surgery) as long as this doesn't affect the internet speeds promised to other customers. Published and promoted by Andrew Duff MEP, (Tim Huggan), Orwell House, Cowley Road, Cambridge CB4 0PP Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
    • EU cap on card fees is good news for businesses and consumers
      MEPs have voted to introduce a cap on card payment fees that are charged to shops on behalf of credit and debit card schemes such as Visa and Mastercard. It is estimated that banks' card payments currently cost retailers across the EU over £8 billion each year. The proposed caps will be 0.3% of the transaction value on credit card purchases and 0.2% for debit card purchases, and will apply to all cross-border and domestic purchases in the EU. This is expected to save retailers up to £5 billion a year, leading to lower prices for consumers. Liberal Democrat MEP for the East of England Andrew Duff commented: "These rip-off fees benefit card companies and banks, but it is consumers and small businesses that end up out of pocket. "Introducing a cap will help lower retail prices and make it easier for hard-pressed businesses and families to get by. "This is yet another example of why Liberal Democrats are the Party of In Europe, because leading in the EU means we can get a better deal for consumers back home." Notes to editors MEPs today adopted their negotiating position, the final law still needs to be agreed with national governments in the EU Council and final negotiations won't be completed until after the European elections in May. The full report can be found here: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/oeil/popups/ficheprocedure.do?reference=2013/0265%28COD%29&l=en Published and promoted by Andrew Duff MEP, (Tim Huggan), Orwell House, Cowley Road, Cambridge CB4 0PP Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Apr 2, 2014:
    • Andrew Duff Reacts to House of Commons Report on EU Charter: Britain should uphold best European Standard of Fundamental Rights
      'The House of Commons is wrong to seek to weaken the protection afforded by the European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights'. That is the conclusion of Andrew Duff MEP, European Liberal Democrat spokesman on constitutional affairs, reacting to the Report of the European Scrutiny Committee published today (Wednesday), on the application of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights to the United Kingdom (HC 979). In his statement, Duff says: 'This enquiry is the first serious effort by the British Parliament to recognise the importance of the EU's Charter of Fundamental Rights, which was made binding under the terms of the Treaty of Lisbon. The Scrutiny Committee is absolutely right to conclude that the Charter is fully applicable in the UK despite the fact that Protocol 30 of the Treaty appears to make an exception of the UK (and Poland) on how the Charter should be used by the British (and Polish) courts. The fact is that, contrary to the claims of the then Prime Minister Tony Blair, the UK has no opt-out from the Charter. 'On the other hand, Tory MPs are entirely wrong to be intimidated by the Charter, whose purpose is to offer a higher level of protection and a more modern standard of fundamental rights to EU citizens than that offered by the older European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Why the UK should not benefit from the full force and scope of the Charter is not explained in the Commons Report. 'The eurosceptic bias of the EU Scrutiny Committee is all too clear. Its final proposal that the European Communities Act 1972 should be amended to disapply the Charter to the UK is preposterous. It would result in legal chaos and would breach the EU Treaty. Such a move would effectively pull the plug on British membership of the European Union. 'Instead, at the next general revision of the EU Treaties, the UK and Poland should ditch Protocol 30 altogether. It is encouraging that the Czech Republic, which had applied eccentrically to join the Protocol, has now changed its mind. 'The European Court of Justice is right to insist that the level of rights protection in every Member State of the Union must be at least as high as that of the Charter of Fundamental Rights. The EU's imminent accession to the ECHR will further secure the equal application of rights law to all tiers of European Union government. At a time when human rights are under attack elsewhere in Europe, Britain should be in the forefront of their promotion.' END Notes to Editors: Andrew Duff, who gave evidence to Commons enquiry, was a member of the Convention which drafted the Charter and is the European Parliament's long-standing rapporteur on its application. Published and promoted by Andrew Duff MEP, (Tim Huggan), Orwell House, Cowley Road, Cambridge CB4 0PP Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Mar 19, 2014:
