May 10, 2013
On 9 May – Europe Day, fittingly – the Sun published this letter from Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion Commissioner, László Andor, referring to this article, “UK must take jobless immigrants from around Europe“.
The European Commission’s latest proposal concerns workers, not “dole migrants” (The Sun, 27 April).
The proposal would make it easier for workers from all EU countries – including Brits – to use their right to work anywhere in Europe.
By helping make sure migrants are not paid less than UK workers for the same job, it will prevent migrants undercutting local workers.
EU law does not give “unemployed migrants” arriving from other EU countries the right to UK benefits.
Nothing would change in this respect under our proposal.
European Commissioner for Employment and Social Affair
In a good example to other newspapers, The Sun published the letter without the kind of distorting editing of our right to reply that …
May 9, 2013
Following an article published in The Telegraph, “Beaches to be blacklisted for swimming under new EU rules“
We would like to make it crystal clear that the EU does not “blacklist” beaches and EU laws do not prevent anyone from swimming anywhere. What the EU does do is highlight to people the quality and possible health dangers of waters where they may choose to bathe. The system is designed to allow people to check water standards when choosing a holiday, day trip or even a daily swimming location.
The article claims, “European Union rules are posing a threat to the chances of enjoying a healthy dip in the sea at more than 50 of England’s most treasured beaches, as they are at risk of being blacklisted as unsafe for swimming”. This is an interesting sentence as it suggests that the European Bathing Water Directive (EBWD) is somehow more concerned with hampering enjoyment …
April 29, 2013
The Commission recently proposed limited changes to the way the EU’s law enforcement agency Europol works. The aim is to tackle cross-border crime – for example drug dealing and human trafficking – better.
Many would no doubt conclude that better police cooperation against such major criminal activities would be of major benefit to the UK. But if it does not agree, the UK can decide not to opt-in to the proposals given its general option under the Lisbon Treaty to remain outside EU justice measures.
Despite this, the Daily Mail turned the proposals into an article headlined “EU demands access to British police files”, suggesting that Europol was to be given extensive new powers over Member States and their police forces – not the case – and that it would be able to demand additional data on victims and witnesses. In fact the proposal would significantly increase protection …
April 17, 2013
Claims in the Sunday Telegraph on 14 April that the EU is “pouring millions into groups seeking state control of the press” and “seeking new national and Europe-wide regulatory powers over journalists”, are highly misleading. The Daily Mail’s suggestion the following day that “Brussels” is backing six initiatives to “increase its powers over the media” is equally wrong.
These articles make wild and inaccurate claims about the European Commission’s actions and motives. The Commission was not asked for a comment before publication. The comment in the Sunday Telegraph piece from a Commission spokesperson is an old one taken out of context.
In a nutshell
- - The EU supports media freedom, not state control of the press, and has shown this by its actions.
- – There is no question of the European Commission seeking “regulatory powers over journalists”.
- – Any regulation of media content is for individual Member States, provided that …
March 28, 2013
Despite the extensive coverage in the British media on research into the study of genomes and the risks of developing cancer – funded by Cancer Research UK and the Wellcome Trust – the absence of any reference to EU funding was striking, despite some referring to the pan-European element of the research project.
Only the Japan Times reported the research was also funded by the EU and the US National Institutes of Health with Channel 4 News acknowledging it was part of the Collaborative Oncological Gene-Environment Study (COGS).
The COGS study is a project financed under the 7th Framework Programme, attracting approximately €11.7 million of EU funding towards the total project cost of around €16.6m.
March 27, 2013
The Daily Express’s assertion that the EU is, through the European Commission’s new Justice Scoreboard, moving “to seize control of our justice system” can be laughed out of court.
The Justice Scoreboard focuses on national judicial standards in the civil, commercial and administrative law areas (not on criminal law, despite the inaccurate references in the article). The initiative is about highlighting where things work well so that best practice can be spread and about pointing out problems that might need to be addressed.
Judicial issues have a major economic impact: businesses care about how they will get a license or settle a dispute with tax authorities.
The UK scores well on all of the criteria where UK data are available. It is obviously in the interests of UK businesses and citizens, who may find themselves dealing with justice systems elsewhere in the EU, that justice systems reach similarly …
March 25, 2013
The sticky combination of the EU and jam has hit the headlines again with press reports announcing British jam manufacturer, Clippy McKenna, had won her fight against Brussels’ red tape to be able to market her produce as jam.
Except she hadn’t needed to fight “Brussels” because the rules – that the UK agreed – have always allowed the UK government to make exceptions to cater for cases like Ms McKenna’s.
She had found herself, in her words, “in jam no-man’s land”, because the sugar content of her produce did not meet the minimum 60% set out in EU rules, meaning she was unable to market her jam, as jam.
With headlines such as: “Ridiculous EU jam laws cut back by Vince Cable” (The Telegraph’s print version read: “Sweet success for Cable on EU jam regulation”), “When is jam not a jam? When the EU says it should be a fruit spread” …
March 13, 2013
Stories in the Telegraph and Mail among others are not correct. The UK cannot be “forced” to hold the 2014 European elections on Sundays. The European Commission has issued a non-binding recommendation that Member States should agree on a single day for the European elections. But it has no powers to -and does not want to- force anyone to do this. Neither can anyone “require” – as the Mail puts it – UK political parties to support a candidate for the European Commission Presidency. Though many people across Europe do feel that having a candidate from each of the political grouping standing at the elections would enhance the democratic process at EU level and that it could increase turnout.
February 22, 2013
On Monday 18 February, the Sun published this article which it chose not to include on its website. It provides an interesting and not untypical case study in the way certain media – and far from only the Sun – tend to deal with EU stories.
£3bn for bananas
“BRUSSELS is handing out BILLIONS to banana, tobacco and rum industries on paradise isles, it was revealed yesterday.
Nearly £3.5 billion of taxpayers’ cash has been used to subsidise farmers in the EU’s “outermost” regions like the Azores and the Canaries.
And the spending is set to rise by over £50 million to £625 million a year.
Pressure group Get Britain Out said many of the islands had a higher standard of living than some big EU countries.
The Canary Islands’ average income is £16,200 per head, while the figure in Poland is £13, 530.”
The article followed the European Parliament’s vote on 5 February to increase by about …
February 18, 2013
There are three recurring myths about EU rules on migration and benefits.
First, it is a myth that EU law gives all EU citizens an unconditional right to reside freely in the UK or another Member State. In reality, this right is subject to important restrictions.
Second, it is a myth that EU law means that EU migrants are automatically entitled to claim benefits in the UK or another Member State. In fact, EU rules require migrants to meet stringent requirements before they can be eligible either for means tested “social assistance” benefits like housing benefit and income support or for social security benefits like child benefit, invalidity benefit or contribution-based Jobseekers’ Allowance.
The third, linked, myth is that EU rules somehow encourage so-called benefit tourism. In fact, the rules are designed to prevent “benefit tourism”.
There is no evidence that the UK …