Vicky Ford MEP

Member of the European Parliament for the East of England

27 MAR 2017

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 27th March

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 27th March

MEPs will meet in Brussels this week for committee and group meetings.

The Prime Minister is expected to trigger Article 50 on Wednesday. On Thursday, a resolution regarding Brexit will be tabled in the European Parliament to be voted the following week. In the past few weeks Vicky has met the Secretary of State for Exiting the EU, David Davis; the European Commission's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier; and Guy Verhofstadt MEP, who is coordinating the European Parliament's resolution.

Vicky has been pressing for the Parliament resolution to include as much as possible of the detailed work done by the Parliament specialist Committees which has been coordinated and approved across a broad majority of political groups. She says "There is a huge amount of work to be done in the months ahead if we are to achieve an amicable separation from the EU and also give certainty to businesses and consumers, both in the UK and in the EU about the long term economic relationship. I believe that the majority of politicians across Europe want to achieve a positive and forward looking deal like that which the Prime Minster outlined in January, however some will seek to cause disruptions for their own political gains. It is important not to get distracted by those drama makers."

In Brussels, along some of her Conservative colleagues, Vicky will meet with members of the UK Enterprise Forum, with representatives ranging from EEF, the manufacturers' organisation; Federation of Small Businesses, Food and Drink Federation, British Chamber of Commerce, British Retail Consortium, Energy UK, ABI, Water UK, the Law Society, techUK and many leading British businesses to discuss the concerns and priorities.

On Tuesday Vicky, along with her colleagues from the Digital Agenda Intergroup, will host their midterm event to discuss the state of play of the Digital Single Market and the current priorities for the tech sector.

On Thursday, in the UK, Vicky will visit a leading East Anglian Farm to discuss mitigating potential impacts of Brexit.


20 MAR 2017

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 20th March

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 20th March

MEPs will meet in Brussels this week for committee and group meetings.

This week, Vicky will chair the Internal Market Committee discussions on the enforcement of consumer protection laws, collaborative economy, European product standards, parcel delivery, accessibility, copyright, E-Government and CE marking of fertiliser products.

The committee will host a public hearing on the European Electronic Communications Code including the 'universal service obligation' which gives access to basic broadband for all and consumer contracts for mobile and internet services.

In Brussels, Vicky will meet the European Retail Round Table (ERRT), the European Performers association (AEPO-ARTIS), representing over 500.000 musicians, singers, actors and dancers and Guy Verhofstadt MEP, the Parliament's Brexit coordinator.

In London, on Wednesday, Vicky will meet Conservative MPs from across the East of England and elsewhere to discuss the priorities for upcoming Brexit negotiations especially future relationships with the EU Single Market, regulatory cooperation and customs issues. Mrs Ford will also meet Lord Prior of Brampton, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

She will meet with CEOs of the British Bankers' Association, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders Chief Executive and PRS for Music.

On Thursday she will attend the British Shooting Sports Council Annual Luncheon before visiting Inmarsat's London facilities, a global leader in the field of automotive and ICT industries, working on ways to provide consumers with convenient, safer connected cars.


13 MAR 2017

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 13th March

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 13th March

MEPs will meet in Strasbourg this week for debates and to vote in plenary.

Please note that if Article 50 is triggered early this week it is likely that the European Parliament will schedule an additional plenary session to discuss Brexit next week.

On Tuesday, Vicky’s report on the revision of the Firearms Directive will be discussed and then voted on in the hemicycle. Changes to European gun laws were proposed by the European Commission in response to requests led by the UK Home Secretary after the terrorist attacks in Paris. A loophole in the EU law meant that poorly deactivated firearms were able to be bought and sold without authorisations, some of these were used in the Paris attacks and a cache of similar weapons was found in a marina in Kent. The revisions will close this loophole.

However, there are many concerns about inadequate drafting and unintended consequences as well as concerns from museum owners and collectors, sporting organisations and groups such as the Countryside Alliance. Vicky was nominated as the European Parliament rapporteur/ draftsperson to lead the scrutiny and amendment process. Over the past 18 months she has worked with many different stakeholders as well as law enforcement authorities, proof houses and legal experts in order to protect the interest of legitimate owners whilst also addressing the security issues. The Parliament text being voted on Tuesday respects the rights and interests of legal firearms owners such as target shooters, existing holders, collectors, reservists and certain other specialist users whilst also addressing the security issues related to poorly deactivated firearms.

On Wednesday morning they will exchange views with the European Council and Commission on the Conclusions of the European Council meeting of 9 and 10 March 2017, including the Rome Declaration and will debate on Wednesday afternoon on the EU security agenda: one year after the Brussels attacks.

During the week MEPs will discuss several key issues in the hemicycle such as gender equality, packaging, electric and electronic equipment waste, the collection and use of data in the fisheries sector, and restrictions on cages for farm rabbits. Vicky has received over 20,000 emails on this subject.

On Monday evening, Vicky will chair an extraordinary meeting of the Internal Market and Consumer protection committee on topics including copyright rules in the Digital Single Market which is a significant issue for the UK creative sectors as well as the enforcement of consumer protection laws and changes to the Electronic Communications Code.

In Strasbourg, Vicky will meet with representatives from IFPI, representing the musicians and the recording industry to discuss copyright, with the European Retail Round Table (ERRT), who represents leading European retailers including METRO AG or IKEA, with Seznam.cz, the only search engine in the EU where Google does not have a monopoly and leader of the Czech online market in search and digital services, as well as with CEEMET, the national employers’ federations of the MET (Metal, Engineering and Technology) sector in Europe, representing 200,000 companies, which employ 35 million workers directly and indirectly.

She will also meet with Microsoft to discuss the impact of Brexit on the UK tech sector and how to ensure a faster pace of technology adoption across the UK society and businesses and with the European Collaborative Economy Forum whose members offer goods and services to over a million users every day and have over 500,000 service providers operating on their platforms in Europe.

On Wednesday, Vicky will welcome to the Parliament a group of A-level students interested in politics and the impact of the referendum from the King Edward VI School in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.

She will also attend a lunch debate featuring the Commissioner for Trade, Cecilia Malmstrom, to talk about how Europe can deliver in terms of trade.

In the UK, on Friday Vicky will visit several Kings’ Lynn companies with Sir Henry Bellingham MP such as Chalcroft Construction, Shaun Hodgson Engineering, or Dodman in the field of commercial food processing equipment, as well as the Kings Lynn Innovation Centre before launching the Conservative Group Manifesto for the Norfolk County Council elections.


06 MAR 2017

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 6th March

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 6th March

MEPs will meet in Brussels this week for committee and group meetings.

This week, Vicky will chair the Internal Market Committee discussions on several topics such as geo-blocking, posted workers, the impact of technology in the financial sector, 5G, collaborative economy and accessibility requirements for products and services.

In Brussels, she will meet representatives of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) to discuss the UK business view on Brexit and the role of the IMCO committee in the upcoming negotiations. Along with the Conservative delegation she will also meet with Rt Hon David Jones MP, Minister of State in the Department for Exiting the EU.

On Tuesday, Vicky will host a roundtable discussion on the European Electronic Communications Code, for stakeholders to raise their priorities and concerns on aspects that fall within the scope of IMCO Committee's competence (Universal Service Obligation, OTTs, end-user rights and access to emergency numbers and services); a topic she will also discuss with the Swedish Minister for Digitalisation, Mr Peter Eriksson.

In London, Vicky will join a group of politicians, business leaders and academics for a dinner discussion hosted by The Spectator around the theme of technology and digital economy as a booster of the UK's economic growth.

On Wednesday morning, for International Women's Day, she will participate in an event organised by the Associated Country Women of the World (ACWW), the first rural women's NGO accredited to the United Nations, giving voice to over 9 million rural and non-rural women in 75 countries.

On Friday morning, Vicky will be a guest on the All out Politics discussion on Sky News live from Brussels in the margins of the European Council meeting.

On Friday evening she will be in Cambridge where she will give a take on EU/UK future relations update and state of play as the guest of Cambridge City Conservative Association.


27 FEB 2017

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 27th February

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 27th February

MEPs meet in Brussels this week for committee meetings and mini-plenary.

In London, on Monday, Vicky will meet with Rt. Hon. David Davis MP Secretary of State for exiting the European Union to discuss the state of play in Brussels and the priorities for the negotiations that will follow the triggering of Article 50.

On Tuesday in Brussels, Vicky will chair the IMCO workshop on "Consequences of Brexit", moderating a session on a sectorial analysis of consequences of Brexit. She will also participate in the East of England European Partnership event on "How will Brexit impact regional policy in the UK and EU post-2020?" at the Committee of the Regions to discuss the priorities for the East of England in the upcoming negotiations and the UK's regional development post-Brexit.

On Wednesday, Vicky will attend the roundtable discussion organised by EPP colleague Michal Boni with Elliot Schrage, Facebook's Global Vice President of Communications and Public Policy, to discuss how Facebook addresses the phenomena of 'fake news' and the third party verification program that was recently rolled out in Germany and France, the new feature that allows the community to flag a 'fake news' and how Facebook disrupts any financial incentives for spammers.

In Brussels she will also meet representatives from the UK Government to talk about consumer standards especially with the Consumer Protection Cooperation proposal going through IMCO and with the Secretary General of CLEPA, the European Association of Automotive Suppliers, on de-carbonization of transport, connectivity and automated driving.

In the chamber on Wednesday and Thursday, MEPs will discuss how to improve access to medicines, the potential and challenges of e-Democracy, the Common Commercial Policy for wildlife sustainability, as well as the upcoming European Council meeting of 9 and 10 March 2017 with the Council and Commission.

On Friday, Vicky will meet with Oliver Dowden, MP for Hertsmere, and Martine Eni, Chair of the Borehamwood & Elstree Twin Town Association, to discuss EU Citizens Rights. Vicky and Oliver will then go on to the Dame Alice Owen's School in Potters Bar to discuss with pupils her role in the European Parliament and the forthcoming negotiations.


10 FEB 2017

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 13th February

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 13th February

MEPs will meet in Strasbourg this week for debates and to vote in plenary.

This week in Strasbourg MEPs will vote on the EU-Canada trade agreement (CETA) which has taken over 7 years to negotiate. The agreement is sometimes described as a possible template for future EU/UK trade. However it does not cover in depth many key sectors such as services.

Furthermore the provisions for mutual recognition and regulatory cooperation are significantly less sophisticated than those experienced between the UK and the EU.

MEPs will also vote on the revision of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) which has been led through the Parliament by Scottish Conservative MEP, Ian Duncan. This revision aims at meeting our climate change obligations set by the Paris agreement by giving industry the incentive to modernise and innovate.

Vicky will meet with ministers from like-minded countries working in close cooperation with the UK in the Council.

She will also meet representatives from Digital Europe, the American Chamber of Commerce, as well as the Danish and Austrian ambassadors.

On Wednesday, Vicky will meet representatives of Firearms United.


06 FEB 2017

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 6th February

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 6th February

MEPs will meet in Brussels this week for committee and group meetings.

This week, Vicky will chair the Internal Market committee. They will vote on new measures for approval of motor vehicles to address the issues arising from the Volkswagen scandal. This includes improving the quantity and quality of testing, both in the factory and of cars on the road, introducing a robust model of review for type approval authorities and the technical services which carry out the tests of new cars and strengthening penalties so that car makers are dissuaded from breaking the rules. Speaking on the proposals Mrs Ford says "Buying a car is the single largest purchase most people ever face apart from buying a home. The reforms proposed by the Parliament are vital to restore consumer trust and hold manufacturers to account."

They will also debate Telecoms & 5G policy, posted workers, copyright and broadcasting and cross-border parcel delivery services.

On Thursday the committee members will debate new proposals to unlock the Single Market in Services with the Commissioner responsible, Elzbietà Bienkowska.

In Brussels, Vicky will meet the CEOs of Easyjet, Ryanair, Volotea, Finnair, AirFrance-KLM, Norwegian and Lufthansa Group. She will also meet the Deputy Minister for EU Affairs of Estonia, Mr Matti Maasikas, ahead of the Estonian Presidency of the Council in the second half of 2017.

On Monday she will attend the European Energy Forum to discuss the impact of Brexit on the EU and UK energy markets and energy cooperation post-Brexit especially security of supply, affordability and CO2 emissions.

On Tuesday, Vicky will be in London meeting with Conservative MPs re Brexit.

On Wednesday, she will host in the Parliament the UK manufacturers organisation, EEF, to discuss the sector's priorities in the upcoming negotiations to ensure continued stability and business confidence.

In Cambridge, on Friday, Vicky will meet NHS Staff who come from other EU countries to discuss concerns regarding citizens rights in the Brexit negotiations. Mrs Ford is keen to understand specific concerns of individuals and families so that she will be able to help ensure that these are addressed in detail as soon as the negotiations commence.


30 JAN 2017

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 30th January

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 30th January

MEPs meet in Brussels this week for committee meetings and mini-plenary.

This week, Vicky will work on key files such as the European Accessibility Act, intended to make it easier for people with disabilities to access products and services, or the European Agenda for Collaborative Economy (also called 'shared economy'), which encompasses popular online platforms such as Airbnb or BlaBlaCar and their consumer potential in the digital age. She is also responsible for representing her political group on standardisation, making sure that the European standards process continues to be industry-led and developed at a global level.

In Brussels, Vicky will discuss the impact of the triggering of Article 50 with representatives of different sectors. She will meet Ford Motor Company for the automotive sector, the farmers' organisations senior representatives for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and a delegation of Vice-Chancellors from the Universities UK International to exchange on the future of European cooperation in science, research and higher education and the university sector's priorities for future access to and influence over the European science agenda.

She will also meet the Junior Minister for Industry and Energy, Mr. Jesse Norman MP.

On Thursday, as part of the mini-plenary, MEPs will discuss the Energy Union and Erasmus +, a budget of €14.7 billion aiming at providing opportunities for over 4 million Europeans to study, train, gain experience, and volunteer abroad.

On Friday Vicky will join a Question Time panel in Huntingdon for businesses arranged by the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP and speak to A-level students at Seevic College in Benfleet, Essex.


23 JAN 2017

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 23rd January

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 23rd January

MEPs will meet in Brussels this week for committee and group meetings.

On Monday, Vicky will meet with several MPs from her constituency to discuss the upcoming Brexit negotiations.

On Tuesday, she will be a member of the expert panel at the Tech UK event "The UK Digital Sectors after Brexit" to exchange views on the potential economic impact on the UK tech sector and their priorities ahead of the negotiations. At 16% of GVA and 25% of total UK exports, the UK Digital sector is the fastest-growing and most dynamic part of the UK economy. As the Government outlines its Brexit strategy, it is clear that making a success of Brexit must mean making it a success for the UK tech sector.

In Brussels, Vicky's Internal Market committee will elect its Chair and Vice-Chairs as part of the mid-term review. During the committee meeting, MEPs will also exchange on topics like the market surveillance of motor vehicles, geo-blocking, the European Agenda for the Collaborative Economy, online platforms, the accessibility requirements for products and services and the influence of technology on the future of the financial sector.

The committee will also welcome the Maltese Minister for the Economy, Investment and Small Business, Christian Cardona, to discuss the programme and priorities of the Maltese Presidency of the European Council.

On Thursday, Vicky has been invited as committee chair, to share her committee's experience on transparency and coordination of the legislative process at the meeting of the JURI-AFCO working group on Better Law-Making.


16 JAN 2017

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 16th January

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 16th January

MEPs will meet in Strasbourg this week for debates and to vote in plenary

This will be quite a special week in Strasbourg as MEPs will be voting to elect the next President of the European Parliament, as well as the Vice-Presidents and the Quaestors. Vicky will be supporting her colleague and group candidate Helga Stevens, who has been doing outstanding work on the Parliament Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs committee and leading work to make sure that the European Parliament increases accessibility, particularly for those who are hard of hearing or visually impaired.

MEPs will also discuss with the Council and the Commission the programme for the Maltese Presidency of the Council, setting the agenda for the coming months. Vicky will focus on the priorities related to the Single Market as Committee Chair.

She will meet with both representatives of the UK government to discuss the digital content directive and the services package and representatives of the US government to discuss the triggering of article 50.

Vicky will also attend an event on low carbon investments organised by the European Steel Association and discuss the impact of the EU ETS revision on UK industry.


09 DEC 2016

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 12th December

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 12th December

MEPs will meet in Strasbourg this week for debates and to vote in plenary.

Vicky will participate in a roundtable hosted by Vice President Ansip to discuss the current status of the Digital Single Market and objectives for 2017-2019 with the Commissioners and Committee Chairs involved in Digital issues.

She will also meet Mr Anthony Gardner, the US Ambassador to the EU and members of the American Chamber of Commerce financial services committee

In the hemicycle, MEPs will debate on several topics such as the Energy Union package, the Railway package, and the Aviation strategy.


05 DEC 2016

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 5th December

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 5th December

MEPs will meet in Brussels this week for group meetings.

