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.
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 and improved lifestyles for all our families.
Strong 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.