    • Andrew Duff wins 2014 MEP award for best use of Social Media
      Andrew Duff wins the 2014 award for best use of social media Published and promoted by Andrew Duff MEP, (Tim Huggan), Orwell House, Cowley Road, Cambridge CB4 0PP Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Mar 13, 2014:
    • Universal phone charger on the way
      Liberal Democrat MEP for the East of England, Andrew Duff has welcomed news that universal mobile phone chargers across Europe will finally become a reality. After years of campaigning, a final vote today in the European Parliament will bring in new rules for electronic devices. The new rules will mean all manufacturers placing new electronic devices on the EU market will be required to make them compatible with a universal charger. Currently most phones use the same Micro USB charger, following a voluntary agreement between the EU and 14 mobile phone manufacturers in 2011 which put pressure on them to introduce a common charger. However, several manufacturers including Apple did not sign the agreement and have kept unique charging ports for their devices. The new legislation will place a legal requirement on manufacturers to make their devices compatible with a universal charger. Andrew said: "This is a great victory for common sense. "Being part of Europe, the world's biggest market for mobile phones, means we can put pressure on manufacturers to put an end to cable chaos. "We've made a lot of progress towards a universal charger in recent years but this will mean that finally every electronic device will have to be compatible." ENDS Published and promoted by Andrew Duff MEP, (Tim Huggan), Orwell House, Cowley Road, Cambridge CB4 0PP Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Mar 5, 2014:
    • Andrew Duff challenge's UKIP's Patrick O'Flynn to IN-OUT debate
      Local Liberal Democrat MEP Andrew Duff has challenged UKIP's Patrick O'Flynn to a public debate in the run up to May's European Parliament elections. UKIP leader Nigel Farage has already agreed to debate the issues with Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader and deputy prime minister. Andrew Duff wants to see this national exchange matched by debates between the rival candidates in the East of England. So Andrew is challenging UKIP's first placed candidate, Patrick O'Flynn, to a debate. Andrew is asking businesses and voluntary groups in the region to volunteer to organise a debate in the East of England. The MEP says he is waiting to hear Patrick O'Flynn's response to the challenge but is sure that this contest could inject more interest into the election battle. He said: "The Lib Dems are the party of IN and UKIP are the party of OUT, so I believe the people of the East of England should hear both sides of the story before they make their decision in May. "The contrast between the views of the two parties could hardly be greater and we are at both ends of the spectrum when it comes to our attitude towards Britain and Europe. "I believe that UKIP will put jobs at risk, reduce Britain's influence over decisions that will affect us and help to put our planet at risk by opposing measures to mitigate climate change. Local people need to know that. "I'm offering Paul the challenge and have invited her to take it up. Let's see if her views can stand the test of public scrutiny." Andrew said he would welcome invitations from local groups who are prepared to host a debate between the MEPs. He can be contacted at mep@andrewduffmep.org. ENDS Published and promoted by Andrew Duff MEP, (Tim Huggan), Orwell House, Cowley Road, Cambridge CB4 0PP Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
    • Local Luton manufacturer GKN aerospace warns of EU exit
      The head of GKN, one of the UK's largest manufacturing firms who has a plant at Luton which employs nearly 400 people has said that an EU exit would be 'deeply harmful' to the industry and that the issue was already having a negative impact on Britain's ability to attract investment. GKN supplies parts to the global car and aerospace industries. They are a worldwide market leader in the design and manufacture of aircraft assemblies, components and advanced systems. The Luton site employs 380 of the GKN Aerospace's worldwide total of 9,000 staff and is a global market leader in the design and manufacture of complex, optically critical cockpit transparencies and advanced ice protection systems. Chief executive of GKN Nigel Stein said the UK would be at risk of losing investment if it lost its position of influence in European policymaking. The region's