Clare Moody

MEP for the South West and Gibraltar

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The awful events in Westminster last week gave us all time to reflect, both to think of those who lost their lives or are still in hospital but also of the freedoms we hold dear and that we must continue to cherish. Our emergency and security services once again showed their bravery, rushing towards a situation that everybody else runs away from. Last Wednesday’s events showed us at our best, demonstrating a calm and determined resolve to carry on whatever the challenge and we should be proud of that.

Last week, LabourList published my article on the Euratom nuclear treaty and Article 50. We now know Theresa May will trigger Article 50 this Wednesday, 29th March, and this formally begins the process of the UK leaving the European Union. However, Wednesday will also mark the start of the UK leaving Euratom, a completely separate Treaty.  As I write in the article, “Leaving the Euratom Treaty without ensuring there is a proper replacement to its provisions is very dangerous – not to put too fine a point on it but there are life and death implications. Life-saving radiotherapy treatments are managed through our membership of Euratom. Our nuclear energy sector provides around a fifth of our electricity and is dependent on our membership of Euratom.”.

I was delighted to speak at the launch of the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee’s report on ‘Science Priorities on Brexit’ in Westminster on Tuesday. I was keen to stress that we must demonstrate the UK’s willingness to work with the EU going forward through programmes such as Horizon2020 and Euratom. However, I expressed my concern that the mood in Brussels is turning against the UK following Theresa May’s decision to not guarantee the rights of EU citizens living and working in Britain.   The complexity of the forthcoming negotiations haven’t been discussed widely but there is a huge amount at stake for the science and innovation community and the government must do more to protect their future, for all our sakes. 

It is important to ensure that we address gender inequality in all parts of EU policy, including those aimed at entrepreneurship and innovation. To this end, this week I supported the amendments that my colleague, Sirpa Pietikainen (EPP), suggested for the report on the extension of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI). This report presents an excellent opportunity to ensure that future investments are in line with gender mainstreaming values, and I was pleased to co-sign amendments suggesting that the Steering Board should be gender balanced, and that we should actively seek to provide assistance for projects initiated, owned, and led by women.

In Budget Committee last week, I tabled amendments to a report on Horizon 2020, which funds programmes in universities. Horizon 2020 funds, on average, a third of UK universities’ income. In fact, the UK gets back £3 for every £1 we invest into Horizon 2020, including millions for universities in the South West

The report looks at the future of the EU’s science programmes and it is vital that the UK remains part of these programmes.

My amendments focus on maintaining scientific excellence as the core pillar of the Horizon 2020 programme for Research & Innovation. We cannot allow Horizon 2020 to be watered down from this key aim. I have also tabled amendments that affirms the Parliament’s commitment to reduce as much as possible the potential negative impact on Horizon 2020 of the EFSI negotiations.

Reflecting on the Westminster attack, Euratom, and Horizon 2020

The awful events in Westminster last week gave us all time to reflect, both to think of those who lost their lives or are still in hospital but also of...

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Last week, the #SheDecides initiative was launched following the decision which prohibits US government funding for NGOs that provide family-planning services and access to or information on abortions, known as the Global Gag Rule. The initiative aims to compensate for the funding gap. Fortunately, a broad majority was secured for my amendment on the Global Gag Rule, calling on the EC to earmark EU funds to fill this financial gap. I was proud to stand alongside with my Socialist & Democrat colleagues from across Europe to show our support for #SheDecides. 

In Brexit news, last week saw the Government’s Bill that would let them trigger Article 50 become an Act, upon receiving Royal Assent from the Queen. Theresa May has now signalled her intention to trigger Article 50 on 29th March, at which point the formal process of leaving the EU begins. The European institutions will, soon after Article 50 has been invoked, respond accordingly. I remain disappointed that the Government refused to accept the Lords’ amendments on the rights of EU citizens in the UK and on a final meaningful vote in Parliament after the conclusion of the negotiations.

FEMM

This week, we voted on three important resolutions on gender equality, including my report on EU Funds for Gender Equality, which was adopted by 437 votes in favour, 166 against and 80 abstentions. During the debate, I argued that gender equality, despite being a fundamental value of the EU enshrined in the treaties, has yet to be achieved in practice and must be translated into policies and spending. I called for the application of gender mainstreaming and gender budgeting across the EU budget. You can watch my speech by following this link: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/plenary/en/debate-details.html?date=20170313&detailBy=date

I was also interviewed by French and Italian media on my report.