On Monday, Vicky will lead the trilogue negotiation on changes to EU laws on the control and acquisition of firearms. "Trilogues" are informal meetings to go through the changes proposed by the European Parliament and the European Council in order to try to come to a common agreement. Changes to European gun laws were proposed by the European Commission in response to requests led by the UK Home Secretary after the terrorist attacks in Paris. They seek to close loopholes in the existing law, which has been in place since 1991. However, there are many concerns about inadequate drafting and unintended consequences as well as concerns from museum owners and collectors, sporting organisations and groups such as the Countryside Alliance. Mrs Ford has tabled over 80 new amendments to address these concerns. The Parliament has rejected the Commission's original proposals. The Parliament's approach respects the rights of legal firearms owners whilst also addressing the loopholes regarding poorly deactivated firearms.

On Tuesday, Vicky will chair a public hearing on data localisation on Tuesday morning and meet with the European Consumer Organisation, BEUC, to discuss the revision of the telecoms package and the REFIT, Fitness check of consumer law.

In Brussels, Vicky will also welcome in the Parliament a group of students from The Hewett Academy in Norwich.

On Wednesday, Vicky will give the annual lecture at the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries annual meeting to be held in Edinburgh. She will also meet Ruth Davidson MSP, Leader of the Scottish Conservative Party. In her lecture she discuss the need for a bespoke trading relationship with the EU, as there is no off the shelf solution available, and also how we should aim for a regulatory relationship with the EU, which focuses on sectors where there is a need for cross border co-operation and consensus. Vicky will reiterate that this is not a case of having our cake and eating it.

In the East of England, she will take part in the manufacturers' organisation (EEF) East of England Regional Advisory Board meeting and meet with the Cambridge University Health Partners (CUHP) to discuss ways to encourage engagement between the agritech sector and academia.

On Saturday, she will attend the inaugural event of the Richard Austen Butler Debating Society in Saffron Walden along with Sir Alan Haselhurst, MP.


21 NOV 2016

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 21st November

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 21st November

MEPs will meet in Strasbourg this week for debates and to vote in plenary.

This week in Strasbourg, MEPs will discuss several key issues in the hemicycle such as the outcome of Cop 22 in Marrakech, the situation in Syria, energy security, atmospheric pollutants, wildlife trafficking, opportunities for small transport businesses, cod stocks and fisheries, and sign language interpreters.

In Strasbourg, Vicky will also welcome to the Parliament a group of students from both Mildenhall College Academy and St Joseph's College, Ipswich.

Vicky along with her colleagues in the British Conservative delegation will meet the Rt. Hon. David Davis, Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union.

As the Chairman of the Internal Market committee, she will meet with stakeholders on copyright (International Federation of Phonographic Industry and Vivendi), geo-blocking (Eurocommerce) and on the upcoming revision of the Telecoms Package (European Broadcasting Union). She will also be working on her report on the revision of the Firearms Directive, currently in trilogue negotiations with the Commission and Council.

In the UK, Vicky will visit the Vauxhall Motors plant in Luton. The plant, which is owned by General Motors, is Britain's longest- running automotive factory and one of the company's most efficient operations across the globe. She will also meet Cambridge Innovation Capital, a key investor in high growth technology and healthcare, and will meet Mike More at Addenbrooke's Hospital, Interim Chairman at Cambridge University Hospital.


14 NOV 2016

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 14th November

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 14th November

MEPs will meet in Brussels this week for group meetings.

In the UK, on Monday, Vicky will visit Astra Zeneca, an international biopharmaceutical company working on innovative medicines in their Cambridge facility and attend the launch of the Cambridge Personalised Breast Cancer Project at the Cancer Research UK Institute in Cambridge.

In Brussels on Tuesday, Vicky will lead the third trilogue negotiation on changes to EU laws on the control and acquisition of firearms. "Trilogues" are informal meetings to go through the changes proposed by the European Parliament and the European Council in order to try to come to a common agreement. Changes to European gun laws were proposed by the European Commission in response to requests led by the UK Home Secretary after the terrorist attacks in Paris. They seek to close loopholes in the existing law which has been in place since 1991. However, there are many concerns about inadequate drafting and unintended consequences as well as concerns from museum owners and collectors, sporting organisations and groups such as the Countryside Alliance. Mrs Ford has tabled over 80 new amendments to address these concerns.

She will also meet the CEO of Uber.

On Wednesday she will meet with both the Conservative Party Chairman, Patrick McLoughlin and the Minister of State at the Department for Exiting the European Union, Rt. Hon. David Jones MP.

She will also meet with BEUC, the European Consumer Organisation, and with a senior TheCityUK delegation led by its CEO Miles Celic to discuss the UK's future relationship with the EU and implications for financial and related professional services. They will exchange views on how to retain access to the Single Market that resembles the terms the UK-based industry currently enjoys as closely as possible.

On Thursday in London, Vicky will meet with Rt. Hon. David Davis MP Secretary of State for exiting the European Union. She will also meet Lord Willetts the former science minister to discuss EU/UK cooperation in science and Lord Kirkhope the former UK immigration minister and former UK MEP spokesperson on justice affairs to discuss migration controls.

On Friday, Vicky will visit Caterpillar, a diesel engine manufacturer in their Peterborough facility before meeting with Julie Spence, the Chairman of Mental and Community Health Trust at the Fulbourn Hospital.


08 NOV 2016

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 7th November

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 7th November

MEPs will meet in Brussels this week for committee and group meetings.

This week, Vicky will chair the Internal Market committee discussions on several topics such as the European Cloud Initiative, the Audio-visual Media Services Directive, and will also welcome the representatives of the 2016 European Youth Event in committee to discuss their ideas on consumer protection, collaborative economy and cybersecurity. The European Youth Event took place in May 2016 in Strasbourg and gathered over 7.500 young people discussing" Ideas for tomorrow's Europe" (title of the final EYE report).

In committee, Vicky will update colleagues on the outcome of the second trilogue negotiation on the control and acquisition of firearms. She will also say a few words on the delegation trip she led last week to Geneva: the programme included meetings with representatives of the World Trade Organisation and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe.

On Tuesday, Vicky will introduce the IMCO Workshop on Collaborative Economy as the Chairman of the IMCO Committee and as the ECR shadow rapporteur on the file and will on Wednesday address the panel gathered for the first European Payment Institutions Federation public workshop on the Payment Services Directive and the Retail Financial Services.

On Wednesday, Vicky will welcome a group of councillors from Buntingford to the European Parliament.

In Brussels, Vicky will meet with a delegation from Anglian Water, the largest water and water recycling company in England and Wales, supplying water and water recycling services to more than six million domestic and business customers.

In London on Thursday, Vicky will attend the EEF's advisory panel meeting along with representatives from many of the UK's leading engineering and manufacturing companies.


24 OCT 2016

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 24th October

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 24th October

MEPs will meet in Strasbourg this week for debates and to vote in plenary.

Vicky will lead the second trilogue negotiation on changes to EU laws on the control and acquisition of firearms. "Trilogues" are informal meetings to go through the changes proposed by the European Parliament and the European Council in order to try to come to a common agreement. Changes to European gun laws were proposed by the European Commission in response to requests led by the UK Home Secretary after the terrorist attacks in Paris. They seek to close loopholes in the existing law which has been in place since 1991. However, there are many concerns about inadequate drafting and unintended consequences as well as concerns from museum owners and collectors, sporting organisations and groups such as the Countryside Alliance. Mrs Ford has tabled over 80 new amendments to address these concerns.

In the hemicycle, MEPs will debate on several topics such as the conclusions of the European Council of 20th and 21st October when the Prime Minister met with the European leaders in Brussels.

In London, Vicky will attend the Grand Challenges Conference closing plenary hosted by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where international leaders in science, health and development will convene to share their ideas and solutions for today's biggest challenges in health and development. Speakers include Bill Gates and Rt Hon Priti Patel MP, Secretary of State for International Development. Vicky worked with the Gates Foundation as the lead MEP in reviewing the European Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) which aims to accelerate the development of new or improved drugs, vaccines, microbicides and diagnostics against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria as well as other poverty-related and neglected infectious diseases in sub-Saharan Africa, with a focus on phase II and III clinical trials.

On Wednesday she will also take part in The City Banquet with several key business and finance leaders.

On Friday, Vicky will address the Health Professionals Crossing Borders conference about the importance of professional mobility, patient safety, and the work done in her IMCO committee.


17 OCT 2016

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 17th October

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 17th October

MEPs will meet in Brussels this week for group meetings.

On Monday Vicky will give a key note speech at the European Consumer Summit, which is an annual event on issues affecting consumers across Europe. Her speech will cover consumer choice, empowerment and information in today's digital economy and the need for consumer policy to enable and support all those across the single market and not just those who travel or shop across borders.

On Tuesday she will be speaking at an event on technology clusters. She will focus on technology clusters in the East of England. Vicky will talk about the unique nature of the Cambridge cluster, driven both by the many different areas of expertise which facilitates multi-disciplinary research and innovation as well as the clusters ability to bring business, academia, innovators and investors together in one area. Over $50 billion worth of business have been started up in recent years in the Cambridge area in recent years.

On Tuesday Vicky will represent the Internal Market and Consumer Protection committee at a discussion between committee chairs on how issues related to Brexit will be coordinated in the Parliament. IMCO is the Committee responsible for the internal market and for the customs union, in particular, the free movement of goods (including harmonisation of technical standards), the right of establishment and the freedom to provide services. IMCO is also responsible for consumer protection.

From Wednesday to Thursday Vicky will be in Krakow for the ECR Autumn University, which will focus on European maritime security and NATO.

On Thursday she will be in Warsaw to meet with business ministers of eight EU countries.


10 OCT 2016

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 10th October

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 10th October

MEPs will meet in Brussels this week for committee and group meetings.

On Monday and Tuesday Vicky will chair meetings of the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee including discussions on cloud computing, online video media, robotics and defence procurement.

On Wednesday she will attend public hearings on the proposed changes to mobile roaming and on suggestions for new rules to restrict levels of Cadmium in fertiliser as high levels of the metal in diets have been linked to kidney disease and other conditions. However introducing low limits will risk restricting raw materials sources which have significant geo-political concerns for food security. Jo Gilbertson from the Peterborough based Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC) will give evidence at the hearing.

On Thursday she will be in London and will be available for press meetings in the afternoon.

On Friday she will visit the Keystone Trust charity in Thetford, Norfolk which works with community groups in an area which has experienced high levels of EU migration in recent years. Vicky is particularly interested to understand how the local community reacted to the referendum and the work that the charity has undertaken to reduce hate crime.

Vicky will then join local volunteers canvassing in Kings Lynn & West Norfolk Council.


30 SEP 2016

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 3rd October

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 3rd October

MEPs will meet in Strasbourg this week for debates and to vote in plenary.

On Sunday and Monday, Vicky will attend the Conservative Party Conference. On Monday at 12.45 in ICC Hall 5 she will take part in a panel discussion on "Britain's Future Economic and Trade Relationship with the EU". Vicky will explain that tearing the UK out of the EU Single Market without a long term plan risks damaging economies in both Britain and Europe and give her views on potential regulatory cooperation approaches going forward.

In Strasbourg, Vicky will lead the annual inter institutional dialogue between the Parliament committee chairs and the European Commissioners. She will chair discussions on both the internal market and the digital single market.

In the chamber, MEPs will discuss the EPP proposal to give every 18 year old a free interrail ticket. Interrailing for young people is a great experience but these tickets should not be paid for by the tax payers . When she was 18 Vicky travelled across Europe and paid for her own ticket thanks to a job in a pub.

On Wednesday, Vicky will also discuss in the hemicycle the upcoming European Council meeting of 20 and 21 October 2016.


30 SEP 2016

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 26th September

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 26th September

MEPs will meet in Brussels this week for committee and group meetings.

Vicky will chair the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee including debates on the Collaborative or Shared economy, rules on the use of Robotics, and testing and approval of vehicles.

As the Internal Market and Consumer Protection rapporteur on Roaming, Vicky will attend a discussion with the European Commission on their proposal for 'fair use' criteria. She is concerned that the suggested approach appears complex for consumers and may be difficult for operators and national regulators to enforce.

Vicky will lead trialogue negotiations on behalf of the European Parliament on changes to EU laws on control and acquisition of firearms. "Trilogues" are informal meetings to go through the changes proposed by the European Parliament and the European Council in order to try to come to a common agreement.

On Tuesday, she will give a key note speech on to the European Brands Association on brands in the European Economy and product standards. She will introduce a lecture on innovative brands to be given by Per Hjuler, Senior Vice President, Innovation and Consumer Marketing at LEGO.

On Wednesday, Vicky will speak about accessibility in the digital age as part of the MEP panel at an event organised by ECR colleague Helga Stevens, entitled "the Multilingualism and equal rights in the EU".

In Brussels, Vicky will meet with a delegation from the European Magazine Media Association, the British Medical Association, the Agricultural Industries Confederation, Akamai Technologies, the American wireless technologies company InterDigital and with the European Payment Institutions Federation

On Friday in Hertfordshire Vicky will visit GlaxoSmithKline in Ware. The company is investing £74m in this facility to support the manufacture of the new Ellipta respiratory inhaler.

She will address the Bishop's Stortford Chamber of Commerce to discuss the upcoming UK/EU negotiations.

On Sunday and Monday, Vicky will attend the Conservative Party Conference. On Monday at 12.45 in ICC Hall 5 she will take part in a panel discussion on "Britains Future Economic and Trade Relationship with the EU". Vicky will explain that tearing the UK out of the EU Single Market without a long term plan risks damaging economies in both Britain and across the set of Europe and give her views on potential regulatory cooperation approaches going forward.


18 SEP 2016

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 19th September

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 19th September

This week is a "green" week in the Parliament calendar which is intended for constituency events and overseas delegations.

This week, as chairman of the Internal Market and Consumer Protection committee, Vicky Ford will bring a small group of leading MEPs from across Europe in the UK. The visit will focus on the automotive sector and especially on the process to strengthen tests and approvals for new cars in the aftermath of the Volkswagen emissions scandal.

Members will meet type approval and vehicle testing experts, as well as UK manufacturers Jaguar Land Rover in Coventry and Aston Martin in Gaydon, the consumer organisation Which? and UK officials specialising in automotive legislation. Vicky will be joined by the West Midlands MEP Dan Dalton who is leading the negotiations through the parliament on type approval reforms.

In the East of England Vicky will visit the King Edward VI School in Bury St Edmunds and will speak at a conference on 'Our Prospects Beyond Brexit' in Letchworth.


09 SEP 2016

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 12th September

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 12th September

MEPs will meet in Strasbourg this week for debates and to vote in plenary.

The main item will be President Juncker's State of the Union speech. Vicky will urge other EU countries not to rush the UK into an acrimonious divorce as this will hit the economy and security of many other EU countries as well as the UK. We should all take time to work out the details of a new EU/UK relationship.

MEPs will also discuss several key issues such as the outcome of the G20 summit, emission measurements in the automotive sector, the Employment Equality Directive and the recent developments in Poland and their impact on fundamental rights as laid down in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

Vicky will meet the Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmstrom to discuss the transatlantic trade agreements known as TTIP.

This week, Vicky will also meet shadow rapporteurs on her report on the Revision of the Firearms Directive. She has been mandated by 24 votes to 3 to enter trilogue negotiations with the Council and Commission.

On Friday, in Cambridge she will attend meetings regarding EU funding in the East of England.


05 SEP 2016

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 5th September

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 5th September

MEPs will meet in Brussels this week for committee and group meetings.

In Brussels, Vicky will meet the Irish Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O'Connor TD to discuss the Single Market issues relating to free movement of goods and services especially between UK and Ireland. They will also discuss Digital Single Market issues affecting Ireland.

Vicky will also meet the new Swiss Ambassador to the EU, Urs Bucher to discuss firearms legislation and other matters affecting EU / Swiss single market concerns.

Vicky will chair the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee discussing topics such as the European Defence Union and the Cross-border portability of online content services .

MEPs will vote in committee to allow Vicky's report on the Revision of the Firearms Directive to enter trilogue negotiations with the Council and Commission.

In London,Vicky will address the EEF Government Affairs Group including representatives from many of the UK's leading engineering and manufacturing companies. She will discuss the changing political scene in the UK and Brussels since the referendum, and what she thinks a 'good deal' could look like for Britain and UK manufacturers in the forthcoming Brexit negotiations. Vicky will explain that achieving a new trade relationship which meets the complex needs of manufacturing will involve challenging and detailed negotiations. She will encourage industry to engage with politicians on the nitty gritty practicalities of clearing goods for customs, and the importance of regulatory cooperation mechanisms, research collaboration and exchanges of skills.

In Cambridge, Vicky will be a keynote speaker at the Energy Policy Research Group conference in Sidney Sussex College which will bring together leading energy companies, UK and EU regulators, policy makers and academics to discuss the impact of Brexit on UK energy policy, climate policy and on UK security. Vicky will make the case that working with our European neighbours on Energy Security is vital for the UK's own energy security and that being seen as a valued and Cooperative partner in this area will help with negotiations elsewhere.

