I was thrilled, two and a half years after the European elections, to be able to take my seat in the European Parliament last December.This delay was due to the time needed to ratify the necessary amending provisions to the Lisbon Treaty to allow 18 additional MEPs to join the Parliament.With that process complete I sat in the Hemicycle for the first time along with the other new Members to hear the President welcome us to the EP.
In my first TV interview as an MEP I was asked if, being a new British Conservative MEP, I had noticed any hostility from my non British colleagues.I replied that this was very far from the case in my experience: universally my colleagues have been welcoming, helpful and understanding.
Over the many months of waiting to join the Parliament, several of the “Additional 18” communicated regularly via email. We counted down the countries yet to ratify the necessary protocol and shared information on what was happening. In Strasbourg last month we finally got together for dinner and at last I could put names and faces together and meet people whom I already regarded as friends.Although we are a complete mixture of nationalities and parties, our shared experience has brought us together.
Joining the Parliament at the mid-way point, is rather like starting to watch a film when it’s half way through. I have found myself getting to grips with current issues as well as understanding the dynamics of this Parliament which have developed in the months and years before my arrival.Then there is the administration.The vast majority of my time for the first few weeks was taken up with filling in a plethora of forms with the friendly support of the Parliament's officials, recruiting staff and equipping my office. So far, I have only left my voting card in the Hemicycle once!
Now, three months in, most forms are completed, my office is functioning and I know what Committees I sit on; LIBE and substitute on EMPL and AGRI.These are three active Committees, handling challenging and interesting issues.Indeed the spectrum of subjects covered by my Committee work is very wide; from the Situation in Hungary in LIBE, to Electromagnetic Fields in EMPL, to CAP reform in AGRI.LIBE's work is wide-ranging and challenging in dealing with issues which have very real consequences for our electors' daily lives.
It is with the latter two Committees where I hope my experience may be of benefit to the work of EMPL and AGRI.For the twenty five years prior to joining the Parliament I ran my own business, so I am very well aware of the problems and frustrations experienced by SMEs in understanding and complying with regulations.Additionally, I hope to be able to apply my recent experience in running a business and being an employer in the current economic climate to deliberations in the Employment Committee.I am also relishing contributing to the work of the Agriculture Committee.For many years I have been involved in a smallholding to which recently we have added a vineyard; an increasingly common innovation in England.My contact with farmers across the West Midlands region of England over many years has given me additional insight into the challenges facing agriculture, particularly regarding greening initiatives and CAP reform.
I am becoming accustomed to the D'Hondt method and its implications on speaking time and order; although it is a shame that this can often stultify debate in Committees where there is no blue card initiative.I am quite surprised by the easy ride often given to the Commission.I am sure that in most national Parliaments in Europe, Members would not be so deferential to the executive.Clearly the EU institutions are not, nor should they be, a central government; but the Parliament should still hold the Commission to account.
Recently I commented that finding myself in the European Parliament was rather like joining the Foreign Legion; grappling with the shifting sands of European politics and trying to defend one’s country’s interests. The person I was talking to reminded me that those who joined the Foreign Legion were usually fleeing some crime or scandal at home!I am glad to say that this does not apply to me and I am pleased to be here and particularly pleased, with the administration behind me, to throw myself into the real work of an MEP: representing the people of the West Midlands and advocating Conservative values.
MEP Anthea welcomes enormous majority vote for a single seat for parliament.
Local MEP Anthea McIntyre joined fellow Conservatives in last week’s vote in favour of a single seat at the mini plenary in Brussels.
The result, 429 for a single seat and 184 against, is the highest majority ever recorded in such a vote and reflects the economic and environmental costs of the controversial Brussels-Strasbourg arrangement.
“The current two-seat regime is completely bonkers!” said Anthea, “It means that the whole legislature, administrative team and thousands of support staff are shifted for four days each month from Brussels to Strasbourg.
“A fleet of 20 trucks carries tonnes of paperwork between the two parliament buildings and the process wastes 170 million pounds of taxpayers' money every year. It also creates 20,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide.”
The ending of this “travelling circus” has been a long-held Conservative objective and has progressively been gaining support from MEPs across the political spectrum.
"I am delighted that the parliament has made its view so clear,” said Miss McIntyre, “the travelling circus must end and this vote is a very significant step forward in our long-running campaign to stop this grotesque wastefulness.”
Anthea McIntyre, Hereford’s new MEP, has wasted no time in getting to see some of the good work being done in locally with the support of the European Social Fund.
