A strange session. Strasbourg Plenary is usually Monday to Thursday, this time it was Tuesday to Friday since Monday was the Greek Orthodox Easter. The organisers evidently knew this would be not too well attended for the agenda was very light on real EU business. There were debates on Human Rights, Mali, Syria, Burma, the Black Sea, World Security systems, Jordan, biometric passports, Women and Climate Change, biodiversity. There was no business at all on Friday afternoon when there is on a normal Thursday last day.
Brussels: Employment Committee, 23-24 April
Monday: At least the Employment Commissioner, Lazlo Andor turned up. You would think that portfolio holders would be frequent visitors to their committees, but not so. This is only about the fourth time that Mr Andor has turned up since acquiring the brief in 2009, while the committee meets once a month. He came only to, "Exchange Views in the context of the Structured Dialogue". That was an hour and a half, then he was gone. This was followed by the,"European Social Fund", - more of your money, "Youth opportunities", but not removing the red tape that makes it so difficult for employers to take on youngsters. Then more money on "Pre-accession assistance", "Social Partnership Funds" and "Social Investment Pact".
Then the big one, "...Minimum training of seafarers", with contributions from MEPs of land-locked countries!
I hope you like the convoluted language of the titles, but if I have to cope with it I thought you might like to experience it.
Tuesday: Finally, for me, "Exchange of views with the Commission on Free Movement of Workers from Bulgaria and Romania", without Commissioner Andor. Transition arrangements which have been used to reduce the inflow of workers from these countries will come to an end in Dec 2013. Following which, quote from the official text, page 1, para 1.3,-
"...a Member State must always give preference to Bulgarian and Romanian workers over workers who are nationals of non-EU countries as regards first access to the labour market".
Thus do they now intend to discriminate against people from the British Commonwealth who wish to come here. Discrimination is against the Lisbon Treaty! But see the video of my intervention in this debate, below.
Also see my letter, on my website under News, which was published in several local papers. Interestingly my own local paper wanted proof of the quote before publishing, no doubt because they think this is really hot stuff and so it is. You read/ heard it here first.