At the end of the week, Vicky will attend the Summer University of the ECR group in Rome with her colleagues from the Parliament. On Thursday she will chair a session on e-government, hearing from experts from Italy and Estonia.


29 AUG 2016

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 29th August

Week Ahead Media Briefing – Vicky Ford MEP – Monday 29th August

MEPs will meet in Brussels this week for committee and group meetings.

This will be the first week of meetings after the summer recess.

Vicky will host a high level delegation from the Russell Group of Universities led by Cambridge Vice Chancellor Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz to discuss the impact of the referendum on British universities and on UK and EU science and research, and the importance of maintaining close links for collaborative research.

She will meet Mike Nesbitt MLA leader of the Ulster Unionist Party group and his colleagues in the Northern Ireland Assembly to discuss the UK/EU single market relationship.

Vicky will also work on her report on the revision of the Firearms Directive which was voted in committee in July, using the comments and feedback sent by many experts from all over Europe.

In London, Vicky will meet Rt Hon David Davis Secretary of State for exiting the EU as well as minister Rt Hon David Jones MP and trade minister Rt Hon Greg Hands MP.

Over the summer recess Vicky has had many discussions on Brexit, some of which are covered in this article (link below):

http://www.conservativehome.com/platform/2016/08/vicky-ford-what-the-other-eu-member-states-are-thinking-about-the-brexit-negotiations.html


11 JUL 2016

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 11th July

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 11th July

MEPs meet in Brussels this week for committee meetings.

This week Vicky will be in London and Brussels meeting senior representatives from industry, including the UK manufacturers' organisation and leading politicians.

On Monday, Vicky will be speaking at an event organised by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Internet, Communications and Technology to discuss how Brexit will affect the tech sector.

In Brussels, Vicky will be chairing her committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection where MEPs will discuss the priorities of the Slovak Presidency of the Council of the European Union. There will also be an exchange with the European Commission on the European standardisation policy, including ICT priority standards plan, the approach to online platforms, the availability on the market of CE marked fertilising products and the EU e-Government Action plan 2016-2020.

Vicky's report on the revision of the Firearms Directive will be voted in committee on Wednesday.

She will also meet the US Ambassador to the EU and Ministers for Europe from both the UK and Ireland.


17 JUN 2016

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 13th June

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 13th June

Vicky will be in the UK this week.

She plans to join a Norfolk radio debate in Norwich, speak in public meetings in Ware and Royston, and attend street meetings in Newmarket and Saffron Walden. Vicky also plans to visit Altro Flooring in Letchworth and Airbus in Stevenage.

For further details please email. 


13 JUN 2016

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 13th June

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 13th June

MEPs meet in Brussels this week for committee meetings.

On Monday and Tuesday Vicky will be the British MEP in the Chairman seat at the monthly meeting of Single Market committee, leading the continued reform of the Single Market from the front. This month they are especially looking at cars, digital, firearms and access to finance.

On cars, we are strengthening the approval process for new motor vehicles in light of the VW scandal.

On digital, we are modernising the single market for a digital age so that each of us can be safe and secure when buying and selling online.

On firearms, we are closing the loopholes on European gun laws in the aftermath of the Paris attacks, and because over 30 of those same guns were found in a marina in Kent - whilst making sure we can still keep the Imperial War Museum open for business and that British clay pigeon shooters can continue to train and win gold medals.

On access to finance, MEPs will vote on changes to make it easier and less bureaucratic for small companies and innovators to sell their shares across borders. Vicky has also led this negotiation.

In the UK, Vicky will discuss the referendum in Wells-next-the-sea and Sawston.

On Thursday, she will meet leading scientists with Life Sciences minister George Freeman MP at the Babraham Research Campus and speak at the mass Rally for Remain in Cambridge. On Friday she will visit Airbus in Stevenage where a quarter of the worlds communication satellites are assembled. 


06 JUN 2016

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 6th June

Week Ahead Media Briefing – Vicky Ford MEP – Monday 6th June

MEPs will meet in Strasbourg this week for debates and to vote in plenary.

Vicky will be speaking on the referendum at meetings in Ipswich, Colchester, Wisbech, Whittlesford, Waltham Cross, Watford and Hemel Hempstead. Should you wish to have details of any of these events please send the office an email.

This week in Strasbourg MEPs will vote on a series of issues including the World Health Organisation Framework Convention to combat illicit trade in tobacco products and agreements for an EU short-stay visa waiver with Palau, Tonga and Colombia. MEPs will also debate migration, skills and the mid-term review of the EU investment plan.

Vicky will be in Strasbourg on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Vicky will also be meeting the US ambassador Anthony Gardner to discuss TTIP and the current files in Vicky's committee.


23 MAY 2016

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 23rd May

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 23rd May

MEPs meet in Brussels this week for committee meetings and mini-plenary.

Vicky will meet the Chief Executive of NHS England, Simon Stevens who is in Brussels. Mr Stevens has warned that Brexit could have considerable negative impact on the NHS and on patients. Mrs Ford comes from a medical family and has long campaigned for high standards for recognition of professional qualifications across UK and Europe.

She will also meet Commissioner Moedas to discuss the European Open Science Cloud and the Slovak Minister for Economy. Slovakia will be chairing the Council from July to December.

Vicky will chair the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee including a debate on the 800 plus amendments which have been tabled on reforms to European gun laws ("Firearms directive"). Vicky has been nominated by colleagues as "rapporteur" which means she is coordinating the scrutiny and amendments of laws.

Changes to European gun laws were proposed by the European Commission in response requests led by the UK Home Secretary after the terrorist attacks in Paris. These seek to close loopholes in the existing law which have been in place since 1991. However, there are many concerns about inadequate drafting and unintended consequences as well as concerns from museum owners and collectors, sporting organisations and groups such as the Countryside Alliance. Mrs Ford has tabled over 80 new amendments to address these concerns.

Mrs Ford will also chair two public hearings on contracts for the supply of digital content and on the contracts for the online and other distance sales of goods.

In the UK, Vicky will discuss the referendum at a debate in Huntingdon on Friday and will answer questions on the topic at street stalls in Bedford and in Stevenage.


13 MAY 2016

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 16th May

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 16th May

This week is a "green" week in the Parliament calendar which is intended for constituency events and overseas delegations.

In Essex, she will visit Ford Motor Company's largest global research centre for diesel engines in Dunton. Ford employs 14,000 people in the UK making diesel engines. Plans for changes to car approvals in the aftermath of the VW scandal are to be scrutinised and amended by the committee Vicky chairs in the European Parliament.

Vicky will attend a Coastal Community meeting in Tendring to see improvements to the roads and homes in Jaywick and hear plans to address deprivation, help the local residents and bring opportunities for improved jobs and skills. Tendring officials have worked with other similar coastal areas across Europe to share best practice.

In Hertfordshire Vicky will visit Rothamsted Research for an update on their new science strategy with an overview of the work on the world's oldest ecological experiment Park Grass and learn about the importance of the EU for their research. Scientists at Rothamsted have led many European programmes to research and develop new disease resistant crops.

In Norfolk Vicky will visit Dow Chemicals in Kings Lynn to learn about the recently launched products for crop protection and the site's wind turbine technology.

In Cambridgeshire Vicky will meet the Vice Chancellor of Anglia Ruskin University to hear about the vital role that universities play locally, regionally and nationally and the potential effect of the referendum.

Vicky will meet teachers from across the east of England to answer questions on her role as an MEP.

Vicky will also be speaking at several events ahead of the June referendum including Business Clubs in Harpenden and South East Cambridgeshire and at referendum debates in Halesworth, Suffolk and then in Chelmsford, Essex.

In London, Vicky will be giving the closing speech for the UK E-Commerce Roundtable hosted by EMOTA in London, where she will discuss the opportunities for e-commerce in Europe and the Digital Single Market. She will meet the chair of the all party parliamentary group regarding changes to firearms legislation.


09 MAY 2016

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 9th May 2016

Week Ahead Media Briefing – Vicky Ford MEP – Monday 9th May 2016

MEPs will meet in Strasbourg this week for debates and to vote in plenary.

In Strasbourg, the main issue will continue to be the migration situation in Southern Europe and visa liberalisation for Turkey. If approved this will not apply to travel to the UK. Turkish citizens will need to prove the reason for travel and adequate financial means.

Vicky will meet with ministers from Denmark and Slovakia to discuss changes to European firearms laws as well as ambassadors from UK, Ireland, Denmark and Sweden.

In the UK, Vicky will visit an organic farm with Jo Churchill MP. She will also visit a small specialist manufacturer of laboratory equipment near Newmarket; exports account for the majority of this company's sales and they have responded to Vickys recent offer in the press to visit organisations potentially affected by the referendum. She will also speak at a public meeting in Bury St Edmunds.


29 APR 2016

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 2nd May

Week Ahead Media Briefing – Vicky Ford MEP – Monday 2nd May

MEPs will meet in Brussels this week for committee and group meetings.

In the UK, Vicky will campaign with Police and Crime Commissioner candidates in Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire and join local election candidates campaigning in Harlow, Watford and Haverhill.

Vicky will speak to 6th form students at St Ivo School in Cambridgeshire as part of a week long program being run by their head of politics on the referendum.

Vicky will take part in a referendum debate being organised by the South Norfolk based Thetford Business Forum and "The Lively Crew" at Thetford Academy.

In Brussels, Vicky will chair the final negotiations on the Web Accessibility Directive which aims to make websites of public sector organisations more accessible to people who are visually impaired and/or deaf. She has met with RNIB experts on their aims to improve access to digital services for those with disabilities.

Vicky will meet with Toy Industries of Europe to discuss the need for market surveillance to ensure proper safety for children especially regarding toys imported into the EU.

Vicky will attend the ECR Bureau meeting in Copenhagen to discuss migration, the Schengen area and asylum policies.


22 APR 2016

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 25th April

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 25th April

MEPs meet in Brussels this week for committee meetings and mini-plenary.

MEPs will vote on new regulations for international financial benchmarks following the LIBOR scandal.

At the invitation of the New Direction think tank, Vicky will join a panel debate on next Generation telecom policy and the Digital Single Market. The digital economy today is the single most important driver of innovation, increasing competitiveness and growth. Following New Direction's latest report on the Digital Single Market, the panel will debate on the EU's 2020 Digital economy strategy.

In the UK, she will meet the Professors Anthony Forster and Heather Laurie at Essex University to visit their world leading Data Analytics Project. She will discuss the upcoming referendum and the risks of a Brexit on UK research first with students at the University of Essex and then at the Welcome Trust Sanger Institute.

She will also join David Lloyd's campaign as Police and Crime Commissioner in Hertfordshire and Kathryn Holloway's campaign in Bedfordshire.


19 APR 2016

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 18th April

Week Ahead Media Briefing – Vicky Ford MEP – Monday 18th April

MEPs will meet in Brussels this week for committee and group meetings.

Vicky will chair the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee.

On Wednesday Vicky will present her report on the changes to European gun laws ("Firearms directive"). Vicky has been nominated by colleagues as "rapporteur" which means she is coordinating the scrutiny and amendments of laws.

Changes to European gun laws were proposed by the European Commission in response requests led by the UK Home Secretary after the terrorist attacks in Paris. These seek to close loopholes in the existing law which have been in place since 1991. However, there are many concerns about inadequate drafting and unintended consequences as well as concerns from museum owners and collectors, sporting organisations and groups such as the Countryside Alliance. Mrs Ford has tabled over 80 new amendments to address these concerns.

Mrs Ford will chair a public hearing on the EU/US trade agreement ("TTIP"), a debate on approval of motor vehicles in the aftermath of the Volkswagen revelations and public questions by MEPs of Commissioners Gunter H. Oettinger, responsible for Digital Economy and Society, and Andrus Ansip, Vice-President of the Commission responsible for Digital Single Market.

Vicky will meet techUK's and Coadec's delegation of small high-growth 'online digital platforms' businesses.

In the UK, Vicky will discuss the upcoming referendum at public meetings in Norwich, Kesslingland and Thetford. She will also join Tim Passmore's campaign as Police and Crime Commissioner in Suffolk and Jason Ablewhite's campaign in Peterborough.


12 APR 2016

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 11th April 2016

Week Ahead Media Briefing – Vicky Ford MEP – Monday 11th April 2016

MEPs will meet in Strasbourg this week for debates and to vote in plenary.

In Strasbourg, MEPs will discuss the responses to the migration crisis in the Mediterranean and the relations between the EU and Turkey.

MEPs will vote on a controversial suggestion by a Czech socialist MEP for an EU-wide ban on glyphosate herbicide. Vicky has received many emails from farmers in the East of England who rely on glyphosate ("round-up"). They tell her that it is critical for the ongoing improvement of the soil and the loss of glyphosate would reduce UK production of winter wheat and winter barley by 12% and oilseed rape by 10%. It is particularly important for managing "black-grass" which is an increasing issue across the East of England. Vicky will vote against the proposed ban.

Vicky will meet an expert from the Manufacturers' Organisation (EEF) to discuss the steel crisis both in the UK and in Europe.

Vicky will also meet with Visa Europe, Cable Europe and Telefonica.

In the UK, Vicky will attend a meeting scrutinising EU funds in the East of England and speak at a meeting on the referendum in Broxbourne.


04 APR 2016

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 4th April

Week Ahead Media Briefing – Vicky Ford MEP – Monday 4th April

MEPs will meet in Brussels this week for committee and group meetings.

In addition to attending meetings of ECR Group, Vicky will meet the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise, the Hungarian Ambassador, and Jersey's Minister for External Relations as well as AEPO-ARTIS who represent 500,000 musicians, singers, actors and dancers across Europe regarding international copyright matters.

In the UK Vicky will address the AGM of the Engineering Professors' Council Annual General Meeting regarding her experience negotiating the € 80 billion Horizon 2020 fund for science and research and the importance of the EU for UK scientists. She will speak at meetings on the referendum in Hemel Hempstead and Buntingford.


18 MAR 2016

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 21st March

Week Ahead Media Briefing – Vicky Ford MEP – Monday 21st March

MEPs will meet in Brussels for committee meetings before the Easter weekend.

Vicky will be finishing her reports on the changes to European gun laws ("Firearms directive") and the Prospectus directive. Vicky has been nominated by colleagues as "rapporteur" which means she is coordinating the scrutiny and amendments of the proposed changes.

Changes to European gun laws were proposed by the European Commission in response to the terrorist attacks in Paris and seek to close loopholes in the existing law. However, there are many concerns about inadequate drafting and unintended consequences as well as concerns from museum owners and collectors, sporting organisations and groups such as the Countryside Alliance. Mrs Ford intends to address these concerns.

Changes to the Prospectus directive are intended to make it easier for small businesses to access capital markets across Europe and to enable retail investors.

She will attend meetings on smart CE marking, on the public procurement and on the importance of brands.

In London she will meet UK government experts on trading standards and the response to the VW scandal, copyright rules, accessibility and measures to make it easier for service providers to operate across the EU. Vicky will also meet the Secretary of State Sajid Javid and Baroness Neville Rolfe, to discuss priorities in the Single Market.


11 MAR 2016

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 14th March

Week Ahead Media Briefing – Vicky Ford MEP – Monday 14th March

MEPs will meet in Brussels this week for committee and group meetings.

This week Vicky will chair the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee. This will include a public hearing on the Firearms Directive, on which Vicky is coordinating negotiations in the Parliament to ensure any new rules on gun ownership are proportionate, necessary and build on best practice. There will also be an exchange of views with Commissioner Katainen, Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competiveness, regarding the Single Market Strategy.

Vicky will be meeting British Commissioner Lord Hill with representatives from the motor sports sector to discuss a forthcoming clarification of the Motor Insurance Directive. This directive enables motorists' insurance policies to be recognised when driving across EU borders. Unfortunately the original drafting dating back to 1972, mostly recently updated in 2009, is unclear in some languages and a recent ECJ ruling suggested it might apply also to vehicles which are not used in traffic. This could pose un-intended consequences for motorsports. Vicky has successfully raised this to the highest political level in Brussels. Lord Hill, the UK's Commissioner, is expected to discuss a clarification.

She will also be meeting with consumer groups to discuss the review of the Prospectus Directive, which aims to reduce the administrative burden for small and medium-sized enterprises who want to list in the capital markets. Her role is to provide expert input to the discussions in the European Parliament regarding consumer protection, to ensure that small investors and pensioners can benefit from moves to enhance European capital markets whilst at the same time ensure they are aware of the risks associated with investing in shares and bonds.

Throughout the week, Vicky will have meetings with ASG, the Motion Picture Association, EDiMA, News Corp, Samsung, GMC, NFU and EMOTA. She will also be hosting a group of visitors from the University of Cambridge studying MPhil in Public Policy.

In the UK Vicky will discuss reform, renegotiation, and the referendum with members of Anglia Farmers in Norfolk.


04 MAR 2016

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 7th March 2016

Week Ahead Media Briefing – Vicky Ford MEP – Monday 7th March 2016

MEPs will meet in Strasbourg this week for debates and to vote in plenary.