Liberal Democrat MEP Andrew Duff, said: "This is a hard-headed business decision. The list of companies who have come out against an EU exit is getting longer and longer every day, with GKN being the latest addition." "This is just another example of how the Tories and UKIP are putting billions of pounds of investment and millions of jobs at risk by undermining our membership of the EU." "If UKIP and the Tories were to pull the UK out of the EU it is clear that it would be a massive blow to UK manufacturers." ENDS Notes to Editors For more information on this story please see: http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/mar/04/british-exit-eu-industry-manufacturing-gkn?CMP=twt_gu Published and promoted by Andrew Duff MEP, (Tim Huggan), Orwell House, Cowley Road, Cambridge CB4 0PP Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Feb 26, 2014:
    • EU railway package will cut costs for passengers
      The European Parliament today adopted a variety of measures aimed at reducing costs to railway companies and train manufacturers that should in turn reduce the cost of passenger fares. In 2012 alone, 9.9 million passengers travelled by Eurostar to and from mainland Europe. This package will make it easier for other operators to bid to run services on the line by harmonising technical and safety standards and reducing administrative barriers. Currently train manufacturers have to apply for certificates to sell rolling stock in each EU member state, while train companies have to deal with around 11,000 different safety rules to run trains across the EU. The introduction of new EU- wide rules will reduce costs, increase competition and make it easier for trains to travel across borders, leading to a reduction in passenger fares. However, protectionist MEPs blocked ambitious proposals to open up the domestic rail markets of other EU countries to greater competition, a move that would have benefitted UK firms. East of England Lib Dem MEP Andrew Duff commented: "These new rules will bring down the costs of operating railways, that can only be good news for passengers as it will lead to cheaper fares. "However, I am disappointed that MEPs did not support increasing competition in domestic markets which could have reduced operating costs by almost a third. "Opening up the single market in rail would lead to better and more affordable train travel across Europe." Notes to Editors Current technical standards and approval systems mean that there is no single market in either rolling stock or infrastructure items such as rails and sleepers. The result is that costs are far too high. Interoperability across borders is also poor as standards set by national authorities differ; it makes the whole system inefficient for trains running across borders. Similarly, safety rules differ between member states, with around 11,000 different rules applying across the EU. The package aims to harmonise safety rules as well as technical standards across the EU in order to remove the technical barriers that prevent trains from running across the entire network. The European rail agency (ERA) must have overall responsibility for authorisations and safety rules, with national safety authorities implementing them. The European Parliament will now enter into negotiations with EU national governments over the legislation before a final vote, which is not expected to take place until after the European elections in May. Published and promoted by Andrew Duff MEP, (Tim Huggan), Orwell House, Cowley Road, Cambridge CB4 0PP Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
    • Tories play into hands of big tobacco on EU cigarette rules
      MEPs today voted on new rules to reduce the uptake of smoking amongst young people, including larger health warnings on cigarette packets, restrictions on "lipstick-style" packaging and a ban on flavourings including menthols. The new EU rules will also ensure that electronic cigarettes can be sold as freely as their tobacco alternatives, following a campaign by Liberal Democrat MEPs, although some restrictions including on nicotine content remain. Conservative and UKIP MEPs voted against the new rules saying they were too restrictive. Andrew Duff MEP commented: "It's shocking, but perhaps not altogether surprising, that the Tories and UKIP have voted against new rules that that will help prevent young people from taking up smoking. "From the beginning they have been seeking to delay this legislation and have played into the hands of big tobacco." Commenting on the outcome of the legislation on electronic cigarettes, Andrew Duff said: "Tobacco control measures and e-cigarettes are two sides of the same coin - they exist to reduce smoking. That is why Liberal Democrats have worked hard to prevent overly restrictive regulation of e-cigarettes that could reduce their availability and usefulness for ex-smokers. "Unfortunately the outcome isn't everything that e-cig users wanted, but it's a tremendous improvement compared to the original proposals. E-cigs won't come under medicinal regulation and the nicotine limit is five times higher than was originally proposed." ENDS Published and promoted by Andrew Duff MEP, (Tim Huggan), Orwell House, Cowley Road, Cambridge CB4 0PP Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Feb 25, 2014:
