Theresa Griffin’s Blog: 17th-21st September 2018
Welcome to this week’s update on my recent activities in the European Parliament and North West England!
This week I was delighted to be part of the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly (EuroLat) delegation in Vienna and the Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) Committee Mission to Italy in Milan.
Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly (EuroLat) in Vienna
Since its establishment in 2006, the Delegation to the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly has existed to strengthen the EU’s relationship with Latin American countries, with delegates meeting to discuss various issues of mutual interest, including sustainable development, social affairs, trade and technology.
This week’s three-day Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly opened with a Women’s Forum. As a proud campaigner for gender equality and women’s rights, the contribution of women to societies on both sides of the Atlantic can often be overlooked, so it is hopeful to see this put to the forefront by the Assembly. The Forum was followed by a meeting of the EuroLat Co-Vice Presidents with the European Economic and Social Committee and representatives of Latin America. The first day ended with a visit to the Italian Atelier Nùela in Vienna, a showroom of traditional food and fashion from the Friuli Venezia Giulia region in Italy.
On the second day of the Assembly, I attended a Committee on Sustainable Development, the Environment, Energy Policy, Research Innovation and Technology and on Social Affairs, Youth and Children, Human Exchanges and Education and Culture. Delegates were given a cultural walking tour of Vienna, kindly arranged by Austrian MEP, Karoline Graswander-Hainz. It was a great opportunity to appreciate the art and cultural heritage of the city of Vienna.
On the third and last day of the Assembly, I attended meetings of the working group on Security, organised and transnational crime and terrorism, followed by an Inaugural Session of the eleventh ordinary plenary session of the EuroLat Assembly. The President of the EU part of EuroLat, my S&D colleague Ramon Jauregui, gave a brilliant speech, where he stated that, “we [the EU and Latin America] are too small to be divided, we need to work together; only together can we make a better world”. He finished by emphasising the importance of our partnership in democracy and fighting isolationism, “Latin America is very important for Europe and Europe is very important for Latin America”.
This Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly was an excellent opportunity for the EU to strengthen its ties with Latin American countries and review issues of mutual interest.
Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) Committee Mission to Italy in Milan.
While in office, MEPs of the Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) Committee of the European Parliament attend missions across Europe to stay informed about developments in the digital and energy sectors of countries across the EU, in order to inform legislation.
The two-day ITRE Mission to Italy hosted in Milan this week opened with a Science for Policy meeting on Digital Economy, Artificial Intelligence, Cyber Security and a presentation of the Joint Research Centre’s Competence Centre for Technology Transfer. We followed it with a visit to the European Laboratory on Structural Assessment before taking part in discussions regarding the crucial issue of vehicle emissions. I visited the Leonardo Helicopter Division to hear from Gian Piero Cutillo, Helicopter Division Manager and Carlo Formosa, Executive Vice President for International Relations as well as visiting high-tech industrial plants. We met with the President of the Lombardy Region, Attilio Fontana, and participated in a roundtable discussion with regional ministers.
The ITRE Mission concluded with a visit to ComoNExT at the Technology Science Park. ComoNExT is an innovation hub that provides space and expertise to start-ups and digital skills and knowledge transfer to companies, including energy efficiency and renewable energy. It is a key player in the European digital sector, fostering continuous development, technological innovation and knowledge transfer.
It is vitally important for ITRE committee members, including myself, responsible for steering the energy, industry and research policies of the EU, to see at first hand developments in energy technology across Europe in order to make informed decisions when shaping European energy policy. This ITRE mission to Italy provided us with great insight into Italian energy technologies, which will further inform my work in the energy sector.
I am looking forward to the Labour Party Conference next week. Stay tuned for my updates on this and other events in next week’s edition of my newsletter!