MEPs will debate and then vote on a controversial regulation relating to the privatisation of ports across the European Union. Given that ports in the East of England have been open to private competition for many decades, Conservative MEPs have been fighting hard to ensure that UK ports are not undermined by this new regulation, which has been rejected twice before in the European Parliament. Vicky will also participate in a debate about the migration crisis, with the Swedish Prime Minister, Stefan Lofven, and on the importance of Big Data for the new digital economy.

Vicky will meet with the Irish and Slovak ambassadors to discuss the importance of the Digital Single Market, online consumer rights and legislation that will make it easier to re-register cars when moving between countries. She will also discuss new European gun legislaton with a member of the French National Assembly.


29 FEB 2016

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 29th February

Week Ahead Media Briefing – Vicky Ford MEP – Monday 29th February

MEPs will meet in Brussels this week for committee and group meetings.

This week Vicky will have meetings on the update of European gun legislation ("the Firearms Directive") proposed in the aftermath of the Paris attacks. Vicky will chair a stakeholder meeting on Monday, which will be web streamed. She will speak at a public event on firearms hosted by the European Parliament's Hunting Intergroup. As part of their research, Vicky and a number of other MEPs will gather evidence on a site visit to the Royal Museum of the Armed Forces in Brussels.

The Web Accessibility Directive aims to make public websites more accessible to people who are visually impaired and/or deaf. Vicky will chair the final trilogue on this directive this week. The trilogue is the final stage in the legislative process where the European Parliament, the European Council, and the European Commission come together to discuss the final wording of the directive before it becomes law.

The EU is currently negotiating a trade agreement with the US. The UK Prime Minister has announced this is one of his top priorities. The trade agreement will need to be ratified by all 28 member states and the European Parliament. Vicky will participate in a panel debate on the trade agreement for French TV.

Harnessing the potential of Europe's digital economy is a top priority for the UK tech sector. Vicky will discuss how a trade deal between the EU and US can unlock the potential benefits of the digital economy at an event organised by DigitalEurope and United Kingdom Permanent Representation to the European Union.

Throughout the week, Vicky will have meetings with BMA, Association of British Insurers, Royal National Institute of Blind People, Digital Europe, Interactive Advertising Bureau, Siemens, and representatives from the German retail sector.

In the UK Vicky will discuss reform, renegotiation, and the referendum at meetings in Norwich and Suffolk Coastal.


22 FEB 2016

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 22nd February

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 22nd February

MEPs meet in Brussels this week for committee meetings and mini-plenary.

Vicky will chair the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee. This will include a discussion with MEPs on the Firearms Directive, on which Vicky is coordinating negotiations in the parliament. This update to European gun legislation was launched by the European Commission in response to the terrorist attacks in Paris and seeks to close loopholes in the existing law. However there are many concerns about inadequate drafting and unintended consequences.

There will also be an exchange of views with Commissioner Moscovici. Vicky will raise (again) the problems small businesses have with complex cross border VAT issues when selling on line "Vatmoss". She is campaigning for a threshold exemption for micro businesses.

Vicky will host a roundtable with Ford who employ 14,000 people in the UK making Diesel engines. Many of whom work at the world leading research facility in Dunton, Essex.

Vicky will participate in a plenary debate on the future of the Single Market. She will argue that it is vital all parties accelerate work on the modernising the single market, reducing bureaucracy for businesses and costs for consumers and making it fit for purpose in a digital age. Unless voters see a dynamic and vibrant Single Market they will vote to leave.

She will meet with the Finnish Interior Minister to discuss the Firearms Directive and with the US Global Standards Body to discuss the EU-US free trade agreement. She will also meet with the Council of European Dentists, the Clean Sky Joint Undertaking, Coalition For A Digital Economy and DigitalEurope.

On Friday Vicky will attend an event in South West Herts Conservative Association.


12 FEB 2016

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 15th February

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 15th February

There will be no meetings of the Internal Market Committee this week.

Vicky will be working on her first draft report on the Firearms Directive, which will ensure any new rules on gun ownership are proportionate, necessary and build on best practice. This document will be the basis for further discussions with other MEPs.

This week Vicky will meet with representatives of the European consumer organisation, BEUC, to discuss new legislative proposals relating to digital rights when buying digital content or goods online. She will also meet with the NFU to discuss unfair trading practices in the food sector as well as Ford to discuss their European operations, which has its main R&D centre in Dunton, Essex.

On Friday, the Prime Minister is expected to continue his renegotiation with his 27 counterparts from across Europe at a meeting of the European Council. Vicky will be in Brussels and will be available for comments.


05 FEB 2016

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 8th February

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 8th February

This week is a "green" week in the Parliament calendar which is intended for constituency events and overseas delegations.

In Norfolk, Vicky will meet members of the National Farmers Union to discuss farming and environment matters on the Norfolk Broads, she will speak to sixth form politics students at Paston Sixth Form College, and will take part in a debate for Mustard TV.

In Suffolk she will be the guest speaker at a dinner in Woodbridge, where she will update guests on the current state of play of the UK renegotiation.

In Cambridgeshire she will take part in a debate at the Cambridge Union and is hosting a meeting in Ely for people to ask questions about EU reform, renegotiation and referendum.

In Hertfordshire she will visit Hertford police station with Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd. They will get an update on the progress that has been made in Hertfordshire on checking cross boarder criminal records of non-UK citizens.


01 FEB 2016

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 1st February 2015

Week Ahead Media Briefing – Vicky Ford MEP – Monday 1st February 2015

MEPs will meet in Strasbourg this week for debates and to vote in plenary.

MEPs will vote on a review of the EU biodiversity strategy, This is being led by European Conservative and Reformist group member, Mark Demesmaeker. Vicky has had many hundreds of emails from constituents supporting this.

Vicky will participate in an ITV panel debate on whether the UK should remain a part of the European Union. The show will be broadcast later in the week on Thursday evening.

Vicky has meetings with Orange, Vivendi, Liberty Global and the London Stock exchange. She will meet with the Ambassador from the Netherlands on the firearms directive.

Vicky will attend a Cancer Research UK event to mark world cancer day.


22 JAN 2016

Week Ahead Media Briefing - Vicky Ford MEP - Monday 25th January

Week Ahead Media Briefing – Vicky Ford MEP – Monday 25th January

MEPs will meet in Brussels this week for committee meetings.

This week Vicky will have meetings on a number issues, including the update of European gun legislation ("the Firearms Directive") proposed in the aftermath of the Paris attacks and the launch of the measures to ensure the functioning of the Single Market.

On Monday Vicky will chair a meeting of the European Parliament's Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee, during which Henk Kemp, the Dutch Minister for Economic Affairs, will present his government's priorities for the next six months. There will also be a debate on the Union Customs Code, which is designed to make it easier for businesses to export and imports goods, as well as a discussion on what is needed to remove barriers to trade within the Single market.

On Tuesday Vicky will give a keynote address to the American Chambers of Commerce on customs legislation, during which she will give her thoughts on the forthcoming referendum in the UK on its membership of the European Union. She will also meet with policy experts from the Home office to discuss the Firearms Directive. In the evening she will chair the first trilogue on the web accessibility directive, which aims to make public websites more accessible to people who are visually impaired and/or deaf. The trilogue is the final stage in the legislative process where the European Parliament, the European Council, and the European Commission come together to discuss the final wording of the directive before it is put in place by Member States.

On Wednesday, Vicky will meet with organisations from across the EU with an interest in the Firearms Directive as well as have a second meeting with MEPs representing other political groups to better understand their concerns on the same issue. She will also give a keynote speech to the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales on the opportunities for the services sector in the Single Market, where she will reiterate her thoughts on the UK's membership of the EU.

Throughout the week Vicky will have meetings with Kickstarter, Centrica, Cisco, BusinessEurope and others. She will also attend a Burns night charity dinner in aid of Columba 1400, a Scottish charity supporting homeless people and those from challenging backgrounds.

On Monday and Tuesday, Vicky will be shadowed by an East of England scientist from the John Innes Centre on a scientist pairing scheme organised by the European Parliament's Science and Technology Panel.


11 JAN 2016

Week Ahead Media Briefing – Vicky Ford MEP – Monday 30th November 2015

Week Ahead Media Briefing – Vicky Ford MEP – Monday 30th November 2015

MEPs will meet in Brussels this week for committee meetings.

This week Vicky will have various meetings with stakeholders on the firearms directive. She will also be meeting with Business Europe. On Wednesday, she will be having meetings with UK MPs in the House of Commons.

On Thursday Vicky will chair two sessions of the Internal Market and Consumer Protection committee. This will include exchanges of views on proposals for contract rules for digital content, online sale of goods and on portability of online content services; as well as a public hearing on non-tariff Barriers to trade in the internal market. There will also be an exchange of views with Professor Mario Monti, former commissioner and former Prime Minister of Italy, on the single market.

On Friday, Vicky will visit Bradwell in Essex to meet those responsible for decommissioning the inactive nuclear facility and to learn about the plans for a future nuclear power station. She will be joined by local MP John Whittingdale. They will also visit St. Cedd's School.


11 DEC 2015

Week Ahead Media Briefing – Vicky Ford MEP – Monday 14th December 2015

Week Ahead Media Briefing – Vicky Ford MEP – Monday 14th December 2015

MEPs will meet in Strasbourg this week for debates and to vote in plenary.

On Monday, Vicky will chair a vote on the European Parliament's report on the Digital Market Strategy, which is a cross-cutting set of initiatives designed to make the Single Market fit for a digital age. Over 1,200 amendments were tabled by MEPs and over 40 compromised amendments have been written on the most controversial elements. After months of work the final report takes a positive tone towards the digital revolution, which is already transforming all aspects of our economy, society and environment. This vote will be one of the most significant to take place in the European Parliament this year.

Throughout the discussions, Vicky has encouraged MEPs to welcome the opportunities provided by the sharing economy and increased choices and lower prices for consumers thanks to online platforms. Whilst Vicky will support the vast majority of the report she will vote against the following which she believes could stifle innovation and undermine the growth of the internet economy.

calls for online companies have special employment or social security requirements.calls for a common European tax policy,calls for burdensome top down regulation on parcel delivery companies and online platformscalls for increased liability for e-commerce who would then be required to play the role of anti-counterfeiting authorities.

Vicky will support calls for simple, clear consumer rights for people buying goods online and offline and for the ability for holidaymakers to be able to access their legally acquired content and streaming services when they travel abroad.

Vicky will attend an exchange of views with the Delegation for Relations with the People's Republic of China and Mr Stavros Lambrinidis, EU Special Representative for Human Rights. She will also attend a meeting for the Parliament's science and technology options panel, which will include a presentation from the Executive Director of the European Environment Agency.

Parliament will sit on the 22nd and 23rd of December for committee meetings, but there are no sessions for the Internal Market Committee. Parliament will be in recess from the 24th of December to the 8th of January.


07 DEC 2015

Week Ahead Media Briefing – Vicky Ford MEP – Monday 7th December 2015

Week Ahead Media Briefing – Vicky Ford MEP – Monday 7th December 2015

MEPs will meet in Brussels this week for committee meetings.

In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in Paris, the European Commission proposed a series of changes to existing European legislation on firearms. On Monday Vicky will chair an exchange of views with the Commission on this proposal, which seeks to adjust existing standards on the purchasing and decommissioning firearms across Europe. Concerns have been raised about some of the drafting of the proposal, which MEPs may seek to clarify during the legislative process.

On Tuesday Vicky will open the European Knowledge for Innovation (K4i) summit, highlighting the importance of ensuring companies can access the right tools to encourage innovation. The same day she will chair a discussion online privacy with the Civil Liberties Committee of the European Parliament.

On Wednesday, Vicky will host a hearing, on behalf of the European Conservatives and Reformists group, on the booming European tech industry, showcasing speakers from companies like Spotify and Zalando. Crucially MEPs will hear from these companies what they need from the Digital Single Market Strategy, which is a cross-cutting initiative that seeks to make the existing Single Market fit for purpose in a digital age.

Vicky and other members of the European Conservative and Reformist Group, will meet with Mr Donald Tusk, President of the European Council. She will also meet the Dutch Ambassador, ahead of the forthcoming Dutch presidency of the European Council to better understand what their priorities are, including their role in the renegotiation of the UK's relationship with the EU. She will and meet with Estonian Economic Minister to discuss measures to boost growth and create jobs.

On Friday she will attend a meeting in the East of England on European funding in the region.


30 NOV 2015

Week Ahead Media Briefing – Vicky Ford MEP – Monday 30th November 2015

Week Ahead Media Briefing – Vicky Ford MEP – Monday 30th November 2015

MEPs will meet in Brussels this week for committee meetings.

On Monday, Vicky will visit the Trussell Trust foodbank in Haverhill, Suffolk. In the evening she will speak about Britain's Renegotiation, Reform and Referendum in St Albans.

On Tuesday Vicky will travel to Brussels to chair a debate on a report being prepared by the European Parliament as input into plans by the European Commission to create a Digital Single Market. Following this, Vicky will participate in a meeting to discuss the latest developments in the Network Information and Security directive, which will require Member States to enhance the cybersecurity of critical infrastructure, like airports and banks, to protect against cyber attacks. Given the Chancellor's recent announcement of extra funding to defend the UK against cyber attack, she hopes to finalise negotiations on the directive with the European Commission and representatives of Member States before Christmas.

Later, Vicky will lead a dinner debate on the future of sharing economy and competition policy, which will feature speakers from Airbnb, eBay, BlaBlaCar and others.

Vicky will meet with representatives from the toy industry. She will also meet with the consumer organisation Which?  to discuss online consumer rights and and with the CBI Brussels Director to discuss the UK's renegotiation of its membership of the EU.

In London, Vicky will meet with the General Medical Council to discuss the mutual recognition of medical qualifications across Europe and the changes that have been introduced to address specific concerns about language testing. In Cambridge, she will attend a meeting to select the Conservative candidate for Police and Crime Commissioner.

On Friday Vicky will travel to Ipswich to attend the Suffolk Rail Conference to discuss the future of the East Anglia Rail Franchise. In London, she will participate in a key discussion on the Digital Single Market and what it means for the UK, chaired by the BBC's Martine Croxall from the BBC. Also participating will be Robert Madelin, the European Commission's Chief Innovation Adviser to President Juncker, and representatives from the CBI, LSE and Alliance for Intellectual Property.


23 NOV 2015

Week Ahead Media Briefing – Vicky Ford MEP – Monday 23rd November 2015

Week Ahead Media Briefing – Vicky Ford MEP – Monday 23rd November 2015

MEPs will meet in Strasbourg this week for debates and votes.

Vicky's office in Brussels will not be staffed for as long as the city remains in lockdown. Vicky's thoughts are especially with the many young professionals from all over Europe who live and work in Brussels, including many from the East of England.

On Wednesday the European Council and Commission will give statements on the Paris attacks, which will be followed by reactions from MEPs and debate about how the EU should respond. This includes inter alia tightening cross border information sharing on criminal activities, sharing and monitoring of passenger name records for intra EU flights and reforming EU gun laws. Responsibility for amending European law on acquisition and possession of weapons has been allocated to the Internal Market Committee which Vicky chairs.

Vicky will meet with Jeremy Browne, Special Representative for the City, Bic, Calor UK, Radiocentre, EuroSmart, the American Chamber of Commerce and the popular music band Bastille

The Parliament will also be addressed by Sergio Mattarella, President of the Italy.

Vicky will attend a meeting of the Delegation for Relations with the People's Republic of China.


16 NOV 2015

Week Ahead Media Briefing – Vicky Ford MEP – Monday 16th November 2015

Week Ahead Media Briefing – Vicky Ford MEP – Monday 16th November 2015

MEPs will meet in Brussels and London this week.

This week the European Conservative and Reformist Group will meet in London for their autumn university. This will include meetings with the Prime Minister, the Home Secretary, and the 75 MEPs from 17 countries who are members of the Group. Vicky will chair a working group on the digital single market, at which guest speakers from Shazam, BskyB, Allegro Group, and BlaBlaCar will present their views on the future of EU digital policy.

In Brussels, Vicky will chair the fourth trialogue on the Network Information Security Directive which aims to establish cybersecurity requirements for important infrastructure, like airports and hospitals, as well as for certain types of digital companies. Given the recent attacks on TalkTalk, this directive will respond directly to the challenges faced by companies in combatting increasingly aggressive cybercriminals.

She will also host a visitors group from Watford University Technical College that opened in September 2014 for 14 to 19 year olds. She will meet with John Longworth, chairman of the British Chamber of Commerce, to discuss the UK's renegotiation of its relationship with the EU. Vicky will lead discussions on digital policy with Commissioner Oettinger, meet with consumer group BEUC to discuss online consumer rights and give a keynote speech on the Fintech sector.

In the East of England she will attend an event at G's Fresh in Ely, Cambridgeshire. This is to celebrate the opening of a new mushroom farm which produces 165 tonnes of mushrooms each week, employs 300 people and brings production to the UK of goods that were previously sourced from Europe.