    • Respectable MEPs should not hide how they vote - Duff
      The European Parliament will vote tomorrow (Wednesday) on whether to open up its legislative procedures to better public scrutiny. MEPs will decide on whether to follow the proposal of its constitutional affairs committee to make roll call votes compulsory on all final votes at committee stage and in plenary. Andrew Duff, Liberal constitutional spokesman, has long championed such transparency. In a statement today, Duff said:- "More and more critical votes on draft laws are taken at committee stage. This is especially so when progress in the 'trialogue' negotiations with the European Commission and Council of Ministers allow agreement to be reached at the first reading stage of the co-decision procedure (Article 294 TFEU). While all votes in committee are open to the press and public, it is very difficult for the voting behaviour of every individual MEP to be monitored. This reform, if carried, will make it clear which MEP supports, opposes or abstains on a draft law at all stages of the law-making process. "National parliamentary practice differs very much when it comes to the transparency of committee stage votes. It is however right that the European Parliament should aim for the maximum degree of openness. The rather lengthy distance between the European Parliament and the citizen should not be shrouded in opacity. No respectable MEP needs to hide how he or she votes. The seriousness and quality of the legislative process can be expected to grow if Parliament votes for this reform. Press, public and lobbyists will have greater confidence in Parliamentary procedure if MEPs can be watched fairly to ensure that they act as they talk." END Published and promoted by Andrew Duff MEP, (Tim Huggan), Orwell House, Cowley Road, Cambridge CB4 0PP Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
    • East Of England MEP Andrew Duff is celebrating a win for car drivers and east of England jobs after the European Parliament backed plans for higher fuel efficiency standards this week.
      New laws, backed by MEPs meeting in Strasbourg, have been passed to require the amount of carbon dioxide pumped out by new cars to be cut from the present limit of 130g/km to 95g/km in the next seven years. It means that the average new car should each year be able to deliver at least 3% more miles to the gallon. Motor manufacturers based in the east of England will also benefit from the jobs created by new environment friendly cars. Duff said, "By any measure the EU requirements to reduce CO2 emissions from new cars have proven a success. By improving fuel efficiency standards they have reduced the cost of driving as well as cutting our oil imports. "They have ensured that our car manufacturers, and the component makers, have stayed as world leaders in technological development. They have also reduced CO2 emissions from an average of 163g/km in 2007 to 130g/km today. "As th cenntre of design and engineer of vehicles for companies like Ford, the east of England is proving that it is at the heart of the green jobs revolution. "Everyone recognises the competitive pressures faced by the car industry but the EU single market provides it with a level playing field and a degree of protection. If carmakers outside the EU want to sell their cars to our citizens they have to meet our emission standards. "If only all our policies to combat global warming could demonstrate such similar WIN-WIN results." Published and promoted by Andrew Duff MEP, (Tim Huggan), Orwell House, Cowley Road, Cambridge CB4 0PP Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Feb 19, 2014:
    • Czech decision to withdraw treaty change proposal on Charter of Fundamental Rights welcomed by rapporteur Andrew Duff