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It was a positive week for members of the FEMM committee but also highlighted the work that we still have left to do.

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PATH

It was a pleasure to meet representatives from PATH, an international non-profit organisation working on innovative technologies in the field of global health. We discussed the role of Horizon 2020, the EU's science funding programme, in supporting innovation for sustainable development, and in particular for global health, climate change and food security. It was very interesting to hear about PATH's experience using technological innovations in developing countries, especially their knowledge of developing health products tackling poverty-related and neglected diseases.

#SheDecides and the Global Gag Rule - last week in Strasbourg

Last week, the #SheDecides initiative was launched following the decision which prohibits US government funding for NGOs that provide family-planning services and access to or information on abortions, known as...

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As I write this, the House of Commons is debating the Lords' eminently sensible amendments to the Brexit Bill, specifically guaranteeing the rights of EU citizens in the UK and ensuring that Parliament has a meaningful vote on the final deal. More importantly, the Lords inserted an amendment that would mean that Parliament would have a vote if the Government comes back with no deal whatsoever. Disappointingly, it appears that the Government will reject these amendments and the Bill will pass in its original, unamended form. Effectively, Theresa May will be able to do what she wants in the forthcoming negotiations, and I am becoming more and more concerned that the prospect of exiting the EU with no deal seems to be increasing by the day. This would be a catastrophic outcome for our country in countless ways - from certifying our aircraft to fly to getting isotopes for life saving radiotherapy treatments. 

In an eventful period in our politics, last week saw the Chancellor present his Spring Budget. Given the dangers that leaving the EU presents to jobs and our tax base it is that it is truly remarkable that he did not mention Brexit once in the hour he was stood at the despatch box. The Chancellor's Budget - as well as penalising the self-employed - is merely tinkering around the edges before we encounter one of the greatest economic challenges of our time in Brexit.  

FEMM Committee and International Women’s Day

The Labour Party believes in empowering women to make their own choices so I was proud to join Labour colleagues this week in support of She Decides, a new global initiative on sexual health and family planning. The initiative was established in response to US President Donald Trump’s decision to reinstate the Mexico City Policy, or the global gag rule as it is often known, which bans financial support to foreign organisations providing abortion counselling and access to safe abortion. It is of upmost importance that this gap in funding is plugged immediately to protect the lives of women and children worldwide. 

On Wednesday, we celebrated International Women’s Day with a host of events in Brussels. International Women’s Day is an important day to focus all minds on what we still have to achieve and help us to move closer to gender parity, including the reduction of the gender pay and pension gap. This week I also made the finishing touches to my report on EU Funds for Gender Equality which will be voted on next week during the plenary session in Strasbourg. image003.jpg

Women’s EU Rights Campaign Workshop 

It was fabulous to spend Saturday in Exeter with so many inspirational women to talk about how precious the rights that we have gained from our membership of the EU are and how we need to campaign to keep them. It is always interesting to hear of others experiences but I was particularly concerned that so many women are still experiencing harassment, discrimination and bullying in the workplace. 

WiFi4EU 

The EU is proposing to fund a new scheme to deliver free, open access WiFi to towns and communities across the UK and Europe. This scheme is called WiFi4EU, and over the next five years it will deliver WiFi hotspots funding to local authorities to install whereever they see fit in towns and communities to provide a free service for citizens. It is a first come first serve bidding process, and South West towns could stand to gain significantly from this scheme in our remaining two years in the EU. I am working closely to ensure the delivery of this legislation, and I am excited to see it enacted in the South West over the coming months.

PATH

It was a pleasure to meet representatives from PATH, an international non-profit organisation working on innovative technologies in the field of global health. We discussed the role of Horizon 2020, the EU's science funding programme, in supporting innovation for sustainable development, and in particular for global health, climate change and food security. It was very interesting to hear about PATH's experience using technological innovations in developing countries, especially their knowledge of developing health products tackling poverty-related and neglected diseases.

