20 Dec 2008

Jean Lambert MEP's Christmas campaign news

London's Green Party Member of the European Parliament

December 2008*

Jean Lambert at working time demonstration, Strasbourg, Dec 2008.

*
I hope you enjoy reading my latest e-news. I'd like to wish you all
Season's Greetings and a Peaceful New Year.*

Please circulate widely on your local networks. This e-news will also be
available on my website, http://www.jeanlambertmep.org.uk, from Monday 22
December.
If you would like to receive my e-news directly and don't already do so,
email 'INFO' to jeanlambert@greenmeps.org.uk.


1. London and UK
2. Brussels and beyond
3. Comment - climate and energy package
4. Dates for your diary
5. Previous newsletters



_*1. London and UK*_

*Newsletter.* My new colour winter newsletter is available at
http://www.jeanlambertmep.org.uk/newsletter_detail.php?id=41. It covers my work
on London's air quality, greening workplaces, fighting for fair pay, a green
approach to strengthening the economy, pushing for low-carbon cars, combating
discrimination, highlighting London's poor recycling, and opposing
bullfighting. Please email me at jeanlambert@greenmeps.org.uk if you would like
paper copies - for yourself or for local dissemination.

*Climate change.* As part of a European Green Party's campaign action to
mark the climate change negotiations in Poznan, I joined Caroline Lucas MEP and
Jenny Jones AM to hand in a signed letter to Downing Street. I attended the
national climate change march in central London, and sent out a public call for
people to take part. More information is available at
http://www.jeanlambertmep.org.uk/news_detail.php?id=388. The European Parliament
voting on the EU climate change package is covered below.

*Democracy.* I gave a keynote speech at Unlock Democracy's 20th
Anniversary conference in central London. Unlock Democracy, which emerged out of
Charter 88, campaigns for democratic reform. My speech focused on the need to
protect the Human Rights Act.

*US Elections.* Following the result of the US Presidential Elections, I spoke
at a Fabian Society event in Westminster Central Hall on 'America Votes,
Europe Responds', which focused on assessing the impact of the US
Presidential election for European politics, and including the United Nations
climate talks. I said that the closure of Guantanamo Bay would be a key gesture
for the incoming President.

*Youth. * I spoke at a public meeting on youth crime at Goldsmith's College
in Lewisham. I also spoke at a post-16 citizenship event at Westminster Central
Hall, organised by the Learning and Skills Network.

*'Why the European Parliament Matters'.* I spoke to Royal Holloway
College - the European Society and People and Planet Society - on this subject.

*Animal rights and civil liberties.* I gave a lecture at Animal Aid's
Christmas Without Cruelty Fayre in Kensington. My talk focused on the loss of
civil liberties and the clampdown on protest, which has particularly targeted
animal rights activists. I am a member of Liberty Council and was interested to
hear the experiences of animal rights protesters in the discussions following
the lecture. More information is available at
http://www.jeanlambertmep.org.uk/news_detail.php?id=390.

*Plastics recycling in Dagenham. * I visited the new plastic bottle recycling
plant, recently opened, in Dagenham. I highlighted the need for more investments
in green jobs and green industries.

*Amnesty prisoners' cards campaign. *I joined Haringey human rights
campaigners at Hornsey Vale Community Centre, Stroud Green to sign and send
annual greetings cards to political prisoners. More information is available at
http://www.jeanlambertmep.org.uk/news_detail.php?id=393. One of the prisoners
written to was Hu Jua, has just been awarded the European Parliament's
Sakharov human rights prize (previously awarded to Nelson Mandela). The prize
money will go towards a support group for families of prisoners of conscience in
China. Please add your voice by writing and sending cards to Hu Jua. (More
information is available from Amnesty.)

*Croydon Eco Expo.* I attended this event, promoting environmental practices
and initiatives, with Croydon Greens.

*Local green campaigning.* I met local green campaigners in Brixton and
elsewhere in Lambeth. I also met green campaigners in Stoke Newington, Hackney,
at the Stoke Newington organic farmers' market.


_*2. Brussels and beyond*_

*Working time directive.* The working time directive has finally been put to
the vote in the European Parliament following years of standstill in the Council
of Ministers. The directive was being blocked by the UK government amongst
others who want to retain the right to opt out of its provisions. A lot of hard
work on this dossier between the PSE Rapporteur and the Greens has ended in a
moment of victory for this important piece of health and safety legislation with
the parliament voting today to put an end the opt out. The legislation limits
the average working week to 48 hours over a 12 month period. The next step will
be for the Parliament to negotiate with the Council to find an agreed way
forward to phase-out the opt-out. Although I would have liked to have seen an
even stronger piece of legislation, today's vote in the Parliament can be
considered as a real (although unfortunately rare) victory for 'Social
Europe'. A link to my report on the directive can be found at -
http://www.jeanlambertmep.org.uk/document_detail.php?id=34.
*Climate and energy package.* The new EU climate and energy package, which is
made up of 6 separate pieces of legislation on; a post-2012 emissions trading
scheme (ETS); the effort sharing of emissions reductions from non-ETS sectors;
renewable energy; fuel quality; CO2 emissions limits for cars; and a framework
for carbon capture and storage was also voted on in Parliament this week. For
detailed information on the different parts of the package and the negotiation
process, see -
http://www.stopclimatechange.net/index.php?id=25&tx_ttnews%5btt_news%5d=193&tx_ttnews%5bbackPid%5d=2&cHash=61484d8eeb.
The package was at least a small step forward but was far from perfect, see my
comment piece below for further information.