06 NOV 2015

Week Ahead Media Briefing – Vicky Ford MEP – Monday 9th November 2015

Week Ahead Media Briefing – Vicky Ford MEP – Monday 9th November 2015

MEPs will meet in Brussels this week for committee meetings and to vote in a mini-plenary session.

In her role as Chairman of the Committee for the Internal Market and Consumer Affairs, Vicky will chair a debate between MEPs and Commissioner Bieńkowska on the future of the Single Market. The Commission announced its latest strategy last week. This includes actions to:

  • help small businesses by simplifying cross border VAT rules and reducing costs of registering companies,
  • make it easier for qualified professionals to offer services in different countries
  • modernise the way in which international product standards are agreed and enhance cross border action on illegal, non-compliant products
  • remove unnecessary costs and complexity in public procurement processes

Vicky is intending to ask the Commissioner what more could also be done to increase the competitiveness of larger companies especially given the current crisis in the steel sector.

The IMCO Committee has requested the European Court of Auditors to investigate how Member States have been enacting the new rules intended to simplify processes for small businesses when bidding on public sector contracts. The Auditors will report back to the committee this week.

In Brussels, Vicky will also meet with Commissioner Oettinger to discuss digital policy. She will also meet representatives of the Swedish Government, the International Confederation of Music Publishers and Traidcraft. She will speak in the plenary debate on "Zero Rating" and give evidence to a House of Lords EU Internal Market Sub-Committee on Online Platforms.

In London Vicky will meet with the head of the General Medical Council for further discussions on how to ensure that cross border recognition of professional qualifications do not lead to lower standards for medical professionals. She will meet with members of the UK Financial Services Sector who wish to raise questions on the UK negotiations and upcoming referendum. She will join an "Apps Alliance" workshop to hear how to help British developers sell their Apps across different markets.

In Cambridge, Vicky will visit the Academic Health Science Network at Addenbrooke's Hospital which is leading a new national initiative on Pre-Commercial Procurement. This seeks to unlock the benefits of the latest innovative solutions in order to help address urgent health needs. She will speak at a meeting on the UK's Reform, Renegotiation and Referendum in Cambridge.


30 OCT 2015

Week Ahead Media Briefing – Vicky Ford MEP – Monday 2nd November 2015

Week Ahead Media Briefing – Vicky Ford MEP – Monday 2nd November 2015

Vicky will visit Washington as part of the European Conservative and Reformists Group Bureau delegation. She has been invited to speak at two roundtable events on the Digital Single Market by the US Chamber of Commerce and the Trans-Atlantic Business Council. The discussion will centre around the transatlantic digital economy and how it can increase jobs, growth and competitiveness.

The delegation will also meet with the EU Ambassador to the US, David O'Sullivan, the Chief Economist of The Heritage Foundation, Stephen Moore, The President of the Congressional Institute, Mark Strand, the Chairman of American Conservative Union, Matt Schlapp, and the Assistant US Trade Representative for Europe and Chief Negotiatior for TTIP, Daniel Mullaney. Meetings will also be held with representatives of the Republican National Committee and elected politicians in both the House of Representatives and Senate.

The purpose of the visit it to strengthen relationships and understanding between Europe and the US, with particularly regard to EU-US trade talks, the digital economy and security issues.

On Wednesday Vicky will travel directly to The Hague to lead a cross-party delegation of MEPs from the Internal Market and Consumer Protection committee which she chairs. Each of the 28 countries in the EU take turns in the role of President of the European Council and chairing meetings between national prime ministers or minsters. The Netherlands will take over the Presidency of the European Council in January 2016 for the next 6 months. The IMCO committee visit the capital of each Member State in the run-up to each Presidency term.The delegation will meet the Committee on Economic affairs of the Dutch House of Representatives, the Dutch Consumer Organisation and the Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers before visiting Rotterdam Port to meet with Custom authorities and representatives of market surveillance organisations.


23 OCT 2015

Week Ahead Media Briefing – Vicky Ford MEP – Monday 26th October 2015

Week Ahead Media Briefing – Vicky Ford MEP – Monday 26th October 2015

MEPs will meet in Strasbourg this week for debates and to vote in plenary.

This week the European Parliament will be sitting in Strasbourg to vote several significant pieces of legislation. These include the telecoms single market (TSM) regulation that abolishes roaming for holidaymakers and puts in place provisions protecting the open internet, the package travel directive which updates consumers' rights when purchasing holiday packages online, and the European Parliament's statement on the Commission's 2016 Work Programme. Vicky played central roles in each of these proposals, specifically as lead negotiator on the TSM regulation and the Commission Work Programme as well as chairing negotiations on the Package Travel Directive. On this basis, she intends to contribute to each of these debates in plenary.

On Monday Vicky will attend an International Trade Committee monitoring group debriefing after the 11th round of the US-EU Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations. This will be attended by the EU's chief negotiator Ignacio Garcia Bercero and will summarise the recent negotiations in Miami. Vicky will also attend an EU-US FTA Coordination Group meeting on Tuesday where there will be an Exchange of views with Ms Malmstrom, EU Commissioner for Trade, about the recent developments in the negotiations.

On Tuesday Vicky will chair a meeting of the Internal Market Committee with Holland's Minister of Economic Affairs ahead of the upcoming IMCO delegation to The Hague. She also has meetings with representatives from the BPI (British Recorded Music Industry) and the environmental group Transport & Environment. On Wednesday, she will attend a meeting of MEPs on the Parliament's delegation for relations with China.

Along with the chairs of the Industry, Transport and Environment committees she will meet Commissioner Bienkowska for an update on the response to the Volkswagen scandal.


16 OCT 2015

Week Ahead Media Briefing – Vicky Ford MEP – Monday 19th October 2015

Week Ahead Media Briefing – Vicky Ford MEP – Monday 19th October 2015

MEPs will meet in Brussels this week for committee and political group meetings.

In London this week Vicky will be the keynote speaker at a roundtable event on the Digital Single Market. British based digital companies and business organisations will attend to discuss the upcoming Commission consultation on platforms as well as ways in which the potential of the digital single market can be unlocked to increase jobs, growth and competitiveness in Europe.

She will also attend a briefing on digital single market issues at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport with Baroness Neville Rolfe and other UK MEPs.

In Brussels, Vicky will attend the opening of an art exhibition in honour of Edith Cavell, the Norwich-born nurse who was executed by the Germans during the first world war for helping allied forces to escape Belgium. The exhibition will mark the centenary of her death.

During the week Vicky will meet with Blablacar, a car-sharing social platform, FreeICT access, OneWeb, a CityUK delegation who would like to discuss EU reform and representatives of European musicians, dancers and actors who would like to discuss online copyright issues for performers.

She will attend ECR Group meetings to plan for the following weeks Plenary agenda, inter alia, the Parliament will vote on the final version of laws to end mobile roaming charges and to update traveller rights for package holidays to take account of new online offerings.


12 OCT 2015

Week Ahead Media Briefing – Vicky Ford MEP – Monday 12th October 2015

Week Ahead Media Briefing – Vicky Ford MEP – Monday 12th October 2015

MEPs will meet in Brussels this week for committee meetings and to vote in a mini-plenary session.

This week there will be an exchange of views on the Parliaments Report on the Digital Single Market involving the Internal Market committee and the Industry committee. Vicky will co-chair the exchange and is the ECR Group's shadow rapporteur. Once finalised, this report will be the European Parliament's main response to the Digital Single Market Strategy. Vicky will be playing a central role and hopes this will result in a positive series of recommendations that emphasises the huge growth opportunities for UK businesses and consumers.

She will give a keynote speech at the WIK conference on New Rules for a Digital Single Market, address a round table discussion organised by the Small Business Alliance and take part in a panel discussion at the ECR Think Tank New Direction's Digital Summit. This discussion will focus on ecommerce and the need for a real Single Market for consumers.

Vicky will chair meetings of the Internal Market committee. The agenda includes the investigation into car emission standards following the VW scandal, Trade in Services, EU Competition Policy and customs sanctioning systems, a report by Eurochambres about a recent assessment of Points of Single Contact in different Member States which are meant to make it easier for businesses to be established in different countries. MEPs will be given an update on single market infringement cases from the EU Commission and will vote on the Package travel directive and on type-approval requirements for vehicles.

In the plenary sessions MEPs will vote on amending the EU budget in order to assist with the refugee crisis as well as on a report into the international climate agreement.

Also this week Vicky will meet with the chairmen of seven of the UK's biggest banks as well as a delegation from Tech UK, the voice of the UK tech industry, IBM to discuss the way forward on the Network and Information Security Directive, ETSY, the online platform selling handmade goods, as well as the European Association for Cancer Research.

In the constituency, Vicky will attend the Europe and International Panel meeting in Norwich as well as the Edmolift factory in Haverhill, Suffolk where she will learn more about the materials handling sector and international trade.


02 OCT 2015

Week Ahead Media Briefing Monday 5th October 2015

This week Vicky will be in Manchester for the Conservative Party Conference and Strasbourg where MEPs will meet to vote.

On Sunday (4th) evening, Vicky will chair and speak at a fringe meeting on "Digital Single Market: What are the benefits and risks for Britain?". She will host expert speakers from the Premier League, TechUK, the British Music Industry, Uber, Google and Manchester based tech startup Shaping Cloud as well as the Culture Secretary John Whittingdale and Baroness Neville Rolfe, Minister for Intellectual Property.

On Monday, Vicky will speak at a Women2Win/ ConHome fringe meeting which aims to encourage and help more women to enter politics. She will take part in a high level panel discussion arranged by Policy Exchange about technological advances in the financial sector and the ability of Fintech to increase access to more affordable financial services.

Many business organisations have asked to meet Vicky. Unfortunately it has not been possible to schedule all these meetings. She will meet with the heads of the British Chamber of Commerce and the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders as well as representatives from Ford and General Motors, both of which are large employers in the East of England. She will also host two sessions at the "Business Day" Conference.

Many hundreds of East of England constituents have emailed Vicky asking her to meet with Cancer Research UK in Manchester, which she will do. Vicky is a long time supporter of Cancer Research and has worked with them closely to protect EU funding for health research and to ensure that the voice of patient organisations is heard clearly on legislative matters including on clinical trials, data protection/sharing and medical research.

Vicky will also host events for members from across the East of England.

In Strasbourg, as Chair of the Internal Market Committee Vicky will lead a debate in the Parliament chamber on the investigation into car emission standards following the news that VW have contravened standards in both the EU and the U.S.

Mr Hollande, President of France and Chancellor Merkel of Germany will both give statements on the current situation in Europe on Wednesday. They are expected to focus their speeches on migration. King Felipe VI of Spain will also address the Parliament.

Mrs Ford will chair the annual inter-institutional meeting between the Parliament Committee chairs and the European Commissioners on matters related to the Internal Market.


28 SEP 2015

Week Ahead Media Briefing – Vicky Ford MEP – Monday 28th September 2015

Week Ahead Media Briefing – Vicky Ford MEP – Monday 28th September 2015

This week Vicky Ford will be tabling formal questions on behalf of IMCO committee on Europe's response to the recent VW revelations. The questions will be put to the Commission in next week's plenary meeting of the full Parliament. Vicky believes a full market wide investigation of all manufacturers and those authorities responsible for testing is necessary. Vicky will be meeting representatives of the UK motor industry at Conservative Party Conference this weekend.

Vicky will lead an IMCO working group on the digital single market. The meeting will be looking at issues faced by consumers when making online purchases. Vera Jourova, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality will give an update on the Commission's work and take questions. Later in the week Vicky will also discuss digital single market development with Commissioner Oettinger.

On Tuesday Vicky will meet with Rt Hon. Ian Duncan Smith MP, the Secretary of State for Work & Pensions, and Priti Patel MP, Minister for Employment. Later in the day there will also be a group meeting for all members of the ECR.

Vicky will speak at an event in the Parliament on the sharing economy in the hospitality sector. Also speaking will be the global head of strategy for Airbnb.

Vicky will also meet the European Magazine Media Association, the International Federation of Automotive Aftermarket Distributors, the Financial Services Trade Association, the European Banking Federation, and IMPALA.

Vicky will attend the Conservative Party Conference on 4th and 5th October. She will host an open fringe meeting on the digital single market, which will be joined by John Whittingdale MP and representatives from UK tech startups, music industry, Premier League as well as Google and Uber. Vicky will also speak at a fringe event hosted by Women2win on women in parliament and an event hosted by Policy Exchange about on-line payments & Fintech. She will attend the business day conference to discuss EU reform and the single market with businesses. She will host a reception for East of England members.


21 SEP 2015

Week Ahead Media Briefing – Vicky Ford MEP – Monday 21st September 2015

Week Ahead Media Briefing – Vicky Ford MEP – Monday 21st September 2015

MEPs will meet in Brussels this week for committee meetings

Vicky will start the week by speaking at the Consumer and Competition Conference in Luxembourg. The day is organised by Luxembourg who currently hold the Presidency of the European Council. She will speak about the importance of the digital single market with a specific focus on copyright, consumer protection and geo-blocking. Although the digital economy has huge potential she will warn of the danger of over-regulation which could stifle innovation.

During the week she will speak at an event hosted by Tech UK, the voice of the UK tech industry, on the benefits of data-driven Europe. She will sit on a panel with Zesty, Yoti and Shaping Cloud, three start-ups that have seen huge success. She will also make a statement at a cross-party meeting of MEPs interested in how SMEs can make the most of the single market.

This week will also see the final stages of negotiations on Personal Protective Equipment. Vicky has led the scrutiny of this law in the European Parliament over that last year and supports strong, clear standards for safety products. She will also chair a meeting of the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee. Discussions will focus on better regulation, the Union Customs Code and the European Semester.

In Brussels she will meet with TalkTalk and the US Government's expert on copyright.

In the East of England Vicky will speak in a panel debate on Excellent research in the UK: do we need the EU?, drawing on her experience as one of the lead negotiators for the Horizon2020 £70bn package of funding for collaborative research. The event will take place at the University of Cambridge and she will be joined on the panel by the Vice-Chancellor of East Anglia University, Professor David Richardson, Professor of Experimental Philosophy at Cambridge University Gerry Gilmore, and Professor of Semiconductor Engineering Florin Udrea.

Vicky will explain the importance of being at the negotiation table to ensure that the UK gets the best deal and that money can be invested in research in the East of England. Cambridge University is leading the way with the highest number of participants in Europe and second only to Oxford University in terms of research funding.

She will also visit the Marine Management Organisation in Ipswich to discuss improving funding for coastal communities and fishermen. She will also meet the Greater Cambridge and Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership to help improve access to EU development grants in the region. In Peterborough she will visit Relate with Stewart Jackson MP.


14 SEP 2015

Week Ahead Media BriefingMonday 14th September 2015

Week Ahead Media Briefing – Vicky Ford MEP – Monday 14th September 2015

MEPs will be meeting in Brussels this week for committee meetings and votes during the mini-plenary session

This week Vicky will attend continuing negotiations on the Network and Information Security Directive. Although the aim of the legislation is to enable countries to work together to fight cybercrime, Vicky wants to ensure that national security of the UK is not compromised and that the legislation will not cause confusion or inadvertently make digital security worse.

She will speak on a panel at the Trans-Atlantic Business Council conference on the Digital Single Market, specifically focussing on e-Commerce, Copyright and Geo-blocking. Vicky will explain that unlocking the benefits of the digital economy is key to delivering competitiveness, jobs and growth and that any copyright reforms should be targeted and evidence-based.

In Brussels she will meet with Fairsearch, an organisation made up companies with a large online presence who are concerned that search engines have an unfair hold over the online marketplace, World DMB radio, the NFU, Vodaphone, Samsung and the Publishers Association to discuss copyright and the anticipated reform proposals that are expected from the Commission in early December.

She will also attend a reception for the Federation of Small Businesses to hear more about the issues likely to affect SMEs in the coming months as well as speak at a dinner hosted by Eurocommerce which represents retailers across Europe.

Later in the week, in London, Vicky will visit the Digital Catapult centre which was set up to accelerate the UK's best digital ideas and help create new products, services and jobs in the UK. She will then attend meetings at the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills with other MEPs from across Europe to discuss the digital agenda with UK Ministers. She will also take part in a Conservative Party Reform meeting in Norfolk.


07 SEP 2015

Week Ahead Media Briefing Monday 7th September 2015

Week Ahead Media Briefing- Monday 7th September 2015

MEPs will meet in Strasbourg this week for votes and debate in the plenary session.

The key debate this week will take place on Wednesday morning. Mr Junker, President of the Commission will make a statement on the State of the Union which will be followed by Council and Commission statements on migration and the refugee crisis in Europe. Vicky will take part in the debate and will be available for media interviews afterwards.

The vote on the Commission Work Programme has been postponed. Vicky chaired the political negotiations which broke down in July because of the lack of a left/right consensus. Disagreements centred around the need to remove unnecessary business regulation. Although there is consensus between centre-right parties in the Parliament on this and many other issues, they do not have a majority. Vicky will continue to work to get political support for the competitiveness agenda.