      The Czech Government today (Thursday) announced its decision to withdraw their proposal to join the British Protocol on the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. The move was welcomed by Andrew Duff (ALDE, UK), the Parliament's Constitutional Affairs Committee long-standing rapporteur on the matter. Reacting to this decision, Mr Duff said: "The decision announced by Czech prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka is very welcome indeed. It eliminates a threat to the integrity and application of the Charter. It rectifies a constitutional anomaly in the Czech Republic where former President Václav Klaus insisted on launching his missile against the Charter after the Czech parliament and court had already ratified the Treaty of Lisbon. The consequent delay in the entry into force of Lisbon in 2008-2009 was a serious impediment to the smooth running of the European Union". "The withdrawal of the request for treaty change follows the decision of the European Parliament to reject the ill-judged attempt by Mr Klaus to scupper the Charter. MEPs voted by 574 against 82 (24 abstentions) in May 2013 to give a formal negative opinion to the request from the European Council to re-open the Treaty on this issue. (This was the first such decision of the Parliament under its new consultative powers under Article 48(3) TEU)". "The withdrawal of the Czech request to join Protocol 30 removes legal uncertainty about the way the Charter will be interpreted in the Czech courts and at the European Court of Justice with respect to cases which may involve the Czech Republic. It leaves the UK and Poland as the only two signatories of this spurious yet damaging Protocol. I hope the Polish government will now take this opportunity to confirm that at the next revision of the Treaty they will withdraw their signature from it". "The announcement by the Czechs that they will also sign the Fiscal Compact Treaty and prepare to join the euro is excellent news. The British government and parliament should very well reflect on how comfortable it is to be completely isolated in the European Union". ENDS Published and promoted by Andrew Duff MEP, (Tim Huggan), Orwell House, Cowley Road, Cambridge CB4 0PP Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Feb 18, 2014:
    • Over one third of British travellers turn phones off when abroad to avoid high charges
      A recent survey has found that 37% of Brits travelling to other parts of the EU turn their phones off due to current high roaming charges. Nearly half stated they would never use mobile internet in another EU country while 9 in 10 said they avoided using Facebook and Twitter when abroad. But it is not only tourists who are facing these high costs, businesses are also paying millions a year to stay connected during trips overseas. Commenting, Lib Dem MEP Andrew Duff said: "There's been a great deal of progress in reducing mobile roaming costs in the EU, including a 91% cut in the cost of using data abroad. "But this survey shows that there is still a long way to go and that many people are still concerned about soaring phone bills when they get home. "Liberal Democrat MEPs are now fighting to get rid of roaming charges in the EU altogether by 2015. "That would be good news for the millions of British tourists who visit Europe every year, as well as the many local businesses who rely on trade with the EU and so regularly travel there." "And because so many people are hardly using their mobiles abroad at the moment, mobile phone companies could actually end up benefitting too." Notes to Editors In September 2013 the EU Commission proposed to end roaming charges by 2016. Liberal Democrats have tabled an amendment that would end the fees by 2015. Holidaymakers will also see their phone bills slashed this July when new EU rules come into force scrapping charges for incoming calls brining in new caps on the cost of data roaming Published and promoted by Andrew Duff MEP, (Tim Huggan), Orwell House, Cowley Road, Cambridge CB4 0PP Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Feb 13, 2014:
    • Federalists mark 30th anniversary of Spinelli Draft Treaty
      Tomorrow (Friday) marks the 30th anniversary of the adoption by the European Parliament of the Draft Treaty establishing the European Union. The rapporteur was Altiero Spinelli. The vote on 14 February 1984 was by 238 in favour to 31 against with 43 abstentions. Andrew Duff MEP, who co-chairs with Jo Leinen the Spinelli Group of federalist MEPs in today's Parliament, says: "Spinelli's draft treaty was pioneering. It set the terms for the constitutional debate which led up to the Treaty of Maastricht in 1990. It established the European Parliament as Europe's central political forum. It lives on even today as an inspiration to those who strive to build a more united, democratic Europe. Our recent Fundamental Law, indeed, draws on the clear thinking and provocative insights which characterised the 1984 Draft treaty.[1] "Altiero Spinelli was a truly remarkable European leader, whom I had the privilege to meet, and it is right that we remember him today." Jo Leinen MEP adds: "Today we have to be as courageous as Altiero Spinelli was 30 years ago with his Draft Treaty by presenting bold ideas on future of Europe. That is why the Spinelli Group in the European Parliament has elaborated its Fundamental Law. "After the elections the new European Parliament should use its right under the Treaties to open up a new constituent phase by initiating the necessary revision of the current Treaties. That would be the best way for MEPs to commemorate the great European leader, Altiero Spinelli." Published and promoted by Andrew Duff MEP, (Tim Huggan), Orwell House, Cowley Road, Cambridge CB4 0PP Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Jan 30, 2014:
