Conservative MEPs have welcomed the European Parliament's decision to begin trilogue negotiations on proposed new copyright rules for online broadcasts.

An attempt today to give all MEPs the opportunity to amend the proposals again before the draft legislation enters trilogue discussions between the Parliament, the European Council and European Commission, was defeated.

This prevents another attempt by some MEPs to bring expensive drama and entertainment programmes within the rules. The Parliament's Legal Affairs Committee has already rejected this on the grounds it would undermine the business model of many production companies.

Conservative Legal Affairs spokesman Sajjad Karim said: "This report underwent detailed scrutiny by the Committee and it is quite right that our views have been upheld.

"We agreed that broadcasters should no longer be allowed to stop viewers in another country watching their news and current affairs programmes through so called geo-blocking. Abolishing these restrictions is particularly important for linguistic minorities who wish to keep up to date with events in their own language.

"However, to widen this to expensive drama and entertainment productions, as a number of MEPs want to do, could have meant some of the most popular programmes no longer got made.

"Companies often rely on sales to other EU countries to finance their shows, while investors may only become involved in return for exclusive broadcast rights in their own country.

"Forcing broadcasters to make these programmes freely available across the EU would completely undermine that business model."

It has already been agreed that consumers will have access to their subscriptions for services such as Netflix and Sky when temporarily abroad via new portability rules which come into force next April.

Conservative MEPs' leader Ashley Fox has welcomed news of an agreement between the UK and EU.

He said: "Today's agreement is both welcome and overdue.

"It follows hard work and compromise from both sides and I look forward to it being ratified by Member States at next week's summit.

"The really important work starts here. At last we can begin crafting the new relationship between the UK and the EU, a task that will shape the economies of all 28 countries and impact on the well-being of every citizen. It is crucially important and we must get it right.

"I don't underestimate the size and complexity of the negotiations ahead but am confident that with patience, flexibility and creativity we can achieve an outcome that enables both the UK and EU to prosper."                                                                                        

   

 

Conservative Transport Spokesman and Deputy Leader, Jacqueline Foster MEP, welcomed today's agreement to “Stop the Clock” to allow time for a global agreement to cut aviation emissions to be negotiated.

The EU currently operates an Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) for internal flights, but could not extend its scope outside the EU following international opposition. Today's decision will give the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) until December 2023 to finalise a new global scheme called CORSIA (Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation).

Mrs Foster, who authored (as rapporteur) the European Parliament Transport Committee's report, said: "I am delighted that ICAO will now have time to implement and complete the new CORSIA scheme to cut aviation emissions. This challenge has continued for the last ten years, and in my view pursuing an international agreement is the only realistic solution to tackling CO2 emissions globally.”

 

She continued: "More than 70 countries, including key players such as the US, China, India and others, have already signed up to the new ICAO scheme, and between them they emit approximately 88% of aviation CO2 emissions worldwide. Therefore, by fully backing the ICAO negotiators, we can secure a deal that will do more to protect the environment than any other option.”

 

Local MEP and Consumer Spokesman Dan Dalton has welcomed a new report on boosting digital trade passed in the European Parliament today.

The report calls for customs simplifications to eliminate problems many internet shoppers experience when buying from abroad, and for support and a reduction in red tape for SMEs entering the world of digital trade. Furthermore, it calls for unrestricted data flows, and elimination of unjustified localisation requirements, often used as disguised protectionism, a key priority for the UK government.

Mr Dalton, who authored the Parliament’s Consumer Protection Committee opinion to the report, commented on the vote:

“This report is very timely as we hit the peak Christmas shopping period, when many consumers are experiencing unreasonable customs demands whilst purchasing goods from abroad.”

“Customs simplification will help small businesses seeking to expand as well as shoppers, providing a boost to e-commerce in the UK, one of our biggest future growth industries.”

“Free flow of data is also a key priority for the UK, and important to aiding export of services, as we seek to push for a more global Britain.”

Tough new measures to prevent a repeat of the vehicle emissions scandal have been approved by the European Union.

Piloted through the European Parliament by Conservative Internal Market spokesman Dan Dalton, they will see a minimum of 500 models of cars of various ages being tested by Member States each year.

National authorities undertaking the work will be reviewed by the European Commission  to ensure the tests are consistent and effective.

Speaking after agreement was reached today in talks between the Parliament, Commission and the European Council, Mr Dalton said: "This is the final step in fixing a broken system which let down millions of people around Europe."

"It is good news for car owners, who can be sure their vehicles perform as they are supposed to; for manufacturers, who can be sure that competitors aren't cheating the regulations; and for air quality."

"No longer will illegally polluting cars make it onto our roads undetected."

Other measures featured in the new legislation include:

·         Owners will be reimbursed if they make repairs on vehicles to fix issues later subject to a manufacturer's recall.

·         Independent garages will have access to information on vehicles they need to compete with dealers and help drive down prices.

·         If there is any repeat of VW-style cheating of emissions tests, national governments and, if necessary, the Commission, will be able to levy fines.

·         The testing system will be much more transparent, with third parties able to access the data.

Mr Dalton added: "It has not been easy to secure agreement but I am delighted that we managed to include in the final text almost all the recommendations made by Parliament's committee of inquiry into the emissions scandal."

 

"Make no mistake, in future any manufacturers trying to cheat the system will be found out and properly punished."