In the week, Vicky will meet with Commissioner Moscovici who is responsible for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs. She will raise the devastating impact that the VAT changes for digital goods have had on small and micro-enterprises in her region. Since 1st January this year VAT for digital goods is charged at the rate of the country of residence of the purchaser and not the seller, bringing many UK businesses, previously exempt from paying UK VAT into the scope and requiring them to charge different rates of VAT depending on which of the 28 EU member states the buyer resides in. Many entrepreneurs from across the UK have written to Vicky explaining that the new rules were impracticable for micro businesses. Vicky has called for a VAT threshold below which companies would be exempt from VAT but this requires all 28 Member State Finance Ministers to agree. She will urge the Commission to do all he can to introduce this change quickly.

Vicky will also meet with Eurocommerce and the British Retail Consortium where topics under discussion will include the UK's place in a reformed European Union, the Single Market, promoting international trade and establishing better regulation throughout the EU.

She will attend a reception, hosted by the ECR UK Delegation in honour of Her Majesty the Queen to mark the day she becomes Britain's longest reigning monarch.

Later in the week in the East of England, Vicky will visit Waterbeach Primary School where she will talk to year 6 pupils on the topic of democracy. She will also attend the Cambridge Intelligence Awards at Downing College, Cambridge.


13 JUL 2015

Week Ahead Media Briefing – Monday 13th July 2015

Week Ahead Media Briefing – Monday 13th July 2015

MEPS will meet in Brussels this week for committee meetings and will return to Parliament after the summer break on 31st August 2015.

This week Vicky will attend a lunch in honour of the new President of Poland, Mr Andrzej Duda. Mr Duda was an MEP within the ECR group up until his election as President last month. He sat on the Internal Market committee of which Vicky is chair and they worked closely together over the first year of the Parliament.

She will chair meetings of the IMCO committee where the following legislation will be discussed: Unfair Trading Practices in the food supply chain, the EEA-Switzerland agreement, mutual assistance on customs and agricultural matters, the promotion of tourism, and improved single market regulation. There will also be an exchange of views with the Commission on their Digital Single Market strategy.

Vicky will also receive an award on behalf of the European Parliament from the European Transport Safety Council. In July 1995 the European Parliament adopted stringent new standards for front and side passenger crash tests. The Parliament's amendments significantly strengthened the Commission's original proposal and have resulted in a dramatic improvement in car occupant safety and have saved tens of thousands of lives across the European Union over the last 15 years. In recognition of this legislative action in favour of road safety the Global New Car Assessment Programme is giving its prestigious 2015 Annual Consumer Champion Award to the European Parliament.

During the week Vicky will meet with the Sharing Economy start-up 'One Fine Stay', the UK Manufacturers Association, King Digital the creators of the app 'Candy Crush', the British Horseracing Authority, the National Funeral Directors Association and BirdLife Malta.


06 JUL 2015

Week Ahead Media Briefing Monday 6th July 2015

Week Ahead Media Briefing Monday 6th July 2015

MEPs will meet in Strasbourg this week for plenary votes.

On Tuesday, the Parliament will vote on a report on the negotiations of the EU/US trade agreement "TTIP". This vote was delayed from last month at the request of the Socialist group. Vicky has received thousands of emails from constituents on this issue, many of whom have been incorrectly informed as to the current state of play. She has been replying to give up to date information. Vicky believes that there are many potential benefits of well structured trade agreement for businesses (small and large) and for consumers. Environmental and consumer standards will not be undermined. The NHS will not be included in the trade agreement. Vicky also believes that it is important that non-domestic investors are given assurances that they will not be disadvantaged compared to domestic investors.

The Parliament will debate the Commission's Work Programme which sets out the priorities and actions for the coming year. Vicky has been leading the scrutiny of the Work Programme on behalf of the ECR Group and will chair negotiations with other political groups to agree a resolution which will be voted on Thursday.

On Thursday the Parliament will vote on an Own Initiative Report on harmonising certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society. Many constituents and organisations have written to Vicky concerned that the report as it stands would mean that those taking photos of public buildings for commercial use would have to request authorisation from the copyright holder (such as the architect of the building). The UK currently has an exception from copyright for both the commercial and non-commercial use of photos of public buildings and monuments. Vicky firmly believes that this freedom to take photos of public buildings should continue and will vote to delete all reference to changing this 'freedom of panorama' exception. She has also signed an amendment to ensure that no change is made.

This week Vicky will meet with representatives from the next three countries taking on the Presidency of the European Council after Luxembourg. These are the Netherlands, Slovakia and Malta. She will also meet with the EU Commissioner for Digital Economy & Society, Mr Oettinger, the Commissioner for Trade, Ms Malmstrom, and EMOTA the European organisation for e-commerce companies.


29 JUN 2015

Week Ahead Media Briefing Monday 29th June 2015

Week Ahead Media Briefing Monday 29th June 2015

MEPs will meet in Brussels this week for committee and political group meetings.

This week Vicky will host the second ECR hearing on the digital single market which will focus on the Sharing Economy on Wednesday 1st July at 9.30am in the European Parliament. The event will also be live web-streamed. Representatives of Uber, AirBnb, We are Pop Up, Yelp and BEUC, the EU consumer organisation, will present their views on the risks and benefits of these new types of business models. This second hearing coincides with the launch of an ECR campaign to make the EU's single market fit for the digital age. Read more here

Vicky will attend further negotiations on the Telecoms Single Market Package. This legislation seeks to end roaming charges on mobile devices for consumers travelling around the EU and to establish rules on net neutrality. Amendments supported by the Socialist and Green groups on net neutrality would mean certain parental blocking tools would no longer be legal in the UK. These are currently used by millions of parents in the UK to restrict content unsuitable for children. Vicky has been working to ensure that parental blocking packages can still be made available in the UK should consumers wish to use them.

She will also chair negotiations of the Network and Information Security Directive. Although the aim of the legislation is to enable countries to work together to fight cybercrime, Vicky wants to ensure that national security of the UK is not compromised.

Vicky will also speak on a panel to discuss rural broadband and connectivity, organised by the ECR's Rural Economy Working Group. She will showcase some of the excellent progress being made in delivering broadband access to rural households in the East of England.

Vicky will attend a roundtable discussion with a business delegation from Australia to learn more about their ideas and approaches to policy and in particular, the digital single market.

During the week Vicky will meet with Edima the EU trade association for online platforms


22 JUN 2015

Week Ahead Media Briefing Monday 22nd June 2015

MEPs will meet in Brussels this week for committee meetings and votes in a mini-plenary session.

This week Vicky will host a meeting on behalf of the Digital Agenda for Europe Intergroup. She has invited TechUK who represent the tech sector to give their views on the Commission's digital single market strategy from a user-perspective. Four innovative digital companies Splittable, Arkessa, Accountagility and Kidslox will also give their personal insights into the benefits and challenges of doing business in a digitalised Europe. BEUC, the European consumer organisation will also speak.

She is also a co-host of a conference run by the Financial Coalition against the commercialisation of children online. The conference will tackle the question of how to prevent commercial sexual exploitation of children online by a stronger partnership between the public and private sector.

Vicky will also speak at the American Chamber of Commerce conference on Investing in Europe where she will sit on a panel with a range of businesses to discuss what more can be done to encourage and keep investment in infrastructure in the EU.

The Internal Market and Consumer Protection committee of which Vicky is chair will meet to discuss their own-initiative report on the Digital Single Market for the first time. Other legislation on the agenda includes pollutant emissions from road vehicles, the EEA-Switzerland agreement and its impact on the single market, and single-member private limited liability companies.

Vicky will attend a formal meeting with the Luxembourg Presidency in her capacity as Chairman of the IMCO committee. Luxembourg are the next country in line to take over the Presidency of the EU Council on 1st July this year. She will also meet with the Information Technology Industry Association from the USA, and the EU Retail Financial Forum.

In the constituency Vicky will visit the University of Herts, Hatfield Campus to attend a meeting of the University Court. She will also visit Parliament in Westminster to meet with some of the MPs for the East of England.


15 JUN 2015

Week Ahead Media Briefing Monday 15th June 2015

Week Ahead Media Briefing Monday 15th June 2015 

MEPs will meet in Brussels this week for committee meetings.

Vicky will lead negotiations to update and simplify the Personal Protective Equipment Directive. Items such as life-jackets and crash helmets have been covered by EU law for 25 years. She supports strong, clear standards for safety products but does not support the EU Commission's plans to extend obligations to makers of decorative oven gloves and household washing-up gloves. Vicky's opinion was supported by MEPs in a recent committee vote by a 2 to 1 majority.

Vicky will chair a roundtable debate organised by the European Manufacturers' Forum on the Digital Single Market strategy. The event will focus on the impact digitalisation could have for industry across Europe. The 6 MEPs invited by manufacturers and engineers to speak at the event are all women.

She will attend meetings on the Telecoms Single Market package negotiations, which proposes action on roaming charges, open internet and consumer transparency on mobile phone bills.

She will meet with

- Innovative UK to discuss how EU funding can be used to kick-start innovation in the UK

-European Parkinson's Disease Association to discuss their recent campaigns

-CEOs of innovative digital players to discuss the Commission's proposals on the digital single market.

She will also meet representatives of Digital Europe and EDIMA to discuss the latest plans to include internet companies within the scope of the Network and Information Security directive.

On Thursday Vicky will visit the UK's Consumer Centre and the Trading Standards Institute based in Basildon. She will be finding out more about what help is available to consumers who make purchases abroad or have problems while travelling or trading in the EU and how Trading Standards in the UK communicates and coordinates work with similar organisations across the UK to identify and remove unsafe products.


08 JUN 2015

Week Ahead Media Briefing Monday 8th June 2015

Week Ahead Media Briefing Monday 8th June 2015

This week the European Parliament will be in Strasbourg for votes

Vicky will attend meetings about the Digital Single Market and meet with the Vice-President of the EU Commission, Jyrki Katainen about reforming the single market to promote trade, improve competitiveness and remove red tape.

This week the European Parliament will vote on a resolution on the proposed EU-US trade agreement. Negotiations are far from complete and no final decisions have been made, Vicky is concerned about the number of myths circulating about the proposals. The trade agreement has the potential to deliver real, tangible benefits for workers and companies in the EU and the UK, especially for small and medium sized businesses. Furthermore, the agreement will not jeopardise the right to set environmental and consumer standard regulations in Europe. The ECR will support amendments reiterating that non domestic investors should have the same rights as domestic ones.

Vicky will also take part in a business panel with the British Chamber of Commerce and a discussion on the referendum with other British Conservative MEPs.


01 JUN 2015

Week Ahead Media Briefing – Monday 1st June

Week Ahead Media Briefing – Monday 1st June

The European Parliament will meet in Brussels this week for committee and political group meetings.

In London Vicky will attend meetings with Ministers on EU reform and renegotiation.

In Brussels Vicky will deliver a keynote speech at the annual Consumer Summit in Brussels. She will be focusing on issues affecting consumer policyin the digital age.

She will then host the 10th anniversary event for the European Consumer Centre network. These centres, based in every Member State of the EU, assist consumers with problems when trading across borders. Vicky will be urging them to increase their visibility so that more can benefit from their services.

Vicky will attend further negotiation meetings on the Telecoms Single Market Package. Amendments supported by the Socialist and Green groups on net neutrality would mean certain parental blocking tools would no longer be legal. These include some examples used by millions of parents in the UK to restrict content unsuitable for children. Vicky has been working to alter these amendments so that parental blocking packages are still available should consumers wish to use them.

She will attend the launch of an ECR report on freedom of religion or belief.

Later in the week Vicky will travel to Riga in Latvia to attending meetings of the ECR political group's Bureau where she will speak on the digital single market. She will also give an opening speech at a summit on Standardization. Latvia currently hold the presidency of the European Council and are organising the summit in their National Library. Vicky will also be

On Friday, Vicky will take part in a BBC Radio Essex debate on the 40th Anniversary of the last referendum on Europe. In Cambridge, she will also meet with a cross section of businesses from across the region that trade with the single market.


25 MAY 2015

Week Ahead Media Briefing 25th May 2015

Week Ahead Media Briefing Monday 25th May

The European Parliament will meet in Brussels this week for committee meetings and plenary votes.

Vicky will attend further negotiation meetings on the Telecoms Single Market Package. Amendments supported by the Socialist and Green groups on net neutrality would mean certain parental blocking tools would no longer be legal. These include some examples used by millions of parents in the UK to restrict content unsuitable for children. Vicky has been working to alter these amendments so that parental blocking packages are still available should consumers wish to use them.

Vicky will also attend meetings on the Network and Information Security Directive and the Working Group meeting on the Digital Single Market for the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee.

She will chair a discussion with expert panelists on financial education and consumer protection relating to financial products.


18 MAY 2015

Week Ahead Media Briefing 18th May 2015

Week Ahead Media Briefing 18th May 2015

The European Parliament will meet in Strasbourg this week for votes in the plenary session.

MEPs will be debating the new rules on VAT for digital services, books and papers in the EU. The rules have meant that, from the start of this year, businesses must collect VAT for each individual country they sell to, and keep the records of all their transactions for years. Whilst this may have been a well-intentioned way of preventing big businesses from abusing international tax rules, it has had a devastating impact on microbusinesses, such as sellers of e-books. Vicky supports the campaign for an exemption, a threshold, for small businesses. This needs consent from finance ministers across the EU.

MEPs will also be debating EU proposals for the Digital Single Market. Vicky Ford has coordinated work for the ECR group and prepared a detailed policy paper. This is the result of many months of work and discussions with multiple & diverse stakeholders, including a workshop with businesses and policy experts in Cambridge. She believes the EU Commission strategy is good in parts but needs some work in others. Grand plans have stalled in the past so the Commission is right to focus much of its attention on breaking down barriers and removing unnecessary red tape. However, there is much more that entrepreneurs, businesses and consumers have suggested could be done to make trade easier and Vicky would like to see many more suggestions from end users taken up in this area.

During the week Vicky will meet with the US Ambassador to the EU and the President of the Committee of the Regions.


11 MAY 2015

Week Ahead Media Briefing Monday 11th May 2015

Week Ahead Media Briefing Monday 11th May 2015

MEPs will meet in Brussels this week for committee and political group meetings

On Monday Vicky will attend a hearing on the European Citizens Initiative to stop animal research. This petition, which has had to collect a million signatures in order to be formally reviewed by the European Commission, is calling for the use of animals in research to be banned.

Vicky has received hundreds of emails from constituents, especially those involved in research using animals in the East of England. In January, she co-hosted a workshop to inform MEPs about the efforts already in place within the scientific community to Reduce, Refine and Replace animals in research (known as the three Rs). She has also been approached by three patient organisations, the European Patients' Forum, Eurordis and EGAN, representatives of which will accompany her to the hearing to ensure that their voices are heard.

On Tuesday morning she will speak at a post-election briefing organised by consultants Hume Brophy on the UK election results. Richard Corbett, Labour MEP, and Ryan Heath, editor of Politico, will also be participating.

Later in the week Vicky will meet with the representatives from Premier League to discuss copyright reform. She will continue a series of meetings with ambassadors from other EU countries, this week meeting a delegation from Finland.


01 MAY 2015

Week Ahead Media Briefing Monday 4th May 2014

Week Ahead Media Briefing Monday 4th May 2014

The European Parliament will meet in Brussels for committee meeting.

As this is election week, Vicky will help campaign in constituencies across the East of England.

She will travel to Brussels to chair meetings between MEPs and Vice President of the European Commission, Jyrki Katainen, whose role covers jobs, growth, competitiveness and investment, as well as Commissioner Bieñkowska who is responsible for Internal Market issues. Vicky has strongly argued that new EU funds for investment should not be taken from budgets which have already been allocated to fundamental science and research. She recently met with the Cambridge University Vice Chancellor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz who confirmed the vital nature of such research funding to the UK.

She will also attend a key negotiation meeting on the Telecoms Package on roaming, open internet and consumer transparency in phone and internet contracts. The Parliament would like all consumers to be provided with an estimate of upload and download speeds by ISPs before entering into any Internet contract and for consumers to have the right to terminate contracts if speeds are not achieved.


27 APR 2015

Week Ahead Briefing Monday 27 April 2015

Week Ahead Briefing Monday 27 April 2015

Vicky Ford chairs the European Conservative and Reformist working group on the Digital Single Market. She will present a strategy paper on the subject for approval by the ECR which represents the third largest group of MEPs in the Parliament. The paper covers a diverse range of issues such as e-commerce, consumer rights, data protection & big data, child protection online, VAT reforms, enabling tech start-ups, combatting cyber security, e-payments, e-services, geoblocking. The Group will exchange views with Commission Vice President Ansip. This is timely given that the European Commission is expected to adopt proposals the following week.

This week the European Parliament will vote on the new E-call system legislation which obliges all new types of cars, from 2017, to be fitted with a tracking device to automatically call 999 in the event of a crash. They will also vote on an amendment of the Multiannual Financial Framework.

