JEAN LAMBERT NEWSLETTER: March 2007

London and UK

Brussels and Beyond

Comment on Current Affairs

Dates for the Diary

Previous Newsletters

 

Jean with Enfield activists

London and UK

Hothouses report - on climate change and housing

Jean's new report, 'Hothouses: Climate change and London's housing' was launched at the end of January. As part of a series of launch events, Jean visited 11 London Boroughs, highlighting particular issues for each Borough, as addressed by the report. The report, which makes 27 recommendations for change, focuses on the need to improve Government schemes and standards, so more people can get their homes insulated and adopt other energy saving measures. It also highlights the particular challenges arising from London's housing stock. Around 37% of London's emissions coming from the domestic sector, nearly one million London homes still need cavity wall insulation, and many Londoners live in older, harder to insulate, homes. Hothouses is available here, and also in a lower resolution b/w version. Free hard copies are available on request from Jean's London office.

 

Homelessness

Jean visited the Crisis centre near Liverpool Street and is supporting the Crisis campaign, 'Weapons of Mass Instruction' which seeks to tackle homelessness through education and skills. She also visited Westminster based homeless project, The Passage. Jean is working with homelessness organisations on how to meet the challenges thrown up by greater movement of EU nationals, some of whom are in need of particular support in London.

 

Workers rights. Jean supported the rail cleaner's lobby of City Hall, calling for a living wage and decent terms and conditions. 

 

Fairtrade. To mark the beginning of Fairtrade Fortnight, Jean called for everyday to be a fairtrade day, and urged Londoners to make fairtrade become the norm rather than the exception. She attended the Fairtrade Fortnight London launch event'.

 

Education and Equality

Jean has joined with a range of unions and other organisations in a call to protect funding for English language teaching (ESOL), which is currently under threat from Government plans to scrap funding. The success of British Bangladeshi Students was celebrated at Kensington Town Hall with an 'Academic Achievement Awards 2006' event. Jean was a guest of honour, and used the occasion to pay tribute to success in the face of discrimation or disadvantage.

 

Trident. Jean went to the Faslane base in Scotland as part of the elected representatives blockade on 8 January, to protest against Trident. Jean was one of around 30 elected representatives present. Jean also attended the large London demonstration in opposition to Trident.

Cambridge Union debate on global security. Jean joined Craig Murray and Bianca Jagger to debate Malcolm Rifkind and Ken Clarke's proposition that "This house believes that the terrorist threat and other threats to global security can justify military intervention".

 

Sustainability. Jean spoke at a major conference at Essex University on 'congestion and carbon trading'. She shared a platform with experts and the local MP, and focused on questions of how to fund sustainability.

 

Recyling. In Croydon Jean met local Green activist, Shasha Khan, to support the Green campaign to improve recycling in the borough.

Jean visited Lewisham and Bromley to help launch Green Parliamentary candidates, using the message 'put Greens in Parliament'.

Age. Jean attended the Capital Age Winter Festival at City Hall, and also participated in an event held by the Policy Research Institute on Ageing and Ethnicity (PRIAE) at the House of Lords.

 

Human Rights. Jean met with Peace Brigades International and human rights advocates from West Papua, to focus on human rights and justice issues, and give her support. She also met with activists from Iraqi Kurdistan, to discuss womens rights problems in the new Iraq. Jean's representative in London met with Colombian Solidarity Campaign and Colombian activists to discuss ways Jean and the Green Group in the European Parliament could support struggles for justice and land rights.

Kurdish issues. Jean spoke at the AGM of Halkevi, the Kurdish and Turkish Community Centre, based in Stoke Newington, Hackney. Jean continues to work at EU-level for the protection of Kurdish rights.

Holocaust Memorial Day. To mark this day, Jean spoke at a conference in Brighton, 'Never Again!'. Jean spoke in the closing plenary session.

Animal Experiments. Jean is supporting the campaign of the Dr Hadwen Trust and a number of other organisations to end animal experiments across the EU. She has signed their petition and is publicising the campaign on her website.

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Constituents' concerns

Bullfighting. Jean's office has been flooded with constituents letters opposing bullfighting. A written declaration is currently before the Parliament, and London campaigners are keen to secure signatures for it. Jean was one of the first MEPs to sign it.

Chemicals - Reach update. Towards the end of 2006 Jean received a huge numbers of letters and postcards from constituents on Reach, particularly opposing the use of animal experiments in the proposals. Following the rejection of a number of Green amendments, the Greens voted against the proposals (which were adopted).

Conflict diamonds. The EU, represented by the Commission, currently has the chair of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, which is designed to eradicate the global trade in conflict diamonds. Jean has joined the calls of Amnesty International and its supporters in London for the Commission to use this opportunity for greater action to end conflict diamond trading. Jean is supporting the written declaration currently before the Parliament.

 

Mugabe sanctions. Another issue of particular concern to constituents is the call for continuing EU sanctions against Robert Mugabe's regime in Zimbabwe, which is being reviewed. The Green Group have pressed for the need for sanctions to continue.

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Brussels and Beyond

Brussels:

 

ERAD

Jean hosted the launch of the European Refugee Advocacy Organisation. ERAD brings together refugee community organisations from across Europe. Through advocacy work, ERAD aims to secure the rights of refugees and asylum seekers.