Brexit Bill, FEMM, and International Women's Day - last week in the Parliament

As I write this, the House of Commons is debating the Lords' eminently sensible amendments to the Brexit Bill, specifically guaranteeing the rights of EU citizens in the UK and...

#BeBoldForChange

 

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The theme for International Women's Day 2017 is Be Bold for Change, which urges us to forge a better working world and a more gender-inclusive society. We should take up this challenge and to do so we need more than words; we need action. This year has already seen millions of women and their allies march in support of women’s rights. The day of the women’s marches was a proud day for women and gender equality activists across the world. International Women’s Day represents an important opportunity to continue this momentum and fight for change.

While women’s rights may be the focus of only one day this week, the issue must be kept in mind all year round. The World Economic Forum predicts the gender gap won't close entirely until 2186. This is a fact we cannot ignore. Based on the average gross hourly income of full and part-time workers across Europe, women earn 16% less than their male counterparts. This figure reaches over 20% in some countries including Czech Republic, Germany and Austria. In the UK the figure stands at 18%. The statistics show we still have so much to do.

The gender pension gap is even worse, with men receiving higher pensions than women in all EU Member States and women pensioners facing higher risks of poverty in old age. Across Europe, this amounts to 38% on average. This is proving even more intractable than the gap between women and men in work.

Even now, we have to respond to ridiculously outdated attitudes and just last week we were sadly reminded of how much work we still have to do. During a European Parliament debate on the gender pay gap, a Polish MEP claimed women should earn less money than men, because they are “weaker", "smaller" and "less intelligent”.

The principle that men and women should receive equal pay for equal work has been enshrined in the European Treaties since 1957. There are numerous articles in place to enable legislation to combat gender discrimination, the trafficking of women and children and violence against women to name but a few. Clearly even this legislation is not delivering the change we need.

Realising women’s economic empowerment requires transformative change so that prosperity is equitably shared. I believe that International Women’s Day is an important day to focus all minds on what we have to achieve and help us to move closer to gender parity, including the reduction of the gender pay gap. But this fight for equality is not just for one day. We have to work each and every day to continue our long standing battle. I hope that you will join me today and every day and Be Bold for Change. 

International Women's Day 2017 - #BeBoldForChange

#BeBoldForChange   The theme for International Women's Day 2017 is Be Bold for Change, which urges us to forge a better working world and a more gender-inclusive society. We should...

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This week delivered a very important moment in the Brexit process - the Lords voted through an Amendment to protect EU citizens who are living in the UK.  This mattered for a number of reasons.  First and foremost, this matters because of the principle of what was voted through - in the shadow of the rise of hate speech and the Government’s abandonment of the Dubs amendment we are overdue a demonstration of the decent and open side of the British character.  It is right in principle that EU citizens should feel secure in their life in the UK.  We had a very similar debate in the European Parliament, reflecting the needs of both EU citizens both British living in the other 27 member states and their citizens living in the EU.

There are other reasons why this mattered.  During the referendum the Leave campaign said they wanted to take back control, to have Parliamentary sovereignty - nowhere did they say we want Prime Ministerial sovereignty.  Listening to Parliament will improve the Brexit process, and her hostility to good advice so far does not bode well for the coming complex negotiations.  Finally it matters because of the forthcoming negotiations.  Failing to treat other European citizens fairly is just one further indication that May’s government is giving to our European neighbours that these negotiations are conducted in a spirit of hostility and meanness on our part - not conducive to getting a good deal and will be counter-productive in ensuring the future for British born citizens in other EU countries.

This week was a busy week for the FEMM committee. An issue that was discussed in this week’s debates was the gender pay gap. Recent reports have found that women across Europe entering work still earn significantly less than their male counterparts over their careers, despite an improvement in pay differentials during the first decade of employment. 

Unfortunately, during this debate, a Polish MEP illustrated exactly why it is so important that gender issues remain a priority on our agendas and we continue to fight against misogyny and chauvinism. The MEP, Mr Janusz Korwin-Mikke, provoked a furious response after stating that women should earn less money than men, because they are “weaker", "smaller" and "less intelligent”. Such opinions are deplorable and offensive and have no place in our society. It was heartening to see my colleague, Iratxe García Pérez, take on this utter nonsense that – considering it’s 2017 – we still have to deal with (make sure you turn subtitles by clicking "CC" when watching the video).