    • Duff: Proposal to improve MEP voting transparency postponed
      Following opposition from the two largest groups in the European Parliament, the European People's Party (EPP) and Socialists and Democrats (S&D), a proposal to record and publish the results of how MEPs vote in committees has been postponed for the foreseeable future. The proposal was due to be voted on next Wednesday 5th February by MEPs during the European Parliament's plenary session in Strasbourg. However, it has now been delayed following this morning's meeting of the European Parliament Conference of Presidents, who have taken it off the final Strasbourg agenda. Liberal Democrat MEP Andrew Duff called for all final votes in committee on draft laws to be made public back in 2012, but his proposal was rejected by EPP and S&D MEPs in the Constitutional Affairs Committee. He now strongly supports the current proposal. He commented: "It is wrong to have delayed this important reform. People have a right to know how their elected representatives vote. The argument is not complicated. "Many important legislative decisions are made at committee stage. MEPs should not hide the choices they make from voters, the media and lobbyists. I had hoped that the European Parliament would put in place higher standards of scrutiny and transparency than those that are met in national parliaments. Sadly we seem not quite ready for this. "The democratic legitimacy of the European Union is being called into question. More openness about MEPs' engagement in law making is an important element in the reform movement to which European Liberals are committed." Notes to Editors Currently MEPs' votes in committee are only published if specifically requested, unlike during the plenary session when all final legislative votes are recorded. Published and promoted by Andrew Duff MEP, (Tim Huggan), Orwell House, Cowley Road, Cambridge CB4 0PP Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Jan 22, 2014:
    • Parliamentarians highlight Norwich jobs put at risk by threat of EU exit
      Norwich South MP Simon Wright has joined forces with Norfolk's Lib Dem MEP Andrew Duff to highlight the thousands of jobs that would be put at risk by an exit from the EU after the Chief Executive of Unilever warned that the company would review its investment in British jobs if Britain left the EU. Unilever employ around 7,000 staff across Britain, including a large number at its dry mix operation in Norwich, and own the iconic Colmans Mustard brand, which has been based in the city for 200 years. Mr Wright commented, "Our membership of the European Union is vital for jobs in Norwich and across the country. Unilever are an important employer in our city, and Colmans is an iconic brand for Norwich. It would be disastrous if this were to be jeopardised by Eurosceptics dragging Britain out of the EU. Unilever's comments are further evidence that our future prosperity is best served through our continued membership of the Europe Union." Norwich's Lib Dem MEP Andrew Duff commented further, "Trade with Europe is responsible for 3m jobs in Britain. More and more major employers in Norfolk and across the country are coming out to say that rushing towards the exit will be bad for business and lead to massive job losses. Just as the economy is beginning to recover we should be focussing on doing everything possible to get people into work, not putting millions of people's jobs on the line." ENDS Published and promoted by Andrew Duff MEP, (Tim Huggan), Orwell House, Cowley Road, Cambridge CB4 0PP Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Jan 15, 2014:
    • Essex jobs at risk from Eurosceptic threats
