On Labour In, he will say:
“The Labour party is overwhelmingly for staying in, because we believe the European Union has brought investment, jobs and protection for workers, consumers and the environment, and offers the best chance of meeting the challenges we face in the 21st century. Labour is convinced that a vote to remain is in the best interests of the people of this country.
“In the coming century, we face huge challenges, as a people, as a continent and as a human race. How to deal with climate change, how to address the overweening power of global corporations and ensure they pay fair taxes. How to tackle cyber-crime and terrorism. How to ensure we trade fairly and protect jobs and pay in an era of globalisation. How to address the causes of the huge refugee movements across the world and how we adapt to a world where people everywhere move more frequently to live, work and retire.
“All these issues are serious and pressing, and self-evidently require international co-operation. Collective international action through the European Union is clearly going to be vital to meeting these challenges. Britain will be stronger if we co-operate with our neighbours in facing them together.”
On changing the EU, he will say:
"When the last referendum was held in 1975, Europe was divided by the Cold War, and what later became the EU was a much smaller, purely market-driven arrangement. Over the years I have continued to be critical of many decisions taken by the EU and I remain critical of its shortcomings, from its lack of democratic accountability to the institutional pressure to deregulate or privatise public services.
“So Europe needs to change. But that change can only come from working with our allies in the EU. It’s perfectly possible to be critical and still be convinced we need to remain a member”.
On remain and reform, he will say:
“EU membership has guaranteed working people vital employment rights, including paid holiday, maternity and paternity leave, protections for agency workers and health and safety in the workplace. Being in the EU has raised Britain’s environmental standards, from beaches to air quality, and protected consumers from rip-off charges.
“But we also need to make the case for reform in Europe – the reform David Cameron’s government has no interest in, but plenty of others across Europe do.
“That means democratic reform to make the EU more accountable to its people. Economic reform to put jobs and sustainable growth at the centre of European policy, labour market reform to strengthen and extend workers’ rights in a real social Europe, and new rights for governments and elected authorities to support public enterprise and halt the pressure to privatise services.
“So the case I’m making is for ‘Remain - and Reform’ in Europe.”
On steel, he will say:
"But real reform will mean making progressive alliances across the EU. Something that the Conservatives will never do.
“Take the crisis in the steel industry. It’s a global problem and a challenge to many European governments, So why is it only the British government that has failed so comprehensively to act to save steel production at home?
“The European Commission proposed new tariffs on Chinese steel but it was the UK Government that blocked these co-ordinated efforts to stop Chinese steel dumping.
“Those proposals are still on the table. So today I ask David Cameron and George Osborne to to start sticking up for British steel and work with our willing European partners to secure its future.
“There are certainly problems about EU state aid rules, which need reform. But if, as the Leave side argues it is the EU that is the main problem. How is it, that Germany, Italy, France and Spain have all done so much better at protecting their steel industries?
“It is not the EU that is the problem, but a Conservative government here in Britain that doesn’t recognise the strategic importance of steel, for our economy and for the jobs and skills in those communities.
“The Conservative government has blocked action on Chinese steel dumping. It has cut investment in infrastructure that would have created demand for more steel and had no procurement strategy to support British steel.
“A Labour government would have worked with our partners across Europe to stand up for steel production in Britain.”
On tax, he will say:
"Of course the Conservatives are loyally committed to protecting one British industry in Europe - the tax avoidance industry.
“The most telling revelation about our Prime Minister has not been about his own tax affairs but that in 2013 he personally intervened with the European Commission President to undermine an EU drive to reveal the beneficiaries of offshore trusts. And even now, in the wake of the Panama Papers, he still won’t act.
“And on six different occasions since the beginning of last year, Conservative MEPs have voted down attempts to clamp down on tax dodging.
“Labour has allies across Europe prepared to take on this global network of the corrupt and we will work with them to clamp down on those determined to suck wealth out of our economies and the pockets of our people.
“On Tuesday, the EU announced a step forward on country-by-country reporting. We believe we can go further but even this modest measure was opposed by Conservative MEPs last December.
“Left to themselves, it is clear what the main Vote Leave vision is: for Britain to be the safe haven of choice for the ill-gotten gains of every dodgy oligarch, dictator, or rogue corporation.
