West Midlands MEP Anthea was at the Royal Three Counties Show today to canvass opinion on trading relationships between farmers and retailers.

Miss McIntyre is lead negotiator for her political group, the European Conservatives and Reformists, for proposed EU legislation on unfair trading practices by major food retailers.

She has a stall at the show, held at the show ground in Great Malvern, and on Friday spoke to a range of farmers, growers, processors and marketers, to hear their views on retailers’ purchasing operations. 

Miss McIntyre, Conservative Agriculture spokesman in the European Parliament, also held a reception to thank figures from farming, academia, conservation, research and engineering who have helped in her two key projects: promoting the application of advanced technology in agriculture, and campaigning for a science-based approach to the regulation of pesticides and herbicides.

She said: “The Royal Three Counties is a fantastic show and a great celebration of agriculture and out rural way of life. It also gives me an opportunity to thank all the people we have worked with over the year.

“It was good to hear from farmers themselves what they think of the deal they get from the major retailers.

“In the UK we have the Grocery Code Adjudicator - a kind of mediator or referee - and that has made a big difference to the way farmers and growers are treated by the big 10 supermarkets.

“I am using the show as an opportunity for some unofficial consultation on the changes or improvements growers would like to see in the Adjudicator’s powers and responsibilities.

“I think our UK system could provide a model for the EU’s new framework so I am keen to hear about its strengths and any weaknesses.”

The rights of disabled people are on the agenda as Anthea McIntyre leads a delegation of MEPs to New York this week.

Miss McIntyre will head a mission made up of fellow members of the European Parliament's Employment Committee to discuss issues including employment opportunity and fair treatment at work, plus legal equality and political participation for disabled people globally.

The MEPs awill take part in the 11th conference at the United Nations Headquarters for signatories to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, beginning tomorrow (Tues).

They will also contribute to a series of side events on subjects which include the potential for artificial intelligence to improve inclusion, and a presentation by the European Union on using development aid to improve accessibility for the disabled in under-developed countries.

Miss McIntyre, MEP for the West Midlands and Conservative employment spokesman in the European Parliament, said:  "The issue of equal opportunity, equal access and equal recognition for disabled people is something I care about deeply. 

"You can judge a country's character as well as its progress by its expectations of disabled people. Everyone should be able to fulfil their true potential. There is still a way for us to go in the developed West before things are as they should be, but in some other parts of the word it can be a truly dismal picture.

"I know from direct experience through different organisations I have been involved in, that employment opportunities with good conditions and proper accessibility are the best way for disabled people to find fulfilment and wellbeing.
"That is why the Convention matters and that is why we want to see it taken up and acted upon worldwide."

The Birmingham-based John Lewis partnership and a list of other British companies were highlighted in European parliament as prime examples of successful employee ownership schemes.

Anthea McIntyre, Conservative employment spokesman in the European Parliament, said the UK had more than 100 such companies contributing more than £25 billion to the economy.

And she gave a roll call of UK businesses which were achieving better performance by making their staff their stakeholders.

Miss McIntyre, Conservative MEP for the West Midlands, addressed the parliament's Employment Committee in Brussels as it considered a new report to encourage the development of Employee Financial Participation (EFP) in Europe. The report highlights the potential of such schemes for both workers and employers and suggests a number of measures which could be taken at EU level to promote EFP.

She said: "I very much support the need for awareness-raising campaigns, exchanges of best practice, more transparency and information, the promotion of financial education with respect to retail and equities investment. 

"There are several excellent examples of EFP particularly in my own country, for example John Lewis - a large and well known retailer. John Lewis is an employee-owned partnership model which operates differently from private-equity backed businesses and stockmarket-listed companies as instead of profits flowing to the shareholders, at John Lewis they flow to the staff in the form of the annual bonus.

"There are more than 100 companies in the UK with significant employee ownership. These include some well know names such as Blackwell bookshops, jam makers Wilkin & Sons - who make wonderful jams and sauces – and Scott Bader, a polymers manufacturer. 

"A survey of financial data from more than 250 firms (both private and employee owned)  backs up other studies showing that employee-owned businesses typically out-perform those companies in which employees do not have an ownership stake or the right to participate in decision-making. 

"Employees who have a stake in the company are more committed to delivering quality and more flexible in supporting the needs of the business."

The European Parliament's temporary committee on pesticides must take a common sense approach to regulation if it is to make a useful contribution, a leading member said.
Anthea McIntyre MEP, UK Conservative spokesman on Agriculture, told a Brussels debate on pesticides regulation to bear in mind that the so-called PEST committee was a political initiative by certain political groups with an eye to next year’s European elections. It had a temporary lifespan and a short timeline.
Miss McIntyre, Conservative MEP for the West Midlands, was a panelist in the debate "How should we regulate pesticides?", organised by the publisher Euractiv.
She said: "The whole process is relatively short, it will only produce an opinion, not legislation. I nevertheless would welcome the opportunity for MEPs to ask questions to experts in a format that allows a 'ping-pong' of questions and answers back and forth."
Miss McIntyre said that the argument for some people was not about whether glyphosate was safe or not. It was about whether we should authorise any chemicals for use in food and agricultural production.
She said: "In my opinion, we should authorise them because we need them if we are to maintain food security. We must have a common sense approach to this issue.”
Miss McIntyre rejected an assertion by an agricultural trade union that farmers generally used pesticides inappropriately.
She said chemicals were expensive, so farmers would use the smallest amount possible. Precision farming and integrated pest-management methods were making sure pesticides were applied in an ever more efficient and environmentally-friendly way.
“I hope that something sensible will come out of the PEST committee and I hope it will deliver on its mandate. We need to provide science-based policy making and distinguish fact from fiction.”

The European Union must be on the lookout for cases of "gold plating" when it undertakes its Annual Burden Survey, MEPs were told today.

The warning over so-called gold plating - when member-state governments take EU legislation and add their own unrelated and burdensome clauses at the implementation stage - was issued by Anthea McIntyre, Conservative MEP for the West Midlands.

She spoke out as she published detailed proposals on behalf of her political group, the European Conservatives and Reformists, to improve the European Commission’s annual burden survey (ABS) and help reduce over regulation across the EU.

Miss McIntyre was instrumental in setting up the survey as a potential warning system for the Commission on the consequences of excessive regulation.

She believes that while the Commission's first ABS had been worthwhile, future ones must show more ambition.

She said: "We may create a simple piece of legislation at EU level - easy for businesses to understand and comply with. But when it’s transposed into national legislation, it doesn’t stay like that.

"Additional or completely unrelated elements are added to the legislation. The Annual Burden Survey should identify these cases of gold plating.

"By using the ABS to bring transparency to the legislative process, we can ensure that legislation remains simple, clear and enforceable. And we can make sure that Europe is not blamed for unpopular legislation that has in fact been created by a Member State."

Other proposals from an ECR policy working group chaired by Miss McIntyre include calling on the European Parliament's research arm to produce in-depth reports into the impact of its proposals, and a truly independent Regulatory Scrutiny Board with experts in place of European Commission officials.