David Martin MEP

Labour Member of the European Parliament and one of the six MEPs representing Scotland in Brussels and Strasbourg

Latest News

Labour MEP David Martin has welcomed the news that the Uruguay government has won the court case launched by Philip Morris. The tobacco company had sued Uruguay following the government’s decision to place large graphic health warnings on cigarette packets in 2009.

 

The World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) ruled, on 8 July, in favour of Uruguay, ordering Philip Morris to pay a $7 million fine as well as covering: “all the fees and expenses of the Tribunal and ICSID’s administrative fees and expenses.”

 

David Martin, who is the Socialist and Democrat Group spokesperson for international trade in the European Parliament, said:

 

“This is a very welcome decision. The ICSID has upheld Uruguay’s right to regulate in the interest of public health. It sends out a strong message that companies cannot dictate public health policy using investor state dispute mechanism (ISDS) clauses in bilateral investment agreements. The interests of the people have trumped those of big business.

 

However the details of the decision are not public because of confidentiality clauses in the investment agreement. This is not acceptable. Transparency is an essential prerequisite where public money and policies are involved.

 

This ruling comes hot on the heels of another unsuccessful lawsuit for Philip Morris, whose Asian subsidiary lost their legal challenge against the government of Australia in December 2015. However, this most recent case is even more significant, because whereas the Australian case was thrown out on jurisdictional grounds, the Uruguay case was won on legal merit.”

 

UK Labour MEP David Martin welcomes Philip Morris ISDS judgement in favour of Uruguay

Labour MEP David Martin has welcomed the news that the Uruguay government has won the court case launched by Philip Morris. The tobacco company had sued Uruguay following the government’s...

Scottish Labour MEPs David Martin and Catherine Stihler are engaging with their Dutch and Slovakian colleagues as part of a joint bid to save the Scottish plant as well as one in the Netherlands.

Carron Phoenix, owned by the Franke Group, is to close its Falkirk sink-making plant by December 2017 to move operations to Slovakia to cut costs. The move has already sparked widespread anger about the loss of Scottish manufacturing jobs with yet further outrage coming as a result of temporary workers being brought in to meet the high levels of current demand.
 
In a joint statement, the Scottish MEPs said:
 
“We are working with the GMB in an effort to ensure these skilled manufacturing jobs stay in Scotland. As well as writing to the Franke Group, we are engaged in dialogue with Dutch and Slovakian colleagues to see what can be done in the way of joint campaigning.
 
“We are also keen to ensure all avenues of consultation and information with the trade unions at national and EU level are used to avoid job losses, and for a full and independent study to be made of the grounds for the closures announced in Falkirk and the Netherlands, as is common practice in so many EU countries before restructuring. Staff being taken on in Falkirk to cope with growing orders does not sound like an unsustainable plant to us.
 
“We would urge Carron Phoenix/Franke management not to throw the baby out with the “sink” water, and risk losing decades of highly experienced craftsmanship in this sector in Falkirk.
 
“It is seldom wise to put all your eggs in one basket. Falkirk has proved itself to be a good productive factory, and deserves to be considered as a valuable asset going forward for Franke, helping to ensure quality production alongside other plants coming on stream, not sacrificed for short-term gain.
 
“Scotland has a long and proud history of manufacturing successes and jobs such as those at Carron Phoenix are the backbone of our economy. We will continue to work with colleagues and unions to fight to keep these jobs here in Scotland.”

Scotland’s Labour MEPs join efforts to save over 200 jobs at Falkirk factory

Scottish Labour MEPs David Martin and Catherine Stihler are engaging with their Dutch and Slovakian colleagues as part of a joint bid to save the Scottish plant as well as...

Lab-experiment-mice.jpgAnimal welfare is one of those issues which refuses to be confined to within the borders of one nation state. By that I mean that if you care about animals, as I do, it really doesn’t matter whether they live in the UK or in the Ukraine, in Scotland or in Nova Scotia.

The fight for the respectful and humane treatment of animals is a global one, so only transnational solutions can be effective.

By working together at the EU level we can ensure that barbaric practices are stamped out in a common area of 500 million people rather than just within the boundaries of our small island. Thus, EU legislation such as the ban on cosmetic product testing on animals (in force since 2004) has a much greater effect. Likewise, the EU laws on cloning animals for food, which the European Parliament voted on in 2015, covers a much larger area, potentially saving thousands more animals from degrading treatment.

Of course, this argument can be taken to the next level. Animals beyond Europe’s shores also require our help. Whilst the EU’s laws obviously have no direct effect beyond our borders, they also apply to imports. Therefore cosmetic products made elsewhere and then shipped to Europe have to abide by our stringent rules, which has an important effect on production methods in outside countries. In addition, anyone wanting to import meat into the European Union must abide by our high standards, including on the treatment of farm animals, if they want to have access to our market.

A major success in recent years for the EU has been the ban on the sale of seal products - including meat and fur - within its 28 member countries. In Canada, the site of the world’s largest seal cull, the Humane Society International estimate that since 2009 two million seals have been saved from being clubbed to death or shot and left to bleed to death because of the plummeting European demand.

Of course, this is on top of existing legislation which bans the sale of whale meat and associated products in the EU. Whaling has been in the news recently, used as an example by the leave campaign of an area where the EU stops the UK enforcing stricter laws on the transit of whale meat through its ports. But does being in the EU really weaken our attempts to cut out illegal whaling? As the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society point out, the UK already has similar legislation allowing such products to transit through its ports. Furthermore, even if it were to amend it, this wouldn’t stop whale meat being transported. The truth is that the UK doesn’t have a big whale problem, but other member states, like Denmark (and their territories in the Faroe Islands and Greenland) do. A strong anti-whaling country like the UK can have much more influence over the global trade in whale products through influencing Denmark from the inside, not standing on the outside shouting.

Furthermore, through our proposed trade agreement with Japan, we have the economic leverage to demand an end to what the Japanese call ‘scientific whaling’ - essentially a fraud to get around international laws on commercial whaling. This is something that relies on the economic clout of being in the biggest trade bloc in the world. Britain on its own would never be able to have that kind of influence over Japan.

Looking forward it is clear work still needs to be done: on cruel sports like bullfighting; on the torturous process involved in foie gras production; on pushing for the rights of farm animals to have a decent standard of living and much more. However, each of these issues is best tackled by working closely with our partners and magnifying Britain’s global influence through our membership of the EU.

Animal Welfare and the EU

Animal welfare is one of those issues which refuses to be confined to within the borders of one nation state. By that I mean that if you care about animals,...


All news items

The Labour Party will place cookies on your computer to help us make this website better.

Please read this to review the updates about which cookies we use and what information we collect on our site.

To find out more about these cookies, see our privacy notice. Use of this site confirms your acceptance of these cookies.