“They believe this tiny global elite is what matters, not the rest of us, who they dismiss as ‘low achievers’.
On the case for Europe, he will say:
"It is sometimes easier to blame the EU, or worse to blame foreigners than to face up to our own problems. At the head of which right now is a Conservative government that is failing the people of Britain.
“There is nothing remotely patriotic about selling off our country and our national assets to the highest bidder, or in handing control of our economy to City hedge-funds and tax-dodging corporations based in offshore tax havens.
“There is a strong socialist case for staying in the European Union, just as there are is also a powerful socialist case for reform and progressive change in Europe.
“That is why we need a Labour government, to stand up at the European level for industries and communities in Britain, to back public enterprise and services, to protect and extend workers’ rights and to work with our allies to make both Britain and Europe work better for working people.
“Many people are still weighing up how they will vote in this referendum and I appeal to everyone, especially young people who will live longest with the consequences, to make sure you are registered to vote. And to vote in June. This is about your future.
“By working together across our continent we can develop our economies, protect social and human rights, tackle climate change and clamp down on tax dodgers.
“You cannot build a better world unless you engage with the world, build allies and deliver change. The EU, warts and all, has proved itself to be a crucial international framework to do that.”
On Labour In, he will say: “The Labour party is overwhelmingly for staying in, because we believe the European Union has brought investment, jobs and protection for workers, consumers and...
If the UK votes to leave the European Union what options would it have? Here is an interesting article from the Centre for European Reform that offers seven options and suggests why each of them is flawed. Read the article here.
If the UK votes to leave the European Union what options would it have? Here is an interesting article from the Centre for European Reform that offers seven options and...
See Arlene McCarthy's October 2013 European Trade Union Report here
See Arlene McCarthy's October 2013 European Trade Union Report here
Libor loophole in market abuse rules closed
Euro MPs voted by a large majority to back Arlene’s report and toughen up EU wide rules on market abuse and restore much
needed confidence in financial markets. As Vice President of the European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee and the lead negotiator on the market abuse law, Arlene said: “In the week of the fifth anniversary of the collapse of Lehman brothers some financial commentators say that the culture which caused the crisis persists in the financial world particularly with instances of abuse continuing to hit the news headlines. The Libor scandal was market manipulation of the worst kind. We are seeing more alleged and potential manipulation of benchmarks in energy markets such as oil and gas and foreign exchange markets. These new rules will close the Libor loophole and ensure all such benchmarks and indices are covered in the law.”
Arlene added: “The litmus test of our new market abuse rules is whether in a fast moving, hi-tech global financial system
these rules can capture, potential and emerging abuses and whether those who commit market abuse in the UK and
Europe will face the full force of the law rather than being extradited to the US because they have tougher sanctions
and longer jail sentences. This law closes the gap and sends a clear signal that the EU is not a soft option or safe haven for perpetrators of market abuse.
Merseyside loses out on vital EU funds
In July Arlene led a delegation of Merseyside representatives to meet with the European Commissioner for Regional Development, Johannes Hahn, to try and overturn a UKGovernment decision to cut £270 million of EU funding from Merseyside’s allocation. Arlene said: “Merseyside has been hit hardest by the cuts to the English regions because money has been moved to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.European funding provides a vital lifeline to Merseyside,without European regional funding we wouldn’t have seen projects like the £47 million investment in the Kings Dock Development.”The delegation believe that the Department of Business,Innovation and Skills (BIS) method of sharing out EU funding is not “in the spirit” of how the European Commission Intended it to be allocated i.e. to prioritise the poorest areas,Arlene added: “The Government are trying to transfer the blame to the EU for the reduction in funding that their own distortion of the EU funding formulae has caused. It is not for the Government to amend the EU formula which should be applied fairly across all areas of the UK. Cutting millions off rightful allocation is a major blow to jobs and growth in the region.