During the week Vicky will chair negotiations of the Network and Information Security Directive which is currently in its final stages of negotiation. Although the aim of the legislation is to enable countries to work together to fight cybercrime, Vicky wants to ensure that national security of the UK is not compromised.

She will also meet with MEPs to discuss the drive towards better regulation in Europe, as well as Ambassadors from Finland, Denmark and Portugal.

On Friday, Vicky will visit Lowestoft Port and Waveney. Over the weekend she will be campaigning in the 10 East of England seats that Conservatives gained from Labour in 2010.


20 APR 2015

Week Ahead Briefing Monday 20th April

Week Ahead Briefing Monday 20th April

The European Parliament will meet for committee and political group meetings in Brussels this week.

This week Vicky will chair meeting of the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee which will discuss defence capabilities in Europe, Earth satellite data, the trade in seal products and gas appliances. On Thursday there will be a vote to adopt her report on personal protective equipment such as life jackets, chainsaw guards and crash helmets which have been covered by EU law for 25 years. Vicky is leading the scrutiny of the proposed changes and acting as 'rapporteur' for the Parliament. She supports strong, clear standards for safety products and is concerned about the European Commission's plans to extend the regulation to domestic oven and dish washing gloves which do not claim a protective function. Her report proposes that this is dropped.

Throughout the week Vicky will continue to attend and chair negotiations on:

The Telecomms Package which proposes action on roaming charges, open internet and consumer transparency on mobile phone bills.

The Package Travel Directive which aims to modernise package travel protection in the digital era. In the UK consumers benefit from a high level of protection under ATOL and this proposal seeks to establish similar schemes across Europe.

The Network and Information Security Directive which is currently in its final stages of negotiation. Although the aim of the legislation is to enable countries to work together to fight cybercrime, Vicky wants to ensure that national security of the UK is not compromised.

Vicky will also speak at the European Logistics Summit focussing on how the logistics sector can help to increase jobs and growth in Europe. She will explain that in order for the single market to be fit for purpose in a digital age, parcel delivery needs to be able to support the growth in ecommerce.

She will also address the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise as part of a panel on the benefits of Big Data, meet with a delegation from the Institute of Directors and discuss security issues with the CEO of the European Organisation for Security.


13 APR 2015

Week Ahead Monday 13th April

The European Parliament will meet for committee meetings and plenary votes in Brussels this week.

On Monday morning before travelling to Brussels Vicky will meet Suffolk fishermen in Lowestoft with the Parliamentary Candidate for Waveney, Peter Aldous. Conservatives helped push through reforms of EU fishing policy including the ending of fish discards.

In Brussels

Vicky will attend a reception at the British Embassy in honour of UK Universities where Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, will give an address. In the last Parliament Vicky was the only UK MEP involved in the negotiations of the Horizon2020 £70bn package of research funding, of which the UK is a net beneficiary.

As one of the lead negotiators on the proposed EU telecoms package she will meet representatives from Sky to discuss parental controls and will meet with BEUC, the European Consumer Organisation.

Vicky will chair the next stage of negotiations on the Package Travel Directive. This law aims to modernise package travel protection in the digital era. In the UK consumers benefit from a high level of protection under ATOL and this proposal seeks to establish similar schemes across Europe.

She will attend a roundtable policy discussion organised by the European Committee of Domestic Equipment Manufacturers which includes CEOs from Miele, Bosch Siemens, Samsung, Whirlpool and other white good manufacturers. Topics she will raise include improving consumer involvement and information when setting product standards and the need to ensure EU legislation is future-proof and considers the development of the Internet of Things.

Later in the week she will join the Election Campaign in Clacton, Colchester and Bedford and will speak to students at Hills Road Sixth Form College in Cambridge.


23 MAR 2015

Week Ahead Monday 23 March 2015

Week Ahead Monday 23rd March

MEPs will meet in Brussels for Committee Meetings and a mini-plenary session.

This week Vicky will host, together with Syed Kamall MEP, an event to shine a light on the devastating impacts that the VAT changes for digital goods have had on small and micro enterprises. On 1st January this year VAT for digital goods is charged at the rate of the country of the purchaser and not the seller, bringing many UK businesses, previously exempt from paying UK VAT into the scope and requiring them to charge different rates of VAT depending on which of the 28 EU member states the buyer resides in. Many entrepreneurs from across the UK have written to Vicky explaining that the new rules were impracticable for micro businesses. Representatives from the UK campaign group EUVATACTION will speak about their personal experiences of trying to comply with this legislation. This event is timely as it follows the European Council meeting last week at which David Cameron raised VAT changes with President Junker and asked for a VAT threshold to be introduced, similar to the one that exists in the UK.

Vicky will also be discussing barriers to e-commerce more generally at 'The Internet Opportunity' conference run by the European Digital Media Organisation where she will speak on a panel about the internet as a driver for non-internet business. She will also host an event for the European Internet Forum which will look closely at what the specific barriers to e-commerce are and how they can be overcome. Speakers representing the following organisations will attend:

EUVATACTION

The Scandinavian Design Centre

Choice in Ecommerce

Ecommerce European Parliament

BEUC (the European Consumer Organisation)

Other events this week include a discussion with Russell Group Universities, including with Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, Vice Chancellor of Cambridge University, on the importance of investment in research and flexible data protection rules to enable large-scale research projects to remain workable. Vicky will also be hosting and opening a conference run by the European Technology Forum on Plants for the Future. She will draw on her experiences of visiting ground-breaking research centres in the East of England such as Rothamsted, the John Innes Centre and NIAB to explain that EU law needs to work for agri-tech. She will also meet with Business Europe's committee for the Single Market, representatives from Tech UK and attend a 3 way "trialogue" negotiation on the Telecoms Single Market dossier where she is rapporteur for the Internal Market & Consumer Protection Committee (this dossier covers, inter alia, roaming and net-neutrality).

In committee, there will be an exchange of views on the amendments to Mrs Ford's report on Personal Protective Equipment. Examples of PPE such as life jackets, chainsaw guards and crash helmets have been covered by EU law for 25 years. Vicky is leading the scrutiny of the proposed changes and acting as 'rapporteur' for the Parliament. She supports strong, clear standards for safety products and is concerned about the European Commission's plans to extend the regulation to domestic oven and dish washing gloves which do not claim a protective function. She will propose that this is dropped.

On Wednesday and Thursday Vicky will travel to Riga in Latvia for an informal meeting of the Competitiveness Council. Ministers from all 28 Member States in the EU will meet to discuss the European economy particularly focusing on the Digital economy and plans for a Digital Single Market. Vicky has been invited to address the ministers and represents the Internal Market and Consumer Protection committee which she chairs.

On Friday, she will meet members of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce in Lavenham.

Mrs Ford will then be in the UK until Monday 13th April.


16 MAR 2015

Week Ahead Monday 16th March 2015

The European Parliament will meet in Brussels this week for committee meetings.

This week Vicky will chair meetings of the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee which will discuss copyright, the EU US trade agreement, interoperability and the European Fund for Strategic Investment. Regarding the latter, she has concerns about moving money from basic science and early stage research under the Horizon 2020 fund into this new investment fund. 28 of Europe's Nobel Prize winners, 10 of whom are East of England scientists, wrote to MEPs urging them to stop the Commission's proposal. Vicky has been working with MEPs from across Europe to propose amendments to change the proposal. Read more here:

She will also attend meetings to discuss the Telecomms Single Market proposal on roaming charges, open internet and consumer transparency on mobile phone bills on which she leads on behalf of the ECR group.

On Friday, she will join a panel discussion in Cambridge, organised by TechUK, on the EU's Data Protection Regulation and how this may impact emerging tech connectivity.


09 MAR 2015

Week Ahead Media Briefing 9th March 2015

Week Ahead Media Briefing Monday 9th March 2015

The European Parliament will meet in Strasbourg this week for votes

Vicky will meet with colleagues regarding the proposed European Fund for Strategic Investment. She will raise her concerns about moving money from the Horizon2020 fund for science and research into this new fund. 28 of Europe's Nobel Prize winners, 10 of whom are East of England scientists, wrote to MEPs urging them to stop the Commission's proposal. Vicky has been working with MEPs from across Europe to propose amendments to change the proposal. Read more here

During the week Vicky will attend negotiation meetings with MEPs on the following legislative proposals

  • REFIT proposal to reduce EU red tape,
  • the Connected Continent Package which aims to reduce roaming charges, open internet, and consumer transparency on their mobile phone bills
  • Personal Protective Equipment which covers life jackets and chain-saw guards but in Vicky's opinion, should not cover items such as oven gloves

She will also attend the STOA Panel meeting which provides MEPs with science-based policy analysis to help them to make better decisions when making new laws.

On Friday she will be in London on the Daily Politics Show.


29 MAY 2013


04 APR 2011

Week of 28th March 2011

Every few months a group of Conservative MEPs meet over dinner in the European Parliament to hear from business leaders. This week my guest and sponsor was Richard Moat joint CEO of "Everything Everywhere", the new company formed by the merger of T-mobile and Orange.

I first met Richard back in 1995 when, as a banker, I helped raise £1.2 billion to finance the build out of Orange's first mobile phone network. We all hear complaints about how hard it is to get banks to lend today but Richard told us that it is a struggle to raise the same amount of money today as we raised back then. This is a very alarming statement - yes we do need stronger banking rules so that they can't go back to the credit bubble of 2007 but to have turned back the clock by 16 years must be too far.

In coming months the UK will hold its next auction of radio spectrum for mobile telecommunications. This is a one off opportunity to improve mobile and broadband communications especially for rural areas. In many parts of East Anglia you can't get a signal for a phone call let alone link to Facebook. I would like to see an obligation to "light up" rural areas as part of the new licenses. But if the companies can't raise money for their infrastructure then this may be a pipe dream.

Cash for Amendments Scandal

Readers of the Sunday Times will have followed the stories of MEPs being paid to submit amendments to EU laws. I'm glad that these MEPs have been sacked by their groups and are going to face criminal investigations in their own countries. I have never been offered money for an amendment nor would I accept it. I do consult companies, consumer groups, charities and others. I list all those "lobbyists" that I have met. I have submitted many amendments.

This week I tabled a number of suggested amendments to the new rules for "Deposit Guarantees". Those who remember the Northern Rock crisis will also remember the flood of cash that went from UK bank accounts to Irish ones when Ireland announced it would guarantee unlimited deposits. There does need to be cross border agreement on the level of amount guaranteed but my amendments suggesting that each different country should be allowed to choose how it will fund the payout. The proposal from Brussels is that a penny in every pound in a bank account is set aside in a slush fund just in case a bank fails - I'm not convinced that the UK economy can afford the side affect this "pre-funded" arrangement could have on lending capacity of banks. In the UK for example our banks are forced to contribute only if, or when, the money is needed. This should be a national decision not a Brussels one.

Putting an amendment on the table does not mean that it will come into law. First it needs to get majority support from MEPs across the parliament. Then it also needs to be accepted by a majority of the 27 national governments in the EU.

Offshore Oil Safety

This week I also hosted a 3 hour open meeting to hear from experts on the Safety of Offshore Oil. Given the importance of this to the UK I have volunteered to lead the Parliament's report into this. We heard from industry players. Given the European Commission's concern started during last year's Gulf of Mexico incident I thought it was only appropriate that BP were asked to start the debate. We then heard from ENI of Italy regarding the Med - and especially interesting their North Africa experiences including in Libya, Statoil of Norway also spoke about the North Sea safety regime - which is in a totally different league to that which had existed in the USA. We heard from regulators including the UK. We learnt about the disaster response capacity that a European funded Agency has to help countries cope with spills from Oil tankers - including a fleet of clean up vessels and advanced satellite monitoring. I also invited environmental campaigners to tell us their views. It is clear that if a Gulf of Mexico type incident happened in a closed sea, like the Med, the impact would be much more severe.

We do need to continue to access our own oil resources but preventing a disaster from happening is a top priority. There seems to be consensus that the North Sea regulatory regime which looks at the risks involved in each individual well is a "gold standard" that other Seas should adopt. As an oil spill would obviously not respect territorial sea borders before washing with the tide, there is interest in working with coastal neighbours to ensure high standards are respected. I think the idea of an EU super regulator is waning (fortunately) but networks of peer reviews should help raise standards. I was invited to attend a meeting of the North Sea Offshore Authorities Forum where regulators from North Sea were joined by those from Italy, Cyprus, Spain and France (interesting as not a lot of offshore oil in France). They were having a healthy discussion on the challenges of extending the lives of older Oil platforms. I was pleased to hear that the Med is now going to start their own Authorities Forum, helped by the experiences of the North Sea and perhaps some North African countries will eventually join in.

There is also consensus that there needs to be much better equipment available to stop any leak as quickly as possible. The UK operators have already ordered a capping device which will be available for the North Sea and there may be room to use the European Agency to help pool clean up resources. We are also discussing ways to try to ensure that information regarding disasters or potential "near misses" is shared much more quickly across the globe - like, for example in the airline industry, so that there is the ability to learn about technical problems.


07 MAR 2011

Week of 28th February 2011

Review of the week

This is a slightly overdue weekly review as we have been working over the weekend to finish the report that I am writing for the European Parliament on Offshore Oil Safety.

Last week I visited an Oil Rig and Platform about 250 miles off the Coast of Aberdeen, before the trip I had to pass the training course known as the "rinse and spin". This involves being spun upside down underwater in a mock up helicopter - release the seatbelt straps, punch out the windows and swim to safety.

Let me explain why I did this. Post the Gulf of Mexico disaster the European Commission has announced that it intends to propose new legislation for offshore oil. The Commission launched a "consultation". Typically during such a consultation, one MEP will draft a report on the issue, others will vote propose amendments and the Parliament will vote on a series of recommendations. This can mean that MEPs can influence the Commission before the new law is drafted. Given that 2/3 of the EU Offshore Oil is in UK North Sea waters my group thought it was important this was steered by a UK MEP, the group "bid" for the report and then asked me to write it.

Since January I have been meeting many experts from industry and regulators as well as reading as much as possible about the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, what went wrong and what processes and procedures there are in other countries to prevent a similar disaster - but no amount of reading is as useful as actually visiting a site.

The North Sea, including mostly UK and Norway, is considered to have an extremely good safety regime - partly because of the UK's own tragedy at Piper Alpha twenty years ago. There is a concern that if the EU introduces poor legislation this could undermine the UK system, on the other hand sharing experiences especially with countries where offshore drilling is relatively new can be helpful.

As the price of Oil is rapidly rising due to political uncertainties we need to make sure our European supply is collected - but safely. In the report I make various recommendations.

To avoid the "tick box" culture that had prevailed in the USA and instead move to a UK style site-specific approach. Whilst actually one is safer on a North Sea Oil rig than a farm, there needs to be faster, more transparent sharing of information regarding "near incidents" - for example more like the aircraft industry. North Sea operators are investing in containment equipment like the "cap" which eventually closed the Deep Water Horizon well. Given the offshore activity that is happening in the Mediteranean in areas like the coasts of Libya and Egypt it would be useful to have similar equipment on hand in the Med, experts have suggested in Malta.I don't want to have an EU super-regulator but there is a useful role for the European maritime safety agency to know what clean up equipment is available where and help co-ordinate if there is an incident.

The report is now submitted and MEPs will now be able to submit their own ideas through amendments.

Economic Governance

We have now received over 1600 amendments to the Economic Governance package which I have been working on since last Summer. I met the cross party group of MEPs leading on this last week to discuss. Some call for more powers to National governments, others to send more powers to Brussels. Some call for tighter controls on National debts - others would like countries to be able to continue to have higher debts for "investments". There may be some feisty arguments brewing for the weeks ahead. On Friday I spoke at a press briefing in London alongside two other MEPs (Sharon Bowles, Lib Dem, and Arlene MaCarthy Lab). I was impressed by how many people attended - I hope we helped to shed some light on these issues.

Ladies Car Insurance

The European Courts of Justice ruling last week that prevents insurance companies pricing different offers for women is a truly bad precedent. Not only will it push car insurance premiums up but it will push everyone's pensions costs up when it comes to buying annuities. I was asked by a group of Cambridge University Students to join a debate on Women in Politics - and we had a useful discussion on the pros and cons of equalities legislation. MEPs have no say over ECJ rulings but I am raising this with colleagues this week in Strasbourg to see if there is anything one might be able to do.


11 FEB 2011

Week of 7th February 2011

On Environment, Pigs, Bank Accounts and Economics

This week saw a high footfall of visitors to the European Parliament - a large crowd gathered to see Prince Charles, lots of people turned up to support pig welfare, but the bankers came unaccompanied.

Many more MEPs turned up to listen to the Prince of Wales than would turn up to listen to the Presidents of the European Commission, European Parliament or the European Council. Indeed all 3 presidents turned up for the Prince. In my notes on the Prince's speech I have written that HRH argued that for a sustainable economic system you need a sustainable eco system -for long term economic growth one needs long term environmental sustainability. I'm glad I wrote this down as a fellow MEP, who had not been present told me later that the Prince had said we should stop economic growth altogether.

