Jude's Strasbourg update

12 February 2015

End of the parliamentary week in Strasbourg: here's the update!

After an active weekend on the #LabourDoorstep getting up to fly to Strasbourg on Monday was not the easiest, but leaving home at 7.30 GMT I got here for the start of business at 17.00 CET... Frustrating but good to have time to fully catch up with Paul Brannen MEP! We are actively pushing for a #SingleSeat for the European Parliament
As Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament 'shadow Rapporteur' on the plurilateral negotiations on trade in services or #TiSA, I had discussions with other MEPs leading their groups, plus a good chat with the UK's lead trade negotiator about #TTIP
Tuesday started in the swimming pool (see NY Resolutions!), before speaking in a key debate on the conflict engulfing the #ILO: read more here -http://www.labour4ne.org.uk/europe_must_help_strike_a_deal_on_collective...
Theresa Griffin MEP Clare Moody MEP & I met with other Socialist MEPs in the EP's industry, research and energy committee (ITRE)... there was lots of focus on the development of EU research funding - key for our universities and industries as UK is a net recipient!
After dinner, we had a group discussion with Socialist President Gianni Pittella... I raised the importance of guaranteeing labour rights in EU trade agreements. Back we went to the ITRE committee to have a discussion with Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete on the upcoming proposal to ensure 10% interconnection between our electricity grids by 2020 - here the North East has a key interest as the new interconnector with Norway will hit land in East Sleekburn nr Blyth. Energy was the theme for the evening as Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič addressed the S&D group meeting on the wider plans for #EnergyUnion. I reiterate at every opportunity the importance of a skills and jobs strategy alongside our energy transition! Crucial stuff! 
Thankfully, I didn't dream about energy grids, but I did start Wednesday where I ended Tuesday on the social dimension of the Energy Union at a breakfast meeting with other MEPs... here's what I presented there:http://t.co/913jpdpm7q From energy it was back to trade policy with a bilateral meeting with Commissioner Cecilia Malmström on lots of trade questions raised by constituents! The Commission will present their plans on#ISDS in April and we will be watching closely! That was the message the EP monitoring group on the #TTIP negotiations that afternoon - and into our S&D working group on trade policy, which is chaired by Labour MEP David Martin. We are pushing for a proper parliamentary debate on #ISDS in the coming weeks. Important votes on Wednesday to ensure better food labelling (UKIP voted against)...
We discussed the ongoing attempt to ensure that companies undertake proper due diligence on #ConflictMinerals... this is coming up in committee next month! We voted this morning on urgent human rights questions including a call on the Saudi authorities to immediately#FreeRaifBadawi Amnesty International.
I did a radio interview about our concerns over our EU #youthemployment money... listen out for it - here's more info: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hAj3I3eYRxs

With EP business rapped up for a week - I watched Clare Moody filming BBC Daily Politics & Sunday Politics from Strasbourg... tomorrow is the start of a week of constituency activities! 

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