Visit to Caithness, Sutherland and Ross CLP
This past weekend, David travelled to the far north to meet with the Caithness, Sutherland and Ross Constituency Labour Party in Alness. Discussion focussed on a number of European issues including the future of LEADER (the EU programme linking rural economy with development actions), the EU budget and CAP reform. He was also able to catch up with the work of David Stewart MSP who is running a campaign to save the flights between Inverness and London.
EU legislation on trade with developing countries
As Lead Legislator, David co-drafted legislation allowing poorer countries more time to negotiate development-friendly trade agreements with the EU. Signing was completed in Strasbourg, 21 May with (L-R) Lucinda Creighton, Irish Minister for European Affairs, David, Vital Moreira, S&D MEP and Chair of the International Trade committee, and Martin Schulz, S&D MEP and President of the Parliament.
Speaking at May 2013 Strasbourg Plenary on the recent Bangladesh factory fire & building collapse
Speaking at the Strasbourg Plenary, David stated that this was a man-made disaster and that many British high street retailers, from cheap to expensive shops, have been taking advantage of the appalling working conditions in Bangladesh and elsewhere.
David is the European Parliamentary Labour spokesperson on International Trade at the European Parliament and fully believes in the role of increased trade alleviating poverty in developing and underdeveloped countries. ‘But that trade cannot be at the expense of decent social and health and safety standards – these must go together’. Full Release
Palestine, 65 years after the NAKBA
The Nakba, or "Day of Catastrophe", refers to the day 700,000 Palestinians were expelled or fled from their homes in 1948. Understanding the consequences of this exodus is essential for the Middle-East peace process. On 15 May David chaired a conference at the European Parliament looking at the role of the EU in the peace process and the viability of the two-state solution.
Edinburgh University students visit European Parliament in Brussels
In a trip hosted by David, 30 students from Edinburgh University visited the European Parliament in Brussels, where with his colleagues Catherine Stihler MEP, George Lyon MEP and Romanian MEP George Cutas they received a full briefing on the current political climate in the European Union. "We discussed a number of topics but of course the focus was on Scottish independence and what it would mean for our European future. We also discussed the potential US Free Trade Agreement. It will cover 40% of all global trade and continue the close relationship between the US and the EU."
Welcome for Europe-wide ban on sale of animal-tested cosmetics
David has welcomed the news of a complete ban in the European Union for the selling of cosmetic products and ingredients that have been newly tested on animals.
“I am delighted that there is now no place for any animal tested cosmetic product in the Europe Union. This is a goal we in the Eurogroup for Animals, along with many other animal welfare campaigning groups, most notably the Human Society International, have long been striving for.
“Many of my constituents, along with animal welfare groups have been extremely concerned that the Commission might extend the deadline. I have been questioning the Commission on a regular basis to make sure this was not going to be the case and I am very happy that it was not”. Full release.
INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT POLICY FORUM
David participated in the Round Table discussions with Judith Robertson, Head of Oxfam Scotland, and Scottish Labour Party members, at the International Development Policy Forum in the STUC (Scottish Trade Union Congress) headquarters in Woodlands Road Glasgow. Although great progress has been made in the last decade to fight global poverty there are only three years left until the deadline for the Millennium Development Goals. Rank and file Scottish Labour Party members discussed Britain’s role in a post 2015 development vision and came up with some radical ideas.