Latest Parliamentary Blog: Brexit, Energy, Trade Unions and more
We are back into the swing of things at the European Parliament. Let me fill you in on the latest happenings this week.
The week began with the Trade Union Intergroup and discussions about the Posted Workers directive. A Posted Worker is an employee who is sent by their employer to carry out a service in another EU Member State on a temporary basis. Posted workers are different from mobile EU workers in that they remain in the host Member State temporarily. While the number of Posted Workers continues to increase significantly, problems such as unfair practices and unequal remunerations persist. The Socialist and Democrats and Labour MEPs want to ensure that workers are treated fairly throughout the EU – regardless of their work status.
On Tuesday, I presented the EU Security of Gas Supply strategy to Socialist and Democrat colleagues – a key piece of legislation that I am drafting. Currently, about one quarter of all energy used in the EU is natural gas and many EU countries import (nearly) all of their supplies. Most of these countries are heavily reliant on a single source or a single transport route for their gas. Disruptions along this route caused by infrastructure failure or political disputes can endanger supplies. At present, I am meeting with fellow draftees (from other political groups) to deliver a final compromise text. This is an ongoing file and I will keep you posted.
Thereafter, Labour MEPs met with Emily Thornberry (Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union) to discuss the implications of the vote to leave. On Monday, David Davis (Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union) delivered a terribly empty statement about the government’s plans to leave the EU. His post-Brexit strategy lacks coherence at a time when we need clear guidelines. The government needs to outline when it wants to start negotiations, what the government intends to negotiate and whether Britain will still participate in EU programmes. The government needs to be clear and Labour MEPs want to ensure that workers, businesses, Trade Unions, local governments and universities are represented. Further, I have written to Sajid Javid (Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government) to clarify how his department will mitigate ERDF and ESF sub-regional funding – especially for Cheshire and Warrington.
Midweek, I was joined by a fantastic group of Young Labour members from Liverpool in the European Parliament. Many of the young people who came over campaigned tirelessly for the UK to remain in the EU. The 18-24 age bracket overwhelmingly voted to remain and we owe it to future generations to get our renegotiation right. Afterwards, I met with the German National Regulatory Agency to discuss consumer empowerment issues in the energy sector. We addressed how the UK and Germany could share best practice – especially when it comes to self-generation and renewables.
Towards the end of the week I spoke at the European Forum for Manufacturing on the topic of Digitising European Industry. If Europe is to embrace the digital revolution we need to train, retrain and up skill our workforce and students; create quality digital jobs – we do not want people working in increasingly automated roles, but engaged in meaningful employment; and create infrastructure across Europe to facilitate job creation – without super-fast broadband roll-out and the coordinated use of spectrum to enable the use of 5G, Europe will not be in the technological position to compete globally.
Finally, I met with Universities UK and fellow Labour MEPs to discuss the implications of the vote to leave on the university sector. Currently, universities are concerned about the status of EU students’ staff and researchers; EU research funding (especially through Horizon 2020); Erasmus exchange programmes and more. Once again, we need to ensure that our renegotiation embraces universities and the staff, students and regions they support.
As ever, thanks for reading and you can follow my work on here or via Twitter @TheresaMEP.