Within days of the confirmation of her election, Anthea visited Hereford Primary Care Trust’s TOWN Training Centre to meet a number of the young people being helped to prepare themselves for the world of work.
Commenting on her visit, Anthea said:
“It was an inspiring visit – the students and the tutors showed great enthusiasm and determination to succeed and I was pleased that Ofsted’s Chief Inspector has reported that this centre is one of only 15 inspected this year awarded the accolade of ‘outstanding’.
“The Centre offers a range of varied and specialist courses with the common learning ethos which ensures that everyone receives Individualised learning, designed to meet their personal needs, delivered by a committed staff team who will help them reach their full potential.
“I was very pleased to see this example of practical help delivered in such a professional manner in the heart of Hereford."
Anthea McIntyre MEP, the European Conservatives and Reformists group’s shadow rapporteur on the proposals, warned that the parliament should not ‘throw its toys out of the pram’ after MEPs called the decision a ‘declaration of war’ against the legitimacy of MEPs and the Commission.
The council has unanimously decided to consider the evaluation mechanism under article 70 of the EU treaty, which precludes MEPs from having co-decision powers.
Other political groups have demanded that the Parliament immediately takes the matter to the EU’s Court of Justice, and have threatened to cut off all cooperation with the Council.
Speaking in the debate this morning, Miss McIntyre said:
“I too was surprised by the Council’s move to change the legal basis of Schengen. But I am even more surprised by your reactions. This is a time for cool heads and calm consideration. We should not react with a childish tantrum and throw our toys out of the pram. These are very challenging times for the EU and we need good working relations between the institutions. The first step should be to investigate the legal consequences of the Council’s action.
“In my view the management of a country’s borders is directly linked to national security and, under the European Treaties, national security remains the responsibility of each member state. I understand why member states don’t want to give up this competence – and they are quite right.”
MEP Anthea McIntyre has made the news in Kansas!
The following article appeared in the Kansass City Star on 14th June 2012
In spat, EU Parliament stops talks with EU Council
By DON MELVIN
BRUSSELS -- Just as voices across Europe are calling for stronger governance in response to the financial crisis - a surer hand at the wheel - one branch of the EU said in a fit of pique Thursday that it was suspending cooperation with another branch on a range of important security issues.
The European Parliament, feeling slighted it was not consulted on a proposal the Justice and Home Affairs Council made earlier this month on curbing the free movement of people across national borders, announced it would stop working with the Council on five law-enforcement proposals. They relate to the border controls as well as to fighting cybercrime, improving cooperation among national police forces, finalizing the internal security budget, and crafting an anti-terrorism proposal requiring airlines to supply information on passengers to EU member countries.
"This is quite drastic action," acknowledged Armin Machmer, a spokesman for Martin Schulz, president of the European Parliament.
A British member of the Parliament, Anthea McIntyre, put it another way. "We should not react with a childish tantrum and throw our toys out of the pram," she said.
The immediate flashpoint was the proposal this month by the Justice and Home Affairs Council, which is composed of officials from the 27 EU national governments, to amend the way the Schengen open-borders agreement allows national authorities in some instances to temporarily close their borders. The Parliament, made up of elected representatives from around Europe, felt it should have helped develop the proposal rather than having it presented to them on a yes-or-no basis.
But beyond that, the Parliament has felt ignored or consulted only as an afterthought on a variety of issues, including on the European Union's response to the financial crisis now threatening the euro currency.
The Schengen Agreement, allowing people to move unhindered across the national borders of 26 European countries, is considered one of the EU's proudest achievements. Tinkering with it arouses strong emotions.
"This is a very sensitive point," Machmer said. "That also in part explains the fury."
The decision to suspend cooperation was made by a majority vote of the Parliament's Conference of Presidents, a group composed of Shulz and the leaders of the Parliament's political groups.
"It is without precedent that in the middle of the legislative process, one co-legislative chamber excludes the other," Shulz said in a statement. "The JHA Council's approach of 7 June represents a slap in the face of parliamentary democracy and is unacceptable to the directly elected representatives of European citizens."
Morten Bodskov, minister of justice for Denmark, which holds the EU's rotating presidency at the moment, said he regretted the Parliament's decision.
"A good cooperation is to the benefit of all, especially during the present economic crisis," Bodskov said.
Jochen Mueller, a spokesman on home affairs issues for the Council, could not be reached for comment.
But Timothy Kirkhope, another British member of the Parliament, denounced the decision to suspend cooperation with the Council.
"The European Parliament is now threatening public safety in order to make a political point," Kirkhope said. Members of Parliament, he added, were "putting their own self-aggrandizement ahead of safety and security."
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