Latest news from Martin Callanan MEP.

Martin Callanan

Thanks to everyone for their feedback on my last blog posting. The number of people that continue to contact me about the issue of Article 18 only makes me redouble my and other Conservative MEPs’ efforts to defeat these nonsensical proposals.

Following that vote, the Tobacco Products Directive is now undergoing a final ‘lawyer-linguistic scrub’, ahead of a plenary vote expected in March (10th – 13th). The problem we now face is this: the full parliament has already held one vote, on the proposal, to determine its position. However, it did not vote on the so-called legislative resolution.

In the parliament a proposal can go through several readings before it becomes law, but in recent years almost all legislation is agreed at the first reading; a fast-tracked approach at the expense of transparency. It often means that new laws do not reach the full chamber until after a handful of MEPs have agreed it with national governments. Not the most democratic approach. On this directive, MEPs wanted to set out their position in a vote, but holding a legislative vote would have closed the First Reading and sent the whole directive back round the process it had just gone through. Instead, they negotiated a so-called first reading agreement with national governments.

Because of the rather convoluted manner in which this has been done, only the environment committee is now able to submit amendments to the proposal. Because of the lack of support from other groups in the committee, we will not be able to take this route.

However, there are still actions we can take under the parliament’s rules, which we have combed through for options.

Firstly, our Group will submit a request to the parliament for the agreement be opened up for so-called split and separate votes. This would allow us to pull out and vote separately on the parts that we do not like. The decision to open up the file rests entirely at the discretion of the President’s office. So you may like to email President Martin Schulz at martin.schulz@europarl.europa.eu and ask him to support the ECR request to open this file. We’ve already submitted a request which the President’s office is ‘considering’.

The second option is that the ECR Group could request that the whole directive be referred back to committee at the start of the vote itself. This would need a simple majority of MEPs. Given the European elections looming such a request is almost certain to see left-wing MEPs vilify me in the media for siding with big tobacco to attempt to derail this directive. I’m happy to live with that, not least because I made a deliberate decision not to meet with any representatives of large tobacco companies at the start of this directive’s passage through the parliament. And of course, ironically the left-wing MEPs are doing big tobacco the biggest favour of all by discouraging them to move from tobacco and on to e-cigs.

Both of these options are still going to need your help. Please keep emailing all your MEPs. Facebook, tweet, send letters, attend public meetings, call their offices. If you have the means then come to Strasbourg and lobby direct. Please do all you can to help us turn this situation around. We’ve made common sense prevail in a plenary vote once. We need to do it again.

 

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16 thoughts on “Latest news from Martin Callanan MEP.

  1. Written to the President asking him to support the ECRs request.
    Many thanks Martin for your continued hard work on behalf of millions of Europeans.

  2. I can’t even pretend to understand why the 10% we apparently needed for amendments doesn’t mean we can have amendments but I have written to him anyway. Thank you Martin, for your continued efforts. If you find time to explain why amendments aren’t possible under rule 138 I’d appreciate it.

      • Sorry, it’s a bit complicated but the reason we can’t amend the trialogue outcome is as follows:
        Hi Martin,

        The 10% provision only applies under Rule 138 (1) which states:

        1. Any proposal for a legislative act (first reading) and any non-legislative motion for a resolution adopted in committee with fewer than one tenth of the members of the committee voting against shall be placed on the draft agenda of Parliament for vote without amendment.

        The item shall then be subject to a single vote unless, before the drawing up of the final draft agenda, political groups or individual Members who together constitute one-tenth of the Members of Parliament have requested in writing that the item be open to amendment, in which case the President shall set a deadline for tabling amendments.

        However, as the plenary has already voted on the amended proposal (but not the legislative resolution which would have closed first reading), when the TPD returns to plenary in March it will be adopted further to Rule 57 (2), which states:

        If Parliament decides to postpone the vote, the matter shall be deemed to be referred back to the committee responsible for reconsideration.

        In this case, the committee responsible shall, orally or in writing, report to Parliament within a period decided by Parliament which may not exceed two months.
        If the committee responsible is unable to meet the deadline, the procedure provided for in Rule 56(4) shall be applied. Only amendments tabled by the committee responsible and seeking to reach a compromise with the Commission shall be admissible at this stage.

        Of course – the ENVI committee will not be tabling any amendments to the trilogue package, as the agreement has been endorsed by the rapporteur, and the shadow rapporteurs from the EPP, ALDE, Greens, GUE/NGL. Therefore, individual amendments (even if they have been co-signed by 40 Members) cannot be tabled.

  3. Just posted my question to mr. Schulz on the german “Ask’em” platform. Everybody who registers the e-mail address after pressing “Beim Eintreffen einer Antwort benachrichtigen” will get an e-mail when (if) he answers. But better uncheck the box below or you opt for their news letter. Now press “benachrichtigen”.

    http://www.abgeordnetenwatch.de/frage-901-22789–f414218.html#q414218

    The count of registered people is also updated (later) and shows, how many people are interested in answer. Increase the preasure …

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