Tory U-turn on EU Vickers banking reform
In a key vote in the European Parliament Labour Euro MPs backed calls for a fundamental shake up of the structure of the EU banking sector.Conservative Euro MPs voted against the call for banking reform despite the Government’s pledge to bring in such reforms in the UK, Arlene said: “This is a prime opportunity to get Vickers banking reform across Europe. Why then would they block their own Government’s interests in the EU? Conservatives today voted against a safer, stable banking system which does not depend on taxpayer bail outs and brings real benefits to the UK economy. An EU banking crisis would have a serious contagion effect on the UK. The Tories are playing fast and loose with jobs and growth in the UK and Europe.”As Vice Chair of the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee and draftsperson on the report, Arlene added: “Today’s vote is a clear signal in favour of real reform to the structure of EU banks.We are calling for banking services, that are essential to the real economy, to be separated from the excessively risky activities of traders and investment bankers. Depositors and consumers should no longer pay for the excessive risks taken by banks with their money. The taxpayer cannot continue to be the lender of last resort. We need reform to deliver a safe, stable, effective and efficient banking system that operates in a competitive market economy and serves the needs of the real economy and of customers and consumers.”
£16 million for faster broadband in Cumbria
The European Commission has approved £16 million of funding for faster broadband in Cumbria. Arlene said: “This investment is a vital lifeline for businesses in Cumbria. Europe is helping our rural areas to get the support they need to make sure they are not disadvantaged in accessing markets. Affordable superfast broadband will ensure that Cumbria is fully equipped to take advantage of the digital age.”
Positive Steps visit European Parliament
Arlene hosted a visit to the European Parliament by Positive Steps, an organisation which works with young people from
Oldham and Rochdale to get them on the right track and fulfil their potential. Arlene said: “With youth unemployment at an all time high, the work that Positive Steps does with young people to help them make the right choices and build positive futures is vital. I am delighted that they brought a group to Brussels to find out for themselves what our membership of the European Union means for young people in Oldham and Rochdale.”
EU action on potential oil price fixing
Responding to raids by the European Commission of several large oil companies’ premises on allegations of price fixing, Arlene said: “In July 2012 I wrote to EU Competition Commissioner Almunia urging him to look closely at the IOSCO report on allegations of cartels price fixing in oil and gas markets. I remain very concerned that benchmarks in key indices, interest rates and commodity are subject to manipulation. These prices have a knock on effect for households and businesses bills as well as the price of petrol at the pump. People are paying more while companies are booking high profits on the basis of manipulated prices.”
Arlene added: “There is a serious lack of transparency in the price setting system which means we have no idea if the prices
are fair and honest or whether they are a true reflection of the price. The lack of action by UK regulators means it is vital for the European Commission to investigate potential abusive practices in these markets. Should consumers be the victim of overcharging then I want to see companies redress the situation and consumers that have been ripped off compensated.
When 6.5million UK consumers are experiencing fuel poverty and families have seen gas and energy prices rise by between
6 and 9% this year adding on average £200 to their energy bills, this type of market manipulation is abuse which must be urgently tackled”
Arlene added: “One in four young people active in the labour market in the North West are unemployed, the highest level for
almost 25 years. Labour Euro MPs have called on the British government to use the UK’s share of the €6 billion Youth Guarantee funds to save a generation of young people in our region. Young people are top of our agenda in the European Parliament and I want the young people who have visited today to have gone away knowing that their future is our priority.”
Tories delay initiative to stop teenagers smoking
Tory Euro MPs cast the deciding votes to delay progress on EU legislation to protect children from tobacco marketing tactics. Arlene said: “It’s a disgrace that Tory Euro MPs sided with the tobacco industry. They have delayed a vital new law which would introduce bigger picture warnings and stop the industry making tobacco more attractive to children with innovative packaging and flavourings. It is a key tactic of the tobacco industry to delay and block the Tobacco Products Directive, and Tory Euro MPs have given them a helping hand.”Arlene, who supports North West Tobacco Free Futures Campaign, whose youth campaigners have in the past brought their message direct to the European Parliament in Brussels,said: “A child starts smoking every 28 minutes in the North West.New estimates show that in the North West over 18,000 children start smoking every year, 52 children a day. When you see some of the packaging and cigarettes with their slim designs and pastel colours it’s obvious the industry is deliberately targeting young girls. They are also developing flavours such as chocolate and strawberry, which are clearly aimed at making to younger smokers. Stopping a new generation of smokers from being recruited has to be our top priority. In order to do this targeting the packets and flavours of cigarettes is crucial. “
Libor loophole in market abuse rules closed Euro MPs voted by a large majority to back Arlene’s report and toughen up EU wide rules on market abuse and restore muchneeded confidence...