Monthly Archives: Nov 2013

Verhofstadt: “My obsession is a liberal Europe, not a bureaucratic, centralised superstate.”

Addressing the formal opening of the ALDE Party Congress in London’s Canary Wharf today, Guy Verhofstadt, ALDE Group President called for a fight-back against rising euro-scepticism and for Liberals to campaign for a stronger, more democr…

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Reciprocity in trade must not undermine the EU’s trade policy

Reciprocity in trade must not undermine the EU's trade policy
The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe supports the compromise adopted today during the parliamentary International Trade Committee ( INTA ) on the proposal for regulation on the access of third-country goods and services to the Union’s internal market in public procurement

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Reciprocity in trade must not undermine the EU’s trade policy

Reciprocity in trade must not undermine the EU's trade policy
The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe supports the compromise adopted today during the parliamentary International Trade Committee ( INTA ) on the proposal for regulation on the access of third-country goods and services to the Union’s internal market in public procurement

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Egypt is once again crossing the line

Egypt is once again crossing the line
A series of recent rulings and judicial heavy-handedness are once again jeopardising Egypt’s progress to a stable democratic future.

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Egypt is once again crossing the line

Egypt is once again crossing the line
A series of recent rulings and judicial heavy-handedness are once again jeopardising Egypt’s progress to a stable democratic future.

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NSA scandal: US assurances not enough to dispel spying suspicions

NSA scandal: US assurances not enough to dispel spying suspicions
Following today’s publication by the European Commission of its assessment of the functioning of the Safe Harbour Agreement and on Rebuilding Trust in EU-US Data Flows in light of the recent data mining scandals, Sophie In’t Veld (D66, Netherlands), Vice President of Parliament’s Civil Liberties and Home Affairs committee was both sceptical and critical:

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NSA scandal: US assurances not enough to dispel spying suspicions

NSA scandal: US assurances not enough to dispel spying suspicions
Following today’s publication by the European Commission of its assessment of the functioning of the Safe Harbour Agreement and on Rebuilding Trust in EU-US Data Flows in light of the recent data mining scandals, Sophie In’t Veld (D66, Netherlands), Vice President of Parliament’s Civil Liberties and Home Affairs committee was both sceptical and critical:

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ALDE MEPS convinced that Ukraine’s future remains with Europe

ALDE MEPS convinced that Ukraine's future remains with Europe
Last week Ukraine announced that it will halt discussions with the EU on a political and trade association agreement following a vote by the Ukrainian Parliament to reject the EU’s demands to allow jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko to leave the country for medical treatment. ALDE MEPs regret the decision and remain convinced, along with 60% of the Ukrainian population many of whom demonstrated on the streets of Kiev this weekend, that Ukraine’s best prospects remain in closer association with the EU.

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ALDE MEPS convinced that Ukraine’s future remains with Europe

ALDE MEPS convinced that Ukraine's future remains with Europe
Last week Ukraine announced that it will halt discussions with the EU on a political and trade association agreement following a vote by the Ukrainian Parliament to reject the EU’s demands to allow jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko to leave the country for medical treatment. ALDE MEPs regret the decision and remain convinced, along with 60% of the Ukrainian population many of whom demonstrated on the streets of Kiev this weekend, that Ukraine’s best prospects remain in closer association with the EU.

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ALDE Newsletter November 2013


