5th February 2014: This morning at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Andrew Brons made the following contribution, under the Catch the Eye procedure, to a debate on a proposed directive on conditions of entry of third country nationals for seasonal employment.
"If you were to start with the premiss that admitting seasonal workers was an economic necessity and would happen anyway, there might be something to be said for at least some parts of this Report.
"The conditions of work of the seasonal workers in Rosarno, where we went (on a LIBE delegation) in 2010, were truly appalling. Allowing those sort of conditions, wages and accommodation to be tolerated would be inhumane and would encourage employers to hire third country workers before home or EU workers.
"However, allowing third country workers to apply from within the EU for seasonal work, would reward illegal migrants and encourage the entry of more. Allowing people admitted for another purpose, to apply, would invite abuse of the admission system.
"Nine to twelve months is more than a season.
"I should like to see the evidence for the conclusion that national and other EU workers would be unwilling to take seasonal work. Many long term unemployed would be pleased to have paid work with accommodation provided in their own country or at least their own continent."
5th February 2014: Yesterday at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Andrew Brons made the following contribution, under the Catch the Eye procedure, to a debate on the proposed Financial Transactions Tax.
"For a tax to attract one or two non- partisan critics, would be unfortunate. To attract dozens sounds like carelessness.
"The tax is superficially appealing as a levy on institutions blamed for the recession - a tax on the rich to benefit the poor - but as one critic said: "Banks simply pass down their taxes to us - the customers".
"Indeed, the FTT would be levied most heavily on long term investments such as those of pension funds.
"The good news is that it will be levied in only eleven countries. The bad news is that it might be drafted in a way that would catch some transactions in countries that have rejected it.*
"There is reason to believe that its imposition even at a modest level** would lead to migration of funds to countries beyond those participating in it.
"If it were ever to be imposed on all twenty-eight member states, funds would migrate to New York. Remember, the FTT is the chosen instrument to be an EU own-resources tax."
* According to the Council's legal service
** 0.1% on stock and bond trade and 0.01% on derivatives transactions (such as sale of options to buy investments)
5th February 2014: Yesterday at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Andrew Brons made the following contribution to a debate on protection against dumped and subsidised imports from countries outside the European Union.
"If you start from the position of twenty-eight countries locked into the EU and all locked into Global Trade governed by the World Trade Organisation, you might be forgiven for thinking that there was some merit in the Commission's proposal to modify the lesser duty rule, for example (later removed by the Rapporteur) or the imposition of provisional duties after establishing proof of what even the EU would consider to be dumping.
"However, I am tempted to take the part of the man in the joke who was asked for directions and replied that he would not have started from here!
"I am opposed to EU controls over my country's ability to manage its own trade. However, I am even more concerned about the EU and the WTO facilitating trade with low wage economies, with whose manufactured goods we cannot possibly compete and which constitute dumping, without any investigation being necessary."
* The lesser duty rule imposes a smaller duty on intermediate goods (partly manufactured goods) if they are being used by our manufacturers. However, if those intermediate goods could be produced in our own countries, they should be.
4th February 2014: This morning at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Andrew Brons made the following contribution, under the Catch the Eye procedure, to a debate on criminal sanctions for insider dealing and market manipulation.
"Insider dealing and market manipulation are undoubtedly wrong and harm countless numbers of people. They are not victimless crimes. and should be subject to criminal sanctions.
"The argument is that when a market becomes international the regulation must also become international. From that, it is concluded that EU legislation is called for - surprise surprise!
"There is a slight flaw in the logic or at least in one of the premisses. The terms 'EU' and 'international' are not synonymous.
"What is required is an international treaty signed by all significant trading countries to the effect that the signatory countries will legislate for stated minimum standards of legislation.
"In this example as in many others, EU harmonising legislation is the objective and the prevention of insider dealing and market manipulation is simply the pretext."
Andrew was the last speaker under Catch the Eye so he was followed by the Rapporteur, Arlene McCarthy (Labour), who criticised the fact that no other UK MEPs had spoken in the debate, apart from Andrew. She described him as an ex-BNP member and a Euro-sceptic but did not address his arguments. She said that she was going to be a (Pro-EU) missionary in the UK but she did not explain her position very clearly.