Batten Bulletin from Strasbourg 26th and 27th November 2014

Wednesday 26th.   The Parliament was dominated by the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker’s announcement of his plan to stimulate European economies.

President Junckers plan is to invest €315 billion. However the EU hasn’t actually got €315 billion to spare. The plan is for only €21 billion from the EU’s budget to  be invested and the rest to come from private investment.  The plan has been described as an economic miracle equivalent to the feeding of the 5,000 with five loaves and three fishes.

The only sure way to revitalise Europe’s economies is to abandon the euro, return euro-zone countries to national currencies, and to relieve businesses of much of the massive burden of EU regulation.  Millions of people are out of work in eurozone countries because of their inability to compete while saddled with a common exchange rate with better performing economies.  The ranks of Europe’s unemployed will continue to grow while the euro exists and no amount of make-believe money will help them.

Thursday 27th  Of the ten items on the voting agenda today one was Motion of Censure, and nine were Resolutions. None had any legislative effect.

The Motion of Censure was against the Commission as a whole but based on the unsuitability of President Juncker to be President because of his responsibility when Prime Minister of Luxembourg to allowing numbers corporate tax avoidance schemes to be set up.  The vote was as follows:

For: 101

Against: 461

Abstentions: 85

The motion was always going to be lost but it is significant that those voting for or abstaining amounted to almost one third of those voting. Hardly a ringing endorsement of President Juncker and his Commission.

The Resolutions we voted on are essentially wish-lists of what MEPs would like to happen. Again, they have no legislative effect.  However such Resolutions always contain calls for the EU to take action or accrue more power to itself.

Some of the points contained in them are indeed worthy and cannot be objected to. In those circumstances UKIP MEPs abstain. But we never vote for on the basis that we do not want the EU to exercise the rights of a political state.  This should be the sole prerogative of sovereign nation states.

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Batten Bulletin from Strasbourg 25th November 2014

Today in the European Parliament the high-spot of the day was a 45 minute speech by the Pope.

Pope Francis was not as effusive of the European Union as I thought he might be. And he made as speech that contained much that could be agreed with.

His speech included a critique against international business and financial interests that treat people as mere units of production in the economic system; he also criticised the regulatory and legislative system that is inflexible and disregarding of peoples’ individuality – or at least that is how I interpreted it.  He complimented the European Union, as all guest speakers seem obliged to do, but he certainly did not sound like a great fan either.  He also spoke out against the persecutions of Christians around the world, a subject largely ignored by the media.

In the evening I made a 60 second speech during the debate on ‘The situation in the Mediterranean and the need for a holistic approach to migration’.

 

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Batten Bulletin from Strasbourg Monday 24th November 2014

On Monday evening in the European Parliament we debated a Motion of Censure on the European Commission.

The motion was tabled by the EFDD (Europe of Freedom & Direct Democracy) Group of which I am a member, along with all the UKIP MEPs.

It is a motion of no confidence in the President of the Commission, Jean-Claude Junckers and the recently appointed Commission, and censures the Commission. It concerns the hundreds of tax avoidance schemes put in place in Luxembourg while Mr Junckers was Prime Minster of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.

It includes the points, “Deplores the fact that EU Member States have lost billions of euros in potential tax revenues…” and “Believes that it is intolerable that a person who has been responsible for aggressive tax avoidance policies serves as President of the European Commission”.

First off, the President of the Parliament Martin Schulz MEP proceeded in this usual partial and undemocratic way and ruled that he would allow no questions from the floor (the Blue Card procedure), and no five minute ‘Catch the Eye’ procedure at the end of the debate whereby ordinary MEPs get the chance to make a one minute contribution. The only speakers were the Leaders of the main Parliamentary Groups.

It was good knockabout stuff with lots of passion on both sides, and some insults traded. But it is an ill-wind that does nobody any good in the EU. Having been responsible for the Government in Luxembourg that enabled hundreds of large companies to set up schemes to avoid paying tax in their home countries, Mr Junckers now claims as a former poacher he will make the best gamekeeper.

In his closing speech Mr Junckers said that the EU now needed more powers and regulations to prevent this happening again and required the harmonisation of tax rules. He also made a plea for the Parliament to stop insulting him.

So having been responsible for these very aggressive schemes that prevented billions in tax revenue going to member states, Mr Junckers wants to create the EU legislation to prevent it happening again. That is the way the EU works – everything can be used as a reason for more legislation and power.

The Motion will be voted will be taken next Thursday morning. Most likely it will be defeated, but the margin will not be as big as it would have been in former Parliaments.

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