22 November 2013 Headlines ALDE NewsProfiles of MEPs in the News ALDE Networking ALDE News MFF: Parliament’s tough stance delivered a better deal The European Parliament meeting in Strasbourg adopted on November 19th the General Regulations on the implementation of the 2014-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework. ALDE participated in this consensus because after months of long and difficult negotiations with the Council, all the conditions set forth in the parliamentary resolution last July have been accepted, thus considerably altering the political agreement reached by the European Council . Read More EU provides more money than ever to boost SMEs Between 2014 and 2020 the EU will spend considerably more money to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) than ever before. With Horizon 2020 and COSME the European Parliament has adopted two major funding programmes during the November Strasbourg plenary session. Read More New EU mobility programme will help match skills and jobs across EU The European Parliament meeting during the November plenary session in Strasbourg adopted a new programme endorsed under the EU’s next multiannual budget, the EU programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI). This important policy tool in the long-running battle to stabilise the EU economy and labour markets is funded with a € 815 million budget for the next seven years. EaSI integrates three existing instruments (Progress, EURES and Microfinance) designed to fight unemployment, poverty and social exclusion in the EU and extends their coverage. Read More A better funding base to connect Europe’s infrastructure Liberals and Democrats supported the November 19 plenary vote for a new legal base to fund future trans-European transport, energy and telecommunication infrastructure projects. The adoption of the “Connecting Europe Facility” (CEF) gives the EU from 2014 on a common instrument for the co-financing of these trans-European networks. Read More Erasmus+ : More money for more mobility in education “In times of austerity we have to invest whatever we can possibly afford in education. The 40 % budget increase for the new Erasmus+ programme shows that the EU understands that principle more than ever,“ said liberal MEP Morten Løkkegaard (Venstre, Denmark), on the adoption of the new Erasmus+ programme by the European Parliament during the November Strasbourg plenary session. Read More Gender diversity is good for the boardroom say Liberals and Democrats After four decades of voluntary measures, EU companies are still failing to fill vacant boardroom seats with women. Despite the growing presence of suitably qualified and experienced women in the recruitment pool, optimism that these talented women would automatically break the” glass ceiling” turned out to be misplaced. Only 13% of company board members in the EU’s largest publicly listed companies are women. Read More EU Cohesion policy brings real added value to Europe’s regions The EU’s Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020, approved on November 19th by the European Parliament, includes €325 billion for investing in Member States, regions and cities via the Cohesion Policy instruments. It represents 30% of the total EU budget over the next seven years. The new Cohesion and Structural Funds will invest more in sectors such as Innovation and R&D, ICT, SMEs and the low-carbon economy whilst investments in sustainable transport infrastructures are maintained. Read More Online censorship: Morten Løkkegaard calls for ombudsman The issue of censorship on the internet was debated during the November plenary session by Morten Løkkegaard, vice-chair of the European Parliament’s Culture committee, who brought together representatives from Facebook and Google in Copenhagen, Denmark. Read More Seasonal workers should be treated the same as EU nationals After years of controversies, the Seasonal Workers Directive is in the final phases of adoption. The Justice and Civil Liberties Committee and the Employment Committee signed off on November 14th the agreement reached with Council last month, after two years of negotiations. This Directive presented by the Commission in July 2010 is part of the common EU labour migration policy and sets harmonised conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals for the purpose of seasonal employment. Read More Verhofstadt welcomes the alliance of the two centrist and pro-European parties in France Guy Verhofstadt , President of the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe in the European Parliament said: “I welcome the creation of a strong alliance of the French Centre, gathering my French friends from UDI and MODEM. Such an alliance, which I have called for since the last presidential elections in France, is indispensable. This joint force establishes a real alternative for France and for Europe. ” Read More Europe must reap benefits of worldwide talent market The European Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE) on November 5th adopted ALDE MEP Cecilia Wikström’s (Folkpartiet, Sweden) report on clearer conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals for the purposes of research, studies, pupil exchange, remunerated and unremunerated training, voluntary service and ‘au pairing’. Read More More integrated European maritime management The European Parliament’s Transport and Tourism Committee (TRAN) adopted on November 5th a framework directive for the establishment and implementation of maritime spatial planning and integrated coastal management which aim at mapping the marine waters and the efficient distribution of actual and potential uses in maritime space. By coordinating the different sector activities and policies this would yield huge potential benefits for industries like offshore-energy, aquaculture and tourism. Read More Court of Auditors criticise EU accounts The Annual Report of the European Court of Auditors for the financial year 2012, was made public on November 5th in the Parliament, and indicated that the average error rates had worsened since the previous year, standing now at 4.8% on average with the highest rates of errors detected in the areas of rural development and regional policy. Read More ALDE support help for fishermen but reject subsidies for fleet renewal MEPs during the October II Strasbourg plenary rejected calls for EU subsidies to be paid for fleet renewal ie the building of new fishing boats but approved payment of subsidies to help fishermen adjust to change and provide funding for small ports affected by declines in fish landings. The vote on the European Maritime & Fisheries Fund (EMFF) will provide €6 