      Responding to the statement by Steve Odell, Chief Executive of Ford Europe that strongly advised against the UK leaving the EU, claiming it could have a serious impact on jobs, businesses and Britain's influence in Europe. Steve Odell said that by quitting the EU Britain would be "cutting of its nose to spite face" and "I would strongly advise against leaving the EU for business purposes, and for employment purposes in the UK." Andrew Duff Lib Dem MEP for Essex and the East of England said 'Yet another major manufacturer and high value investor in the British Economy warns that British membership is vital for the UK.' Mr Duff added 'Thousands of jobs would be at risk in Essex, affecting thousands of people's livelihoods if the Eurosceptics secure their aim of a British exit fromthe EU.' In Essex, Ford employs over 3000 engineers at its Dunton Technical centre, thousands of other jobs rely on the site. Dunton houses the main design team of Ford of Europe. Currently Dunton has responsibility for the design makes like the Ford Ka, engines for Ford of Europe (powertrain), commercial vehicles and the interior of Ford of Europe cars. It has facilities to simultaneously test fifteen cars and around one hundred engines. It is claimed to have the world's largest anechoic chamber Ford Dunton is also the home of the Special Vehicle section of Ford and the RS family of vehicles. ENDS Published and promoted by Andrew Duff MEP, (Tim Huggan), Orwell House, Cowley Road, Cambridge CB4 0PP Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
    • Essex jobs at risk from Eurosceptic threats
      Responding to the statement by Steve Odell, Chief Executive of Ford Europe that strongly advised against the UK leaving the EU, claiming it could have a serious impact on jobs, businesses and Britain's influence in Europe. Steve Odell said that by quitting the EU Britain would be "cutting of its nose to spite face" and "I would strongly advise against leaving the EU for business purposes, and for employment purposes in the UK." Andrew Duff Lib Dem MEP for Essex and the East of England said 'Yet another major manufacturer and high value investor in the British Economy warns that British membership is vital for the UK.' Mr Duff added 'Thousands of jobs would be at risk in Essex, affecting thousands of people's livelihoods if the Eurosceptics secure their aim of a British exit fromthe EU.' In Essex, Ford employs over 3000 engineers at its Dunton Technical centre, thousands of other jobs rely on the site. Dunton houses the main design team of Ford of Europe. Currently Dunton has responsibility for the design makes like the Ford Ka, engines for Ford of Europe (powertrain), commercial vehicles and the interior of Ford of Europe cars. It has facilities to simultaneously test fifteen cars and around one hundred engines. It is claimed to have the world's largest anechoic chamber Ford Dunton is also the home of the Special Vehicle section of Ford and the RS family of vehicles. ENDS Published and promoted by Andrew Duff MEP, (Tim Huggan), Orwell House, Cowley Road, Cambridge CB4 0PP Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
  • Jan 9, 2014:
    • European money needs to be unlocked to help communities affected by flooding
      East of England Euro MP Andrew Duff is calling on the UK government to apply for aid from the EU's Solidarity Fund to help rebuild communities devastated by flooding in recent weeks. The fund, which has a budget of up to £414 million for 2014, was set up to provide financial assistance to EU countries struck by major national disasters. Large areas of the East Anglian coast have been affected by the floods especially areas along the North Norfolk and East Suffolk Coast To benefit from funding, governments must submit an application no more than 10 weeks after the first damage caused by the disaster with details on its impact on the population and the economy and how much the aid is expected to cost. In a letter to Environment Minister Owen Paterson, Liberal Democrat MEPs are calling for urgent action to ensure the UK benefits from the fund. East of England Lib Dem MEP, Andrew Duff, said: "The devastation we have seen caused by this weather has affected so many communities in East Anglia. This is exactly what this money is for and it will help the people who have had their Christmas and New Years' ruined by flooding. "The government should be applying for this money as soon as possible in order to provide the help they need. Now is not the time for a debate about Britain and the EU. The money is there and we need to go and get it." ENDS Notes to editors: In 2008, the UK received about £120m in flood aid from the EU's Solidarity Fund: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/7288836.stm More information about the EU Solidarity Fund can be found here: http://europa.eu/legislation_summaries/regional_policy/provisions_and_instruments/g24217_en.htm Published and promoted by Andrew Duff MEP, (Tim Huggan), Orwell House, Cowley Road, Cambridge CB4 0PP Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY

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