Jude's latest update

19 December 2014

Last plenary before Christmas but little time for slowing down: here's your latest update!

Strasbourg is a beautiful city & its Christmas Market is considered one of the best in Europe - so Ben & I thought we would spend the weekend exploring it! It was refreshing to visit the place as a tourist before heading into the European Parliament on Monday... a beautiful city doesn't justify the cost of us having 2 seats. I hope we will see this rectified in the near future - so I'm campaigning for a Single Seat.

Once into the week - there were strategic discussions in the Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament & in working groups... preparing for 2015.

On Tuesday, there was much focus on tax avoidance and evasion (http://www.eurolabour.org.uk/commission-action-tax-avoidance ) - on which @EuroLabour are leading. I spoke in the debate on the finalisation of trade talks with Ecuador (see here: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/…/…/search-by-speaker/results… ) - it was the first 'late debate' I've spoken in & it's not a great experience!

After a short night, I was up early on Wednesday for a breakfast briefing with Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič on the EU energy policy. I asked him how the Commission were joining up energy & industrial policies, & how the general public & social partners will be involved in plans set to be unveiled in January. We've got a follow-up chat about it. What do you think? I followed on the same theme in speaking in plenary on the future of the steel sector - proud to talk about Teesside's plans: http://www.labour4ne.org.uk/calls_to_support_steel_industry … & https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=utvvEW8CQzM   

By far the key event of the day was the EP's vote to recognise the Palestinian State - by a large majority. All efforts have to be made to keep the peace process alive and to deliver a just peace agreement... the EU must move from 'payer to player'! See more: http://www.eurolabour.org.uk/eu-un-palestine-statehood

We awarded the EP's annual film prize - the 'LuxPrize' to Ida (a Polish film)... well worth a watch. The day ended with the EuroLabour Xmas Party - much singing and even some dancing 

Yesterday I was up and out to talk about Europe-Latin American relations in my capacity as member of the Euro-Lat parliamentary delegation. I'm hoping that we will have a joint discussion about CSR and social rights in each continent. Will be very interesting... I'm meeting the NECC to get their views in February.

It's ‪#‎DecentJobsWeek‬ - here's my piece on tackling zero-hours contracts: http://touchstoneblog.org.uk/…/precarious-recovery-restori…/  

After the final votes of 2014, it was time to wish everyone a happy Christmas and a great New Year & head off for a couple of weeks welcome rest and merriment.

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