By Derek Clark MEP | RELATED VIDEO
UKIP MEP Derek Clark's commentary on last week's Employment Committee sittings - 29-30 Sept. 2010
Wednesday, 29 September
A poorly attended session when Commissioner Reding's (Justice & Fundamental Rights) three-hour presentation included two hours on the Roma. Quote, " the commission are to analyse France's breach of the free movement directive". She plans an addition to the Charter of Fundamental Rights to give minorities equal treatment, regardless of conduct in a member state. Which will mean social security hand-outs regardless of how long people have been in the UK and what they've been up to.
Thursday, 30 September
Commissioner Andor outlined the 2011 work program; the Commission is in charge, not the MEPs. The usual dirge; combating ageing, Working Time Directive (a fresh start!), he also took questions, including mine. An instant decision to speak and under pressure. They take 5 Qs at a time and the first lot had 3 mins, so I mentally prepared, but when it got to the bunch including me it was 1min 30 max! I think this is what I said:
"Commissioner, when we first met, to question you on taking up this role, I asked what you were going to do to help SMEs, which employ half the work force of Europe. You had no specifics then but today you have given some specific answers to other questions, so here are three specifics from me.
"This morning the committee approved payments from the Globalisation Adjustment Fund to help people made redundant from firms that have closed down. Now SMEs are, by definition, not big enough to reach the 500 threshold but people made redundant from them, and their families, are just as much in need as those made redundant in a 1000 work force. That is discrimination.
"In the last Strasbourg plenary Jose Barroso himself said that SMEs are being strangled by red-tape but, later that morning, Parliament passed the Bove report, including an amendment which will impose a big reporting burden on businesses, which will fall disproportionately on SMEs.
"A few months ago this committee voted to exclude independent truck drivers from the full provisions of the WTD, only for it somehow to be revisited in committee, which reversed that decision and then plenary voted to endorse that.
"Commissioner, I am not looking for an aspiration, but for logical commitment."
Andor's reply was only to remark that EGF funding was available where, in a given area, enough redundancies due to relocations had occurred to total 500 or more. Now that means that in, say, one town, someone has to total all redundancies due to relocation, get those concerned to agree and then apply. If, meanwhile, any get a new job then, presumably, it will need a re-start. Any takers?
It seems logical to include my short speech here rather than as a separate item and a video of it, including the relevant part of Andor's reply, will be on my website as soon our video assistant can get it, usually a day or so. I'll be interested to see if I said what I thought I did!
Derek Clark MEP