Editor's note With the European election on 22 May, Robert will be retiring as one of our MEPs; this is, therefore, his last Strasbourg report for us. Thank you, Robert, for letting us share your view of Strasbourg over the last four years – every report very well written and with little gems of information about the European Parliament not easily found elsewhere.
The sun was shining on us during the last sitting of the 7th legislature of the European Parliament in Strasbourg. It was an important session as well because many files had to be concluded. There were so many files in fact, two extra voting sessions were scheduled just so we could get through all of them!
There were many files constituents were concerned about as well.
I've heard from many of you on issues ranging from animal welfare to transportation safety to burdensome red tape for SMEs. They say all's well that ends well – so allow me to highlight some of the successful outcomes we had in this last Plenary session.
The Parliament voted through a new Regulation on Animal Welfare. It aims to establish a single, simplified, transparent and clear regulatory framework for the monitoring, prevention and control of different animal diseases.
This large piece of legislation will help to consolidate many existing, fragmented EU laws on animal welfare into a coherent piece of legislation that will help farmers, pet owners and consumers across the EU.
Also as part of this same report, the Parliament successful prevented the ban of live decoys by voting against an unjustified amendment by a French Green MEP that lacked a true animal health justification.
Banning birds and animals as live decoys would have a detrimental effect on the environment, because predators can do large amount of damage and vermin such as rats create disease.
The great thing about this about this method is that there remains the choice to release the predators without damaging them.
Many constituents also wrote to me about their concerns regarding the dimensions of lorries allowed on our roads.
The Parliament approved new dimensions for lorry cabs in order to increase visibility and to help reduce traffic accidents – but it also decided it was up to individual Member States to decide if longer Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) or so-called ‘mega trucks’ would be allowed on their roads.
Animal and plant safety
There was also some concern around the Regulation on Official Controls, which sets out the rules governing animal and plant safety in food and feed law.
Some of the amendments proposed would have created extra burden for SMEs, however, common sense prevailed and we were able to vote down these amendments while maintaining the important rules for our food chain.
World War I remembered
We also took a moment to remember how far Europe has come since the beginning of the 20th century.
We marked the centenary of the First World War on Wednesday morning and during the debate MEPs warned against the dangers of nationalism and emphasised the importance of peace and stability for Europe.
As it was the last session of the parliamentary term it was very emotional, especially for those of us marking our very last session.
Even some of the Vice Presidents of the Parliament got emotional while they were leading some of the voting sessions, as many of them, like me, are not running for re-election.
In closing, it has been an honour and a privilege to serve you the constituents of the East of England for the last 20 years.
I can only hope that, after I retire, whoever represents the East of England will always remember to put constituents first when working on legislation and fulfilling their Parliamentary duties.
Also don’t forget to get out and vote on May 22nd, so you can have your say about the next European Parliament!
Contact Robert Sturdy
Robert's constituency office in Hardwick will remain operational until 30 June 2014.
Robert Sturdy MEP
153 St Neots Road
Julia Smith – PA to Robert Sturdy
T 01954 211 790
F 01954 211 786