Jean with ERAD at launch event

Speakers at the event included ERAD representatives, the ECRE General Secretary and the European Commission Head of Asylum Policy. We were also treated to a poetry recital and music from an Armenian folk group.

 

Environment Agency - Flooding in Europe

Jean co-hosted this meeting with several other UK MEPs. It aimed to highlight future flood risks and to clarify the proposed Directive on assessment and management of floods.

 

Launch of Cervical Cancer Prevention Week

On 23 January, the EP Cervical Cancer Interest Group (CCIG) officially launched the first annual European Cervical Cancer Prevention Week. At the launch, Jean - a member of this group - signed the ‘STOP Cervical Cancer in Europe Manifesto’.

 

Northern Iraq Civil Society - Chair

Jean chaired this evening Hearing at which Dutch-German conflict researcher Andrea Eleonore Vermeer gave her view on strengthening civil society in Iraq.

 

Anti Discrimination

2007 is the EU Year of Equal Opportunities. Jean is Vice-President of several anti-discrimination inter-groups and participated in their joint meeting to mark the start of this year. Jean also attended the LGBT Gala - a celebration of accomplishments at EU level.

 

Birkbeck visit

A group of mature students from Birkbeck College London came to the Parliament as part of a Masters degree programme in Environmental Management. Jean facilitated the visit which included an hour in a Hearing on foreign energy policy and a question and answer session with Jean. Here the students were able to clarify their understanding of the EU institutions and environment policy.

 

Forum for the Future placement

For the month of January, Jean's Brussels office welcomed Charlotte Steel as part of her Masters in Leadership for Sustainable Development with Forum for the Future. Charlotte quickly got to grips with parliamentary life and produced a comprehensive briefing on the Commission climate change strategy'.

 

Civil Service Attachment scheme

Jean also hosted a two day visit from Rosalind Lester, from the EU division of the Department of Education and Skills. These attachments aim to further educate the civil service about Europe and the EU institutions.

 

Committees

Two key dossiers running through Jean's Committees are the Returns report in the Civil Liberties Committee and the Social Services of General Interest Report in Employment Committee.

Returns

The proposed Returns Directive deals with issues around how we return those deemed to be residing illegally in a Member State. There are some fairly contentious areas within this proposal, such as, how long people can be detained for and how we deal with unaccompanied minors. Negotiations are being hampered further because Council is unhappy with the initial proposal.

 

Social services Report

This has unfortunately been made weaker than the Greens hoped for following a deal between the two largest Groups in the European Parliament. Therefore, despite Green amendments, there are no calls for a legal framework to safeguard these important services. The Greens therefore abstained from the final vote and will continue to fight for a stronger Report in Plenary.

Strasbourg and beyond:

 

CIA Committee Report

The European Parliament adopted the final report of its temporary committee investigating the alleged use of European countries by the CIA for the transportation and illegal detention of prisoners. Jean, a Member of this Committee, has taken part in some of the fact finding delegation visits. Despite a huge number of amendments to water down the report, the text of the report remained mostly unchanged, sending a strong message that EU governments must stop brushing the CIA abuses within their jurisdictions under the table. The Greens voted for the final Report which criticised many Member States - including the UK.

 

Climate Change

On the eve of the second anniversary of the entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol, the European Parliament adopted a strong resolution on climate change and future climate policies. Key points in the resolution included calls by the Parliament for a target of 30% greenhouse gas reductions by 2020.

 

Berlin

Jean was invited to speak at the opening of the Year of Equal Opportunities where she welcomed the move to increase awareness of people's rights to equal treatment and a life free of discrimination. The launch saw over 450 delegates, including EU ministers, equality bodies, employers and trade unions from across Europe, meet at the first ever European Equality summit.

Paris

Jean attended this OECD high-level parliamentary seminar on international migration - challenges and prospects. As the Green Group specialist on this issue, this event was an invaluable opportunity for her to hear a variety of high level presentations and position papers.

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Comment on Current Affairs

From Jean's 'explanation of vote' for the Parliament's CIA report:

 

MI voted for the Fava report, despite the changes made by nervous colleagues. The so-called 'war' on terror has been used by some to rework international law and defy international conventions on human rights and the treatment of those detained (on suspicion, not proof) without trial or any due process.

 

Human rights are universal and indivisible: the EU is committed to upholding these rights. This report confronts us with an uncomfortable reality and we urge Member State Parliaments and Governments to investigate fully what may have been happening on their territory.

This committee did not have full investigative powers, but we do have the power to make political recommendations. They should be acted upon if we really want to uphold our values.

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Dates for the Diary

8 March - International Women's Day
10 March - Rally for Dignity (International Women's Day), Trafalgar Square, 1pm - 4pm
11-18 March - Real Nappy Week
14 March - Commons Debate on Trident
16 March, ECAS event on Worker Mobility, Brussels
22-25 March - Green Party Spring Conference, Swansea
26 March - Rally for Sustainable Communities Bill, Westminster Central Hall, 7pm. Jean speaking.
26-29 March, Photo Exhibition 'No Entry' (hosted by Jean), European Parliament, Brussels
 

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