Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership concerns
In his new role as Spokesperson for the Socialist and Democrat Group on international trade, during a parliamentary debate in July David outlined his priorities and concerns for the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). David stressed to the European Commission that the Socialists welcomed the negotiations which have the potential to reach an agreement which will set high global standards and give small and medium-sized Scottish businesses the ease of access to the US market which multinationals currently enjoy. However he warned that the protection of public services including the NHS, maintaining EU food safety standards and preventing backdoor corporate power grabs were key priorities for the Group, and a final assessment of the deal will be needed before the Parliament votes to approve or reject the deal in the coming years. See video below.
Independence and Interdependence: Scotland’s referendum and Europe
David last month chaired a special speaking event at the Parliament in Brussels by former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown MP. Introduced by European Parliament President and Leader of the Socialists and Democrats, Martin Schulz, Mr Brown considered the rise of nationalist movements in Europe and specifically, the progressives’ response to Scottish nationalism and the September 18th referendum. Listened to attentively by a packed auditorium, Mr Brown expanded on SNP miscalculations on the costs of joining and being part of the EU if an independent Scotland was to be admitted. His speech also explored why political nationalism, absent in Scotland for almost 300 years, has emerged as a powerful, but not unstoppable force. Speaking after the enormously successful event David said: "The debate in Scotland is not being held in a vacuum. The repercussions of the referendum in September will be felt across the European Union and is being closely watched in Europe's national capitals."
INTERNATIONAL WORKERS' MEMORIAL DAY, 2014
West Lothian had a pivotal role in bringing the International Workers’ Memorial Day to Scotland and it was an honour for me to lay a wreath in memory of the workers we have lost. It is a tragedy that workers are still dying in Scotland because of unsafe working practices, and we have a duty to keep fighting for safer workplaces. All over the world from Colombia to Qatar to Bangladesh workers are going to work and losing their lives and it is unacceptable. We in the European Union have a responsibility not only to make our own workplaces safer and eradicate blacklisting but to help do it across the world.
VISIT TO THE RSPB TOLLIE RED KITE CENTRE
On a whistle-stop European Parliament Election campaign tour of the Highlands David took time out to visit the RSPB Tollie Red Kite Centre which has received European Union funding from the LEADER Programme to help save and maintain the Red Kite population. Red Kites are distinctive because of their forked tail and striking colour - predominantly chestnut red with white patches under the wings and a pale grey head. Their wingspan is nearly two metres, but a relatively small body weight means this agile bird can stay in the air for hours with hardly a beat of its wings. "It is a great thing that EU funding has helped preserve this wonderful bird so it can be enjoyed by the Scottish public."
Supporting Prostate Cancer campaign
David and Catherine are happy to support Prostate Cancer UK’s ‘Men United v Prostate Cancer’ campaign. UK prostate cancer survival rates are below the European average, research into the disease lags a decade behind that of other cancers. This is despite prostate cancer being the most common cancer in men and predicted to be the most common cancer overall by 2030.
The campaign's aim is to get the message out about the most common cancer in men in the UK, support men affected by it, and intensify the search for more reliable tests and treatments for the future.