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 condemns latest EU power-grab plan
Local MEP Anthea McIntyre has condemned an attempted power-grab by the EU which would potentially allow people who have never worked in this country to claim welfare and retirement benefits.
The plan is presented as a simplification of administrative arrangements between countries but could actually allow the EU to take control of decisions over Britain’s benefits system.
It is proposed that citizens of Turkey, which is hoping to join the EU, should be given access to the social security systems of current members and the move would “permit Turkey to align its policies on social security co-ordination with those of the EU in preparation for future accession”.
An angry Miss McIntyre said:
“This is an attempt to use powers that are intended to cover arrangements between existing members of the EU to bring forward a scheme covering countries that are not yet members and is totally unacceptable.
“I will be working closely with Employment Minister, Chris Grayling MP, to stop this attempt by the EU to interfere with our benefits system.
“Rather than try to grab additional powers, the EU should focus on cutting its costs and removing the excessive burdens it imposes on businesses. We need to allow enterprise to flourish to create new jobs.”
MEP Anthea supports Balwant Singh
Local Conservative MEP, Anthea McIntyre, has written to the Indian Ambassador to the European Parliament in Brussels, Dr Jaimini Bhagwati, calling for the Indian Government to remove the threat of the death penalty from Balwant Singh.
“It is the longstanding policy of Her Majesty's Government to oppose the death penalty in all circumstances as a matter of principle.To this end, the UK has long been at the forefront of efforts within the EU and wider international community to maintain political pressure on countries that use the death penalty, and to urge countries to adhere to their human rights obligations. With regards to India and other Commonwealth member states, HMG regularly raises the abolition of the death penalty at both official and ministerial level.” Miss McIntyre said.
“I should also like to draw to your attention my membership of the India Delegation within the European Parliament. The Delegation has raised the issue of human rights in India with the European External Action Service, and as a result of these discussions it was agreed that human rights should form a consistent part of the European Union's dialogue with the Indian Government.
“In short, we oppose the death penalty and fully support calls for abolition being raised in the EU's political dialogues with a wide range of countries including India. We also support the EU in raising individual cases around the world.”
Miss McIntyre sent a representative to the peaceful demonstration that took place last week in Brussels who presented copies of her letter to the Indian Ambassador and showed support to the members of the demonstration.
MEP Anthea aims to inspire local businesses
Local MEP, Anthea McIntyre, believes that local businesses hold the key to local prosperity and is working to help them in a number of ways.
(Photo shows Tim Kidson with Anthea and members of the Herefordshire Conservative Business Forum)
On Friday, 27 April, she arranged for around 40 local businesses to hear from Tim Kidson, the nationally renowned expert in transforming executive performance.
Mr Kidson frequently addresses business audiences such as the Academy for Chief Executives, the Institute of Directors and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and uses a number of lessons developed from real-life examples that the audience can immediately learn and apply to their own enterprises.
Commenting on the presentation, Miss McIntyre said: “Too often we get caught-up in the day-to-day running of our businesses and fail to see ways in which we could improve our performance.
“Tim’s presentation gave a number of local entrepreneurs and business executives a fresh perspective and some inspirational ideas which might help them develop their business and, in time, allow for the creation of new jobs.
“Running a business is never easy and it is especially difficult in the current economic climate. Any technique that helps to encourage and inspire fresh thinking and which has proven results is worth exploring and I am delighted to have been able to arrange this event.”
Shropshire’s MEP, Anthea McIntyre, was the guest of North Shropshire Conservative Association at a Lunch held in Wem on 9th March.
Speaking to a large number of enthusiastic members and guests, Miss McIntyre spoke about her role as a West Midlands MEP and the work she is doing on behalf of local people.
Addressing the audience, Miss McIntyre said:
“My priority is to stop the creation of endless hurdles to job-creation and the imposition of regulations that would further hamper local small businesses from growing and creating new jobs for local people.
“All too often we see examples of proposals that would add disproportionately to the burdens on smaller businesses and which would have the effect of stopping innovation and enterprise.
“Our small business sector is crucial and, by its very nature, consists of thousands of individuals who have taken a risk to create employment for themselves and others – these entrepreneurs should be congratulated and encouraged rather than swamped with bureaucracy.”
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