In another meeting room down the hall there was a well attended screening of the film "Pig Business" (www.pigbusiness.co.uk) which shows some horrific footage of pig factory farms in Poland and the environmental damage that is associated them. My email box has been full of notes from residents of the East of England asking me to attend – so I joined the following debate, having seen the film on an earlier occasion.

"This is a particularly important issue in East Anglia because so many of England's pigs are in this part of the country. A few years ago the UK imposed higher welfare standards than across the EU which the caused many British farmers to find they could not compete against imports and they stopped production altogether. The EU is now looking at pig welfare, I would like to see the playing field moved upwards to UK standards - as well as clearer labelling to give consumers choice. I have been a long supporter of Country of Origin food labelling. This went through the European Parliament by a narrow majority last year - it will happen but will take time."

I met the consumer rights group Which?, who wanted to talk about

whether your money is safe in a bank. As you remember after the Northern Rock crisis there was a flight of money from the UK to Ireland when the Irish government said they would guarantee all the cash in personal bank accounts. This race for which government would guarantee the most, clearly distorted free competition, jeopardising otherwise healthy banks. As a result there is now an agreement that there should be a standard guarantee of €100,000 (about £80,000) across the EU. In each countries' banks should set aside money to fund this, rather than taxpayers. We are now negotiating the finer details. "Which?" asked what happens to the person who has just received the insurance money because their house was burnt down - we need to make sure that one off extraordinary bank balances are still covered.

"When asked by "Which?" what happens if you have some money in for example HSBC and other money in First Direct - a brand of the same bank. I'm afraid I did not agree with their suggestion that the two bank accounts should be covered separately. I don't want to see life savings wiped out but if you are in the lucky position to hold more than £80,000 in bank accounts you need to be able to take responsibility for checking who guarantees it - better consumer labelling may be helpful here too."

A delegation from Norway also came to talk to me about the deposit guarantees - Norway is not part of the EU - they have no vote and no say - but their trade agreement with the EU obliges them to apply all EU rules. They are extremely concerned how new rules on bank deposits could affect their own domestic banking system.

During the week I joined a group of 6 British MEPs from 3 major parties and a German MEP in a meeting with a senior management team from Barclays bank. I also attended a dinner with leaders of insurance companies, pension funds and banks. There is a plethora of legislation on financial services and economic matters working its way through European legislation- some of which is as a result of global discussions following G20 agreements. Senior management from other banks from Germany and the US amongst others have been regular visitors to Brussels, UK banks less so.

"A balance still needs to be achieved between requiring banks to put aside money to prevent further collapses versus lending money to the wider economy, helping save for pensions etc - as well as achieving a global level playing field. I still believe that there is much more that the financial services industry could do to help ensure that a correct balance between safer finances and funding growth is achieved."


02 FEB 2011

Week of 24th January 2011

Issues last week included Lotus Cars, Pensions, Oil Drilling, Economic Governance, responsible lending, precious metals, bank restructuring,

Lotus
I met representatives from Lotus Cars who were in Brussels to meet with the European Commission to explain their new business plan. Lotus are intending to move into the "super car" market. EU legislation on CO2 emissions will to set targets for each manufacturer. This was agreed a couple of years ago before I became an MEP but in the following months the actual targets will be set.

"Lotus is a Norfolk based company. This was a very helpful update. It is important that we focus on how legislation affects local companies when rules are implemented as well as during the initial negotiations"

Pensions
My amendment calling for a review of the EU's own pension scheme was passed - at least at the committee stage.

Pension costs are a large and growing element of the EU budget so I have been calling for a review of the pensions policy of EU institutions. The EU pension scheme has a retirement age of 63 and was last reviewed in 2004. Given that in many EU countries people are being asked to work longer I think it is only right that the EU should take a fresh look at its own policies. Last Autumn my Group didn't get support from the rest of the Parliament on this in a similar vote - but this week in the Economic Affairs Committee we (just) got a majority. This will now go to another vote of the employment committee and then hopefully full parliament in upcoming weeks.

Raw Materials and Recycling
I went to a "hearing" in the Parliament on raw materials - these events often bring in experts from industry and others. We learnt about the importance and value of including precious metals in recycling - especially as these become rarer. For example one tonne of ore in a gold mine will on average produce just 5g of gold - but a tonne of mobile phones contains around 300 -350g. Yet less than 2 percent of mobile phones are recycled. The phrase "urban mine" was a new one to me but one I expect to hear more of.

Banks and Finance
I had a series of meetings regarding banks and finance, including listening to Danish bank, Nykredit, telling MEPs about their unique system for financing mortgages which gives the house buyer direct access to market prices. I also joined a group of German, French and Austrian MEPs on a trip to London meeting MPs, members of the house of Lords, the Treasury and the Bank of England. The MEPs were given clear messages about needing to work on better thought through regulation not just at a European level but globally too - as well as the importance of getting lending working for the wider economy.

Economic Governance
As one of the 6 MEPs working on the "Economic Governance" package I took part in the debate on these reports. Other MEPs have called for countries to have to have their economic budgets audited by the European Court of Auditors - and for them to have to pre agree economic forecasts with the European Commission. Whilst it is perfectly reasonable to expect countries to provide clear transparent information and listen to concerns of their neighbours, in my view national budgets are a national decision.

Finally - Sharon Bowles MEP, chairman of the Economic Affairs committee kindly let me sit in on a meeting with Jamie Dimon, head of JP Morgan. He had come from Washington via Brussels enroute to the World Economic Forum in Davos. At the European Commission he had been given the red carpet treatment but on arrival at the European Parliament there was such a huge queue for visitors he couldn't get through security - so we had the meeting very publicly in the entrance lobby! We discussed issues from bank capital to derivatives to market transparency to the global economy. Now that's not being lobbied behind closed doors.

Ends

For further information contact Vicky Ford on 07771 812976


22 JAN 2011

Week of 17th January 2011

Feedback from Vicky Ford, Conservative MEP for the East of England - for .

This week the European Parliament moved to Strasbourg for its monthly Plenary session. This is the time when the Parliament meets as a whole to debate and vote on proposals that have been submitted from the Parliaments numerous committees.

For many years UK Conservative MEPS have voiced their discontent with the "two seat" parliament pointing to the waste of time and tax-payers money. The UK Coalition government is also opposed to this. However resolving the situation does not lie in the hands of the European Parliament but requires a unanimous agreement across National Parliaments in all 27 EU Countries.

The following is a brief summary of some of Vicky Ford´s activities and meetings this week. Please do ask for further details on any subject that may be of interest. Contact: office@vickyford.org or 01954 211722.

The main piece of new legislation voted on this week was a directive on cross border healthcare. From 2013 this will allow UK patients the option of seeking treatment for planned procedures (such as planned operations) in other EU countries, provided they have the prior approval of the NHS to meet the costs (usually from their home GP and specialist. It will also mean that the NHS will not need to treat patients from other EU countries for such planned treatments unless there is prior agreement from the patients home health service to repay the NHS. Unplanned treatments for patients when travelling within the EU will remain as current - i.e. the home country of the patient will needs pay the country of treatment for the costs.

"I hope that this new directive will clarify the position both for patients and for medical professionals, give patients more choice and protect NHS budgets."

In the Parliament´s question time hour Vicky quizzed the President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barosso, regarding cutting red tape on EU funding for Research and Development. Vicky reminded President Barosso that research and innovation is critical to maintaining a competitive economy and that for the first time a university in Europe topped the global league tables for Scientific Research - Cambridge University. She said that European funding for research also supported research in many less well known universities as well as businesses large and small. However she is concerned that plans to unlock bureaucracy may be stalled.

"The EU budget for Research is huge - over E50 billion for the 2007-2013 period. This is a very significant source of funds for UK universities and innovative businesses. It is one of the areas where the UK gets back as much cash from the EU budget as we put into it. I have seen some cutting edge research in the East of England funded from this pot of money. However, it also has a reputation for being the most bureaucratic funding system on the planet. Last Autumn after long conversations with science and industry, the Parliament voted almost unanimously on a wide range of practical suggestions to speed up the grants process and simplify the system. Whilst the Commission President voiced his support for simplification I am concerned that very little may actually be happening"

In a debate on EU competition policy Vicky Ford raised the issue of hikes in domestic heating oil prices.

"The European Commission has massive power to investigate and take actions, including levying fines, if they believe that companies are price fixing or acting in an anti-competitive manner across EU national borders. This year the Commission will be looking at the Energy market. However they tend to focus on just Electricity and Gas Prices. In the East of England nearly a quarter of households do not have access to mains gas and the vast majority of these rural homes rely on domestic heating oil. Between November and December´s cold period residents experienced price rises in some cases over 50%. I know that suppliers worked incredibly hard to try to meet the very high demand in treacherous conditions however various MPs in the UK have called for an Office of Fair Trading investigation to check whether there are cartels operating to fix prices. It is right that if this is purely a UK National issue then it should be investigated by the UK regulator but there have also been price hikes in other countries including Ireland. I wanted to ensure that the Competition Commissioner is aware of the issue. In their review of Energy markets they must recognise that different countries have different energy supply systems and they should not forget rural areas."

Vicky met with ENI, an Italian Oil company and spoke to Statoil a Norwegian Oil company regarding Safety of Deep Sea Offshore Oil Drilling.

"After the Deep-Water Horizon accident in the Gulf of Mexico Italy immediately put a moratorium on all offshore drilling, but is now considering lifting this. The UK did not impose a moratorium but has taken numerous actions including increasing safety inspections. I have been reading about the UK´s own rigorous safety procedures and the recommendations from both the UK Parliament investigation and US investigation. It is important that lessons are learnt and best practices are upheld."

Vicky has had various meetings with outside experts and other MEPs regarding Economic Governance. She is the Parliament´s Rapporteur on a new directive on fiscal frameworks that discusses how countries set national budgets.

"this Directive will NOT give Brussels bureaucrats the ability to reject British budgets. It calls for national governments to have at least a 3 year forecasting horizon when looking at tax and spending policy. The UK already does this. Some in the Eurozone wish to give more centralised powers to Brussels following the Eurozone crisis, this should not be automatically applied to those countries who have chosen to stay out the Euro. The UK government has agreed to take part in a new annual "European Semester" when national governments can discuss and comment on each others budget forecasts - I believe it would be more transparent if the EU´s own budget was also discussed at the same time".

Pensions Vicky took part in a debate on pensions in the Committee of Economic and Monetary Affairs. The European Commission has recently launched a consultation on pensions and the Committee will vote on a series of recommendations from the Parliament next week. Vicky has submitted an amendment requesting a review into the pension schemes of EU institutions. The issue of an ageing population and how to fund an ever growing pensions gap is faced by many countries across Europe.

"I was glad to hear many MEPs saying that pensions policies should remain with National Governments not with European Institutions. However there could be improvements by sharing best practice on for example information that is provided to savers on their pensions options. In addition more could be done to make sure that pension savings from one country can be moved to others.


16 JAN 2011

Week of 10th January 2011

In the interests of transparency and attempt to de-mystify European Affairs, Vicky Ford, MEP for the East of England is starting 2011 with a new year's resolution to send local and regional press organisations a very short weekly debrief on some of the meetings or discussions she has been party to during each week.

This was the first week back in the European Parliament and a number of issues were raised. This press release is intended to be a summary for journalists - If you are interested in following up on any of these please contact her office staff in the UK +44 (0)1954 211 722 or Brussels +32 (0)2 28 47672.

- Vicky has been tasked by the Parliament's Industry Research and Energy Committee to draft a parliamentary report on the safety of deep-sea offshore oil and gas drilling. Vicky is looking to prepare a first draft of her report by March to influence the Commission's thinking on any new potential legislation at an EU level.

"Offshore oil and gas in the North Sea is extremely important to the UK. We have more experience in this area than all other EU countries so it is a huge honour as well as a responsibility to be given this role. Anyone who has filled their car at the pumps this month, let alone those of us who rely on domestic oil for heating, is more than aware of the personal impact of rising fuel prices. However, post the Gulf of Mexico "Deepwater" disaster there are serious questions that deserve an answer. I will be consulting the industry, national regulators and environmentalists in the weeks ahead. I hope the report will allow MEPs from all countries to come to an informed and well-considered view."

- Meeting with many representatives of European and International banks regarding new global rules on bank capital and liquidity. During recent months Vicky has been one of 5 MEPs from different parties and countries looking at how these rules can be introduced in the UK and Europe in a co-ordinated manner. Vicky is a former banker and was invited as a key note speaker alongside representatives from the British Banking Association and the European Commission.

"As we saw in Ireland the banking crisis in Europe is still not resolved, there needs to be stronger, more stable banks. Taxpayers should never have to bail out banks. The UK has already ensured that all our banks are well capitalised but new rules need to be brought into place across the globe. Whilst we need strong banks we also need banks that are able to lend to fuel the economy. Globally all countries have signed off on high-level agreement but the devil is in the detail - it is right that certain countries try to ensure that good local practices are not disadvantaged (like the UK Building society model) - but MEPS must not try to protect not poor local practices - especially given the Eurozone crisis. These meeting involved issues from domestic lending and mortgages, to trade finance (important when exporting to emerging countries). I have had subsequent follow up meetings this week with asset managers on to the unintended (but potentially very costly) impact on insurance rates and pension fund returns of other new rules on financial services, especially hedging."

-meeting with ESure - owner of "Sheila's Wheels" an insurance company aimed exclusively at women. The European Court of Justice is currently deliberating whether it discriminatory for insurance companies to offer cheaper rates to women drivers than male drivers.

"The European Court is a totally separate body from the European Parliament but I am worried by what precedent could be set. As a mother of two boys it is of course alarming to hear that young male drivers still have far higher accident rates than their female counterparts - but facts show this is the truth. That is why women are offered cheaper car insurance. Where could this end? - should everyone have to pay the same household insurance, even if living in lower crime areas? – what's the incentive then to have a watch-thy- neighbour approach to crime prevention?- this does open a Pandora's box.

- meeting with Struan Stevenson MEP, vice chairman of the Fisheries Committee of the European Parliament regarding fish discards.

"This week UK TV viewers have been able to see an excellent and informative program by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingtstall that demonstrated the outrageous effect that of EU Fishery Policy leading to a million of tons of healthy fish being caught but then dumped overboard. We have been fighting this for many years but are seeing hopeful progress for reform.

- meeting with Chief Executive of Ofcom Ed Richard regarding broadband access and other issues.

"It was extremely helpful to quiz Ofcom on many issues - especially on broadband roll-out where he believes that the UK is set to be well ahead of other countries in just a few years. However, I had a lot of questions regarding the issue of rural broadband."

- meeting with other MEPs regarding Pensions. Vicky is one of 5 MEPs looking at a parliament report on pension policy. MEPs have submitted amendments;

"The issue of how to fund our lives as we all live longer is a common issue across Europe and I have nothing against sharing best practices - but all countries are different and should not be forced to be the same. Fortunately many other MEPs from other countries seem to agree on this. Public sector pensions are a huge issue in many European Countries including the UK and I have submitted a suggestion that the EU institutions (including the European Commission) should review its own pensions scheme that they themselves are following best practice - it could be controversial but in my view is only right.

- various meetings regarding the Eurozone situation and "economic governance". Vicky is one of 6 MEPs leading the Parliament's review of new proposals regarding national government's budgetary planning and excessive deficits.

"This is a huge work stream which I have been involved in since last summer - as we have learnt in the UK ballooning of government debt carries an extremely painful price for all - but this is multiplied in many parts of the Eurozone during this crisis. In the UK the

Government prepares 3 or even 5 year forecasts before setting taxes and deciding spending - and we still got into difficulties. Many other countries don't do this even though they have continually promised to do so. My report does not give EU officials the right to

set UK budgets but does suggest that best practice in setting national budgets should be followed. It also suggests that the EU's own budget should be equally scrutinised. Other parts of the Economic Governance package refer to specific actions to be taken within the Eurozone following the crisis, such as applying fines and other sanctions to countries that breach financial rules. These fines will not apply to the UK.

- Bankers' bonuses - Last year Vicky was one of the leading MEPs setting new rules on bankers' bonuses. The Coalition government has chosen the toughest line to take within the framework of the European rules. These are now amongst the strictest bonus rules across the globe. At least 40% of bonuses for senior risk takers must be deferred and no more than 50% can be paid in cash.



My Political Priorities

Economic Stability must come first. Without a strong economy we can not deliver a strong society. I work with businesses and consumers to keep Britain open for business, cutting red tape, boosting trade opportunities and helping to deliver jobs and growth for all.

I support Science and Research which is key to delivering better medical care, healthy food as well as the Innovation and Creative Industries which bring improved lifestyles for all our families.

Strong home Security is vital in today's uncertain world, which requires robust policing and defence and deep international relationships that we can depend on. I work with others to achieve this.

I care about the Countryside and the Environment and making sure that rural and urban communities flourish.