Wednesday, 13th June 2012
MEP tours Munster to get farmers' views
Farmers and traders linked to the agri-food industry across Munster are being encouraged to attend a series of information meetings to debate their views on the future of the EU's Common Agricultural Policy.
Labour MEP Phil Prendergast has decided to host sessions in Counties Kerry, Cork, Limerick, Tipperary and Waterford over the coming weeks to get feedback from the agricultural community on their concerns and proposals for CAP reform.
Negotiations for the overall EU budget for the period 2014 to 2020 are currently underway, and it's feared that the economic troubles facing many member states could impact badly on the European farm budget. The current CAP budget accounts for about 36 per cent of the overall EU budget, so if member states cut their contributions it could pose a real danger for Irish farmers.
Four key reports published in Brussels recently discuss the future of direct payments to farmers, support for rural development, provisions for certain agricultural products and the financing of the CAP. These reports form the backbone of the European Parliament's proposals for farmers, and Ms Prendergast is keen to hear "from the horse's mouth” if farmers feel the plans are workable.
"I hope that this will lead to practical feedback which can then be incorporated into amendments to the legislation, so that we can get the best possible deal secured for our farming families and communities.”
MEPs want EU to reward Ireland's 'Yes' vote
Although Europe's attention has moved swiftly from Ireland's endorsement of the Fiscal Stability Treaty to the unfolding economic crises in Spain and Greece, Irish MEPs are pushing for the 'Yes' vote to be used as leverage to secure concessions from Brussels on our crippling bank bailout.
Independent Northwest MEP Marian Harkin claims Ireland's referendum result is the government's "greatest negotiating asset” ahead of the next EU summit at the end of June.
"Having now enshrined the discipline of the Fiscal Treaty in its constitution, Ireland must be given a fresh hearing. This must involve a retrospective deal covering the recapitalisation of Ireland's banks and the promissory notes,” said Ms Harkin.
Fine Gael MEP for Dublin, Gay Mitchell also called on the EU to "reciprocate Ireland's demonstration of judgement and responsibility with solidarity,” adding that the "growth agenda” must now take centre stage.
Labour MEP for Munster, Phil Prendergast, said Ireland and Europe should seize the "momentum for change” created by the referendum campaign and focus it on creating a "comprehensive jobs and growth pact”.
There was also support for Ireland's decision from other member state representatives. French MEP Joseph Daul, head of the centre-right EPP group in the European Parliament, said vote marked a Yes to "debt reduction” for Ireland.
Cross-border law would protect victims of stalking
Draft EU legislation that would protect victims of stalking, harassment or abduction in several member states at once is a step closer to becoming law, after it got the backing of two key committees in Brussels.
The European Parliament's Legal Affairs and Women's Rights Committees have both unanimously approved the plan to grant protection to anyone under threat who moves to another EU country, as long as they have already been accorded that cover in one member state.
The law would eliminate all the formalities currently required to ensure recognition and enforcement of civil protection measures across borders for any victim of gender violence or aggression. Under the new rules, the victim would just need to fill in a standard and multilingual certificate, in order to have his or her right to protection fully enforced throughout the EU.
The proposal would add civil law protection to the criminal law rules already enforced under the European Protection Order directive, or EPO.
A typical example of a protection measure would be an order requiring a stalker to stay away from places frequented by the victim, and refrain from contacting them.
At the moment, measures to protect crime victims from aggressors already exist in all EU member states, but cease to apply if the victim moves abroad.
Consumer helpline for Irish fans during Euro 12
Irish football fans who experience any consumer problems in Poland are being given two helpline numbers to avail of practical tips and legal advice. Anyone who faces problems such as delayed flights, lost luggage, poor hotel services or medical requirements can call the free consumer infoline 800 007 707, if calling from a Polish fixed-line phone or mobile phone with Polish operators. The service will answer any query on general EU consumer rights in 23 languages.
For those calling from a mobile phone with foreign operators, the number to call is +48 228 27 5474. Normal charges, including roaming, apply to this number. The helplines are being operated with the support of 29 European Consumer Centres, the Polish authorities and the European Commission.
Thousands of Irish fans are currently in Poland, or on their way there, to support the Republic's three first-round games against Croatia, Spain and Italy.
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