Strasbourg Commentary 39 Plenary Session 18 – 21 Nov 2013
Tuesday Voting The Plenkovic report on yet another Globalisation Adjustment Fund, to award yet more of your money to failed companies who can’t keep up, does not sound very exciting. But, this was for Spanish building firms in Valencia!!
Ever since I became an MEP I have received emails from desperate people who have fallen for the, “Retirement home in the Sun” scam. They have been to Spain on holiday, attend nice little UK gatherings where a smooth talker persuades them to invest. This means selling up in Britain using the cash to fund their home, only to find, in many cases, that it does not exist. Or, it does, but the local developer has had building permission for the complex from the Regional Council only to be overturned by the National Government. The bulldozers then move in and flatten their home; money gone. One famous case involved a time-share apartment of umpteen flats all taken by hundreds of North Europeans for their 2 weeks in the sun. Bulldozed like the rest, with no recompense.
Problem is, for UK buyers especially, they think that, as we are all in the EU now, all laws and so on are same everywhere, No they are not. Spanish conveyancing has always been tortuous and local solicitors are no help. Had lunch with Northampton Solicitors a few months ago and I asked them how they would go about dealing with acquiring Spanish property. “Not with a barge pole” was the reply.
Cyprus is no better. There they get the purchaser to sign the papers to deposit all the money required in a certain bank. They then have to appoint a lawyer to act for them to pay out the monthly in instalments,- before the keys are handed over!. No signature = no home = no money back. The only bank which will offer a Mortgage is the Alpha Panetti Bank. The only acceptable go-between lawyer is called Panetti!. I spent all afternoon with Cypriot lawyers and a UK lawyer trying to sort this out!!
Wednesday Votes included “Gender £balance …Directors Companies listed on stock Exchange” All our amendments were voted down. Then came the Fox-Hafner report on, “Location of the EU’s Parliament seats.”
Most of us wish to get rid of this Brussels/ Strasbourg monthly circus. To be clear it does not affect me too much, ditto others. I go the Brussels and come home, I go to Strasbourg and come home (in an hour or so, if you’ll let me!). But most of the Parliamentary Assistants live in Brussels, so they go to & fro, plus paperwork. Outside my door now is a cabin trunk into which I can put anything I like, John ditto. Sometime tomorrow it will be collected, join the other 745 other MEP trunks, be loaded onto trucks and off to Brussels. There to be unloaded and put outside my office. Friday prior to next Strasbourg all collected in Brussels again and off to Strasbourg, all of them. I put hardly anything in mine!!
The permanent staff of Parliament move between the two places, plus their paperwork. As do the Commission staff. And the Council staff. And a lot of the admin takes place in the Third seat of Parliament, Luxembourg. That’s where all our monies are administered, so any query…..
You would think that a re-arrangement would be a simple matter. Wrong! Strasbourg sittings are a matter of the Law, in that it is in the Treaties. At the moment there is work going on to amend the treaties, which is fraught with complexity and personalities. It will be ages before anything is done about the issue of where we debate and vote. And Cameron thinks he can re-negotiate our terms of membership within the Treaties!!!
My little one minute on Creutzman, “Competiveness etc” is on the website. My rough notes here below. I had the choice of speaking to this or to “Social Change and innovation”. Although the latter was more within my brief as employment spokesman I chose Creutzman as it was more interesting!. Actually, I had been approached by the Health Foods people mentioned in my opening line and promised them I would speak to this. No, I don’t normally respond to lobbyists because they are usually big companies after a free boost for their product. That usually takes the form of getting us to promote new legislation to favour them. Inevitably that works against the small guys, hence my support of the Small & Medium Enterprises”.
Thursday Creutzman was voted on today. Guess what, it was voted down, by 554 to 27 votes. Ah well. The point is, we never give up, they are going to hear what the only grown up democracy in Europe has to say. In which respect go to UKIP MEPs website and listen to a number of speeches of this last week from Paul Nuttall, Gerard Batten and Stuart Agnew, Enjoy!!.
Derek Clark MEP Strasbourg 21st Nov 2013.