18th March 2013: Yesterday at the European Parliament in Brussels, Andrew Brons made the following contribution to a debate in the Constitutional Affairs Committee (AFCO) following a presentation from David Liddington, Minister of State for Europe in the British Government.
"As is well known, most of the modifications of the UK's relationship with the EU that you seek would require treaty changes and treaty changes can take place only by unanimous vote of all twenty-eight members. Have you any reason to believe that all of the other twenty-seven members are likely to give that consent?
"The answer is that this is just a wheeze to prevent the Establishment Safety Valve Party from taking your votes.
"However, don't worry, its role is just to occupy a space temporarily. It will disappear just as soon as it is no longer needed."
17th March 2014: Today at the European Parliament in Brussels, Andrew Brons made the following contribution to a debate in the Constitutional Affairs Committee (AFCO) on the Inter-institutional Agreement on the Transparency Register (register of lobbying groups that will be compulsory).
"Would bodies that invite people (MEPs) to their meetings, in order that they might be influenced, without stepping through the doors of the European Parliament, be counted as lobbyists to be registered?
"Would, for example, the Bilderberg Group be included?
"We know that Herman van Rompuy was invited and attended and we know that President Barroso was invited and attended. I do not know if any members of the European Parliament have been invited and have attended. I shall say, for the record, that I have not but then it's not likely that I would be!
"Well, that was a conversation stopper; wasn't it?"
17th March 2014: Today at the European Parliament in Brussels, Andrew Brons made the following contribution to a debate in the Constitutional Affairs Committee (AFCO) on the relationship between the European Parliament and national parliaments.
"Mr Chairman* you said that it was the role of national parliaments to the make the European Parliament and European integration more popular.
"I had naively thought that national parliaments received their mandates from their electorates and not from the European Parliament and its committees."
13th March 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 activities of the Troika** with regard to problematic Eurozone countries.
"Mr Cercas's report explains succinctly the formula being applied to the countries* investigated: wage freezes and cuts, as well as cuts in welfare spending, part-time and temporary work and involuntary emigration
"It then leaps to three laudable objectives: increased employment, reduction of those in poverty; and a reduction in school drop-out figures.
"It, quite rightly, calls for an end to austerity. You do not make people richer or reduce their indebtedness, by making them poorer
"However, its other recommendations lack substance or definition and amount to a prayer for things to improve.
"It shies away from the root cause: the fact that the Euro's value is too high for their economies. Only a withdrawal from the Eurozone and a reintroduction of their national currencies, which will fall in value, will allow them to enjoy export-led expansions.
"The austerity programmes were designed to save the Eurozone. They were not designed to help the four countries* concerned."
* Mr Cercas's report restricted its investigation to four countries that had been on the receiving end of austerity programmes: Greece; Ireland; Portugal; and Cyprus.
** The Troika is the name given to the European Central Bank, the Commission and the International Monetary Fund when they act collectively.