*Older migrants.* Last month I hosted a meeting of the AGE intergroup, of
which I am a co-president, on the situation of older migrants in the European
Union. The meeting was a great success and served as a platform to input into
the European Commission's policy development in this area. I have also
conducted an interview on this increasingly prominent issue which can be viewed
at the following link http://www.aarpinternational.org.

*Trade unions.* I spoke on behalf of the Greens at the launch of EPSU's
public service pledge for the European elections -- http://www.epsu.org/a/4255.
The pledge sets out a number of commitments to ensure the crucial protection of
our public services.

*Trafficking.* I have recently launched a written declaration in the
parliament which I am co-sponsoring on human trafficking. The WD calls for the
rolling out of the 'Blue Blindfold campaign across the EU -
http://www.blueblindfold.co.uk - to raise awareness of the issue.

*Green workplace representatives.* My written declaration (88/2008) on green
workplace reps is still open for signatures until the 22nd January. Please write
to or e-mail UK MEPs (http://www.writetothem.com) to ask them to sign it. Over
half of the carbon emissions in the UK are work-related so greener workplace
practices have the potential to significantly reduce carbon emissions. In our
written declaration we are calling for full backing by employers and trade
unions for Workers' Environmental Representatives, support for the
undertaking of workplace environmental audits and other duties, and time for
relevant training. More information is available at
http://www.jeanlambertmep.org.uk/news_detail.php?id=371.

*Disability.* I recently represented the Greens at a conference organised by
the European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities
(EASPD) at which I presented the Green's political programmes on social and
health care services.

*Migration.* I have been involved in a number of trialogue negotiation
meetings on the sanctions against employers of illegally staying third country
nationals dossier, a part of the Commission's 'migration package'
which is still being worked on. Two other reports which are part of the package
('Blue card' and 'single permit directive') and which I
'shadowed' on behalf of the Greens were adopted in plenary in November.

*Youth issues. * Earlier this month I hosted a breakfast meeting on behalf of
the European Youth Forum (EYF) - the meeting prompted the response of the EYF to
the Commission's Economic Recovery Plan which was released last week. The
meeting served as a useful platform to hopefully ensure that the interests of
Europe's youth are adequately represented in the plan.


_*3. Comment - Climate and energy package*_

/The adoption this week of the new climate and energy package has been hailed
as 'historic' by some, but it remains to be seen how history will judge
this week's vote. It is at least a step forward, if not the giant leap
Greens were hoping for. However, I sincerely believe that if it were not for the
very strong presence of Green MEPs in the intense negotiation process the
package may have completely derailed and the outcomes would have been much
weaker.

The inclusion of a biofuels target in the renewables legislation is of course a
very bitter pill to swallow with the potentially disastrous environmental and
social risks associated with an unregulated push to promote agrofuels. I have,
along with my colleagues in the Green Group, done all in our power to scrap
biofuel targets in this legislation, and the Greens will continue to fight
against biofuels and prepare the political ground for the planned 2014 review
(included in the legislation).

I am also deeply disappointed that Parliament approved legislation on CO2 car
emissions that is geared more towards 'business as usual' for car-makers
rather than requiring they make technological improvements to reduce emissions
and save consumers money. It is also incomprehensible that huge sums have been
earmarked for carbon capture and storage demonstration, a technology that will
not deliver until 2050 if it proves itself at all. I am also not happy with the
'effort sharing' rules that allow the EU to offset up to 80% of
emissions reductions in developing countries for sectors including building and
transport.

On a brighter note, positive aspects of the package voted through this week
include the adoption of a confirmed commitment for a 20% reduction in CO2
emissions by 2020 and that an upgraded 30% reduction with international
agreement is foreseen. Binding targets have also been set to ensure that at
least 20% of the EU's energy consumption comes from renewable sources by
2020 which will spark economic dynamism and a real shift towards cleaner
energy./


_*4. Dates for your diary*_

11 January - 7th anniversary of Guantanamo Bay. Action at US Embassy - Jean is
speaking.
17 January - Bangladeshi Students Achievements Awards, Baden Powell House.
15 January - last European Parliament Plenary session day for MEPs to sign
Written Declaration 88/2008 (lapse date is 22 January).
23 January - ECAS/ Barka foundation event in London. Jean is speaking.
24 January - Progressive London conference - Jean is speaking.
31 January - CND Conference on Missile Defence - Jean is speaking.


_*5. Previous e-news*_

You can read my previous e-news, newsletters and other publications at
http://www.jeanlambertmep.org.uk. Paper copies of some publications are
available by emailing my London office - jeanlambert@greenmeps.org.uk.


--

Office of Jean Lambert MEP - London's Green Party MEP
Suite 58, The Hop Exchange
24 Southwark Street
London, SE1 1TY

Tel: 00 44 (0)20 7407 6269
Fax: 00 44 (0)20 7234 0183

Email: jeanlambert@greenmeps.org.uk
Web: http://www.jeanlambertmep.org.uk

If you would like to receive Jean's e-newsletter please send an email to
jeanlambert@greenmeps.org.uk with the word 'INFO' in the subject header.

Correspondence from London constituents will be prioritised above other
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residents outside the London constituency or outside the EU.

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