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Brussels Commentary: Employment Committee, 5-6 October 2011
Date 07/10/2011 06:37  Author webmaster  Hits 2414  Language Global
By Derek Clark | Related VIDEO

Wednesday started with an MEP complaining that there was no translation into his language, Danish. He's right of course, and several others supported him, but in terms of showing "solidarity" with him. They just can not talk in ordinary terms, they have to use Euro-speak.

We must help combat poverty and social exclusion, apparently, by submitting a Reform program to the Commission, that's in the Lisbon treaty. We must also provide more affordable housing and there are moves afoot to introduce a minimum income.

The issue of Seasonal Workers was debated. Illegal immigrants are being exploited, surprise, surprise, although some people think it's the other way round. Some of the committee want the employers to pay for the travel of these workers from home back to home, and to find their insurance, while equal pay was raised. Other members thought that only EU people should be allowed to move about as seasonal workers!

Of more interest to me was a debate on health and safety regarding electromagnetic fields. For once I was interested because a presentation from 5 people was largely technical, usually any visiting experts are just hot air. I am interested in MRI scanning because the 2004 regulations set the levels of field strength so low to protect medical staff that it would have spelt the end of MRI. Hence 
my question [see video].      

Having debated work-place stress a member from the Czech Republic said that he felt under stress having seen the voting list for the day. I don't know why, the votes on whether Croatia should join the EU only covered a page and a half. I'll admit the voting list for Poverty and Social Exclusion did occupy 36 pages, but he is paid to do this! Including the items mentioned above it passed by 34 to 5 with 5 abstentions.    

Today ended with a visit by Commissioner Andor, our man in the EC. I was going to ask a question, but that was impossible because I wanted a real answer. His twenty minute presentation, -with plenty of "solidarity"-, included "Gender equality", the unemployment situation,- esp among the young-, and telling us that there was a 430 million Euro budget for the Globalisation Adjustment Fund. My question, on "Bombardier", would have needed a bit of time to answer but, had this been the full one hour session as advertised, that would have worked. However, he turned up 30 minutes late, having preferred to take a press conference into overtime. So I waited for him to finish and departed, there being only 12 minutes left, within which he would have found no time for Bombardier.