billion towards the fishing industry between 2014 and 2020. Read More Credibility of EU in world affairs at stake if EEAS is not trusted by larger Member States The European Parliament adopted on October 24th an important report giving greater emphasis on thorough preparation of the European Defence Council of December 2013. This report is the European Parliament’s position on the annual report by the Council on the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy and outlines the main aspects of CFSP. Whilst there have been understandable difficulties in the transition to a new approach to CFSP following the Lisbon Treaty, this report now calls upon the EU’s High Representative and External Action Service to show leadership through quality, courage and decisive and timely action. Read More EU-US TFTP – temporary suspension On October 23rd the European Parliament adopted a resolution which clearly asks the Commission to temporarily suspend the EU-US TFTP agreement after leaked papers revealed that the US National Security Agency illegally accessed the Swift database. This agreement was meant to govern the exchange of financial information between the EU and the US in the joint fight against terrorism under the US Terrorist Finance Tracking Program (TFTP). Read More Lampedusa tragedy is a wake-up call for EU migration policy The latest refugee tragedies close to Lampedusa and Malta earlier this month should be considered as a turning point for European migration policy based on more solidarity and responsibility according to a resolution adopted by Parliament on October 23rd during the Strasbourg plenary session.Read More European strategy on organised crime After 18 months of hearings, the European Parliament on October 23rd gave its final assessment on the state of organised crime, corruption and money laundering in Europe and called for a European strategy to counter the growing phenomenon which is depriving national tax authorities of billions of euros every year in lost revenue in addition to the social and human misery generated by criminal activity. Read More 2014 budget: rigorous and growth oriented Aside from its role in wrestling with Council over the Multiannual Financial Framework, the European Parliament’s October II plenary session in Strasbourg adopted the 2014 draft budget. The rapporteur, Anne Jensen, did re-establish the amounts for commitments and payments as originally proposed by the European Commission, and which the Council had reduced to the point that the financing of growth policies was threatened. Even so, it is an austerity budget, which lowers the actual expenditures of the EU by 3%. The Parliament makes its contribution by substantially reducing its own 2014 operating budget. Read More EU trading rights strengthened The European Parliament on October 23rd called on the Commission to strengthen the EU’s trading rights and interests both within the WTO and in bilateral agreements. Currently, in the absence of horizontal legislation for the handling of disputes, all litigation decisions are handled on a case by case basis, which is very slow and not dissuasive to trading partners who do not fulfill their contractual obligations. Read More New rules on medical devices will restore patient confidence The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe welcomes the new legislative rules on the safety and performance of medical devices and in-vitro diagnostic medical devices approved on October 22nd during plenary session by the Members of the European Parliament. Read More Khodorkovsky: Decade of injustice Ten years after his arrest at gunpoint, Mikhail Khodorkovsky remains the definitive symbol of serious political manipulation of justice and human rights abuse in his country. He is due to be released next August but the authorities could easily release him earlier, either as part of a general amnesty or a humanitarian gesture ahead of the Sochi Olympics. Read More Protecting data privacy in the internet age On October 21st the European Parliament’s Civil liberties Committee (LIBE) voted on two new pieces of legislation on data protection, proposed by the Commission in January 2012. Specifically a Data Protection Regulation and a Directive on data processing in law enforcement. This legislative update reflects the need to keep pace with technological change and threats that have emerged over recent years as the Internet has come into widespread use. Read More Verhofstadt congratulates Luxembourg Liberals on election success Congratulating Luxembourg Liberal party leader, Xavier Bettel of the Democratic Party, after emerging as the principal winner in the October 20th national elections, Guy Verhofstadt said: “Liberals in Luxembourg were the clear winners yesterday, making themselves potential kingmakers in determining the composition and complexion of the next government. I congratulate Xavier Bettel, currently mayor of Luxembourg, on his campaign and success in placing the Liberal party centre stage.” Read More Serbia accession report: Formal talks should begin in December The European Parliament’s rapporteur on Serbia ALDE MEP Jelko Kacin (LDS, Slovenia) commented on October 16th on the publication of the latest round of progress reports by the European Commission. Read More Turkey: Warning signals on civil liberties The European Commission on October 16th adopted its progress report on Turkey, as part of the annual enlargement package, ALDE MEPs made the following statement: Alexander Graf Lambsdorff (FDP, Germany), ALDE Spokesperson on Turkey commented “As expected, the 2013 progress report on Turkey is marked by the heavy handed Government crackdown on the Gezi park protesters and the absence of dialogue with civil society.”Read More Digital signature to be valid across borders EU citizens and businesses will soon be enabled to use their national electronic identification schemes (eIDs) to access public services across the EU. The EP Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, who has the lead on the issue, adopted on October 14th by a large majority a proposal for a regulation on electronic identification and transactions in the internal market. An Austrian student who plans his studies in Lithuania could then prepare applications at the university and municipal level (and also sign a rental agreement with his land-lord) by identifying himself online via his eID. Read More ALDE Networking 10 years of ALDE-CALD Partnership commemorated in the Philippines during Typhoon Haiyan The Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats (CALD) marked its 20th anniversary and its 10 years old ALDE-CALD Partnership in Manila, Philippines on 8-11 November, just as the country was being ravaged by Typhoon Haiyan, though very little news reached the capital as emergency services struggled to respond and coordinate the international relief effort.During the four-day meeting more than a hundred international and local participants discussed how Asia’s political-security environment, economic clout, and regional integration have an impact on strategic relations between Asia and Europe.Attending were prominent European Liberals such as Hans VAN BAALEN MEP (President of Liberal International – LI), Sir GRAHAM WATSON MEP (President of the Party of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe – ALDE Party), NICCOLO RINALDI MEP (ALDE Group Vice President) and ANTONYIA PARVANOVA MEP (ALDE Group Vice President).The anniversary event included commemorating CALD’s 20th Anniversary Conference “Towards Party Reform and Renewal: Bringing Political Parties Back to the People”. CALD had chosen this topic in the hope of reconnecting political parties with the general public in an age marked by widespread political disillusionment.Between the two CALD events, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation’s Freedom Day (FNF) focussed on the national campaign project: It’s All About Freedom which included thousands of runners convened at the Quezon City Memorial Circle to join the biggest fun run against corruption (http://www.fnf.org.ph/freedomrun/). ALDE staff member THERESE MURDOCK emerged as one of the top runners in the 3 km race. The evening was reserved for the Foundation’s annual Freedom Speech and Freedom Awards. Profiles of MEPs in the News Morten Løkkegaard (Venstre, Denmark) Morten was born in Helsingør, Denmark, in 1964 and is the oldest son with three younger siblings. Due to his upbringing Morten has always had a special interest in the societal issues, democracy, civil rights and freedom of expression. Therefore it was a natural choice for Morten to become a journalist.After graduating high school in 1983 he began at Copenhagen University, where he studied History, but already the year after in 1984 he was admitted to the Danish School of Journalism in Aarhus. During his student years he worked as an intern at the Danish Newspaper “Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten”, which became well known worldwide for the printing of the Muhammed cartoons back in 2005. When Morten graduated in 1988 he continued to work for Jyllands-Posten as a reporter, covering business, finance and from 1989 the political life in the Danish Parliament. In 1990 Morten started working at the Danish Broadcasting Corporation (DR) and continued to cover politics in Danish Parliament. In 1991-92 he followed the Tamil-case, which led to the resignation of the government in 1993. From 1994 he helped to develop a new TV-concept for investigative journalism called Søndagsmagasinet, which he afterwards hosted and edited for almost 10 years. On top of that he was the anchor on the 9 o’clock News for more than 10 years. Alongside the many years in the world of Danish journalism, Morten became a German Marshall Fellow in 1995. This exclusive fellowship awakened his interest for the transatlantic bond and the international perspective as a whole. Due to Morten’s passion for communication and a growing interest in the theoretical and practical background he started his own company in 2005 – Løkkegaard Communication, specializing in political communication and strategy. In 2008 Morten was offered a place as a candidate for the Danish Liberal Party and was elected in 2009. Since becoming a member Morten has been working as vice- chairman for the culture committee and a member in the internal market committee. In the latter Morten is focusing on the functionality of the Internal Market. At the moment this topic is reflected in an upcoming report regarding SOLVIT, an on-line problem solving network in which EU Member States work together to solve problems caused by the misapplication of Internal Market law by public authorities.In the culture committee Morten has been involved in the area of education, in particular the recent upgrade of the Erasmus programmes, the new Erasmus+, where he represented the ALDE group in negotiations. Morten has a keen interest in the Parliament’s new possibilities regarding international trade agreements. He has been following the work in the trade committee closely and has been traveling to Asia (i.e. China, Singapore, Japan), US and South Africa in order to create networks and understanding for EU among companies and local authorities.More than anything else, Morten has a keen interest in how to strengthen the European public sphere in order to secure the legitimacy of the political project as a whole. In 2010 he wrote a report on this, and in light of this he initiated “the New Narrative for Europe”. The President of the European Commission, Mr Barroso, is working together with Morten and the rest of the culture committee on this project, which will culminate in the Spring of 2014 with a new charter and an extended version of the existing Narrative for Europe. In private life Morten is married to Connie, has four children (aged between 13and24) and lives in Charlottenlund, a suburb north of Copenhagen. He played football as a youngster but nowadays he only plays on rare occasions, but loves to watch Champions League. He also enjoys playing tennis, when he is home in Denmark. He appreciates Italian wine and likes to listen to both pop and classical music, the latter also due to the fact, that he played the violin as a boy and later on the guitar in a band. For more information, please contact:ALDE Press Service and Inter-institutional relations unitneil.corlett@europarl.europa.euwillem.vandenbroucke@europarl.europa.euJoin ALDE on FacebookFollow ALDE on TwitterEventsVideos Press Crisis in Europe Seminar Nathalie GRIESBECK November 2013 plenary speech on Joint Debate Horizon 2020 George LYON November 2013 plenary speech on Joint Debate Common agricultural policy .Morten LØKKEGAARD November 2013 plenary speech on Erasmus for all programme Stanimir ILCHEV November 2013 plenary speech on Location of the seats of the European Union’s i . Silvana KOCH MEHRIN November 2013 plenary speech on Gender balance among non-executive directors Jan MULDER November 2013 plenary speech on MFF 2014 2020 .Adina Ioana VĂLEAN 18 Nov 2013 plenary speech on Connecting Europe LinksAlliance for Liberals and Democrats for Europe – ALDE Alliance for Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party – ALDE Party European Democratic Party – EDP Liberal International Friedrich Naumann Stiftung LYMEC European Parliament

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