In more positive news, I was happy to meet with the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) to discuss my report on EU Funds on Gender Equality. EIGE staff are currently working on gender budgeting – a project which links in to a number of the initiatives proposed in my report. It was particularly useful to discuss such issues ahead of parliament voting on my report this month.

This week was also busy week in the area of Digital Innovation. As a member of the ITRE committee, discussions centred on the promotion of internet connectivity in local communities which could have a positive impact for communities in the South West. I was also lucky enough to join Dimitra Simeonidou, Professor of High Performance Networks at the University of Bristol, and other speakers at the Bristol Brussels office for an event about creating a city-wide test bed for digital innovation in Bristol. Speaking at the event, I reflected on the European Parliament’s work to support digital innovation, and it was a real pleasure to hear all of the good work taking place. 

European Space Strategy has been another of my focuses this week. I have been looking at the current implications of Brexit on the UK planetary science community, particularly in the South West, and I was delighted to be able to take the opportunity to discuss this UK Industry perspective with members of the European Space community in several productive meetings this week. 

I was delighted to be invited to speak at the Clean Energy Roundtable & Dinner Debate on Tuesday Evening. It was a truly wonderful evening with a large range of interests represented. The Clean Energy Package is an important step forward, and could be a boost for consumers, the climate and European manufacturing. The discussion focused on ensuring that the Clean Energy Package will deliver, and was thoroughly productive in looking at what needs to be in place to ensure this. 

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On Thursday, members of the Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI) voted by a large majority earlier this week to waive Marine Le Pen’s immunity following a request from the prosecutor of Nanterre, in Western Paris. Following this committee decision, the request was voted on by the wider parliament. The parliament voted in favour of stripping Marine Le Pen of her parliamentary immunity, allowing French prosecutors to take legal action against the leader of the Front National for tweeting graphic images of killings by members of Islamic State. 

Moving to constituency matters, I had the pleasure of meeting with members of the Gibraltar Government in Brussels office to discuss what Brexit will mean for Gibraltar’s border with Spain as well as recent developments including the House of Lords decision to back an amendment to May’s bill to trigger Brexit talks, ensuring the government protects the rights of EU citizens living in the UK. 

On Friday, I was delighted to address members of Richard Huish College’s Politics society in Taunton. The students demonstrated an exemplary knowledge of all things political, including Brexit, Donald Trump, and the Labour Party. In the evening I joined Kingswood Labour Party for their monthly meeting. I was able to provide an update on where the UK is in the Brexit negotiations, as well as answering any questions members had on Brexit or the European Parliament in general.

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The Lords, Brexit, and misogyny in Brussels

This week delivered a very important moment in the Brexit process - the Lords voted through an Amendment to protect EU citizens who are living in the UK.  This mattered...

IMG_0325.JPGClare Moody MEP, the University of Exeter Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Steve Smith, and University Exeter staff and students have celebrated the contribution EU nationals make to the economy and society of both Exeter and the South West.

The event was held to coincide with a national day of action, called One Day Without Us, to celebrate the contribution of migrants to the UK.

Clare and Professor Sir Steve Smith discussed the concerns of EU citizens working and studying in the UK following the Brexit vote with staff and students. The event, a roundtable discussion and afternoon tea, was held on Monday 20th February.

Clare said: “It was a delight to meet with staff and students who have chosen to live and work in the UK, as is their right as EU citizens.

“This meeting demonstrated the benefit that we get from our fellow EU citizens and I’m deeply troubled by the Government’s failure to provide them with the guarantees they deserve following last year’s referendum.

“The positive contribution these citizens and the many thousands like them across the South West make to our society and our economy is invaluable, and it is vital that we publicly recognise this contribution.”

Sir Steve said: “ This continues to be a very unsettling time for our colleagues from EU and European Economic Area countries.  We continue to press the Government that the status of all EU and EEA citizens who are already living and working in the UK should be confirmed at the earliest opportunity and should not be linked to negotiations about the status of UK citizens living in EU countries.  The University places great value on the part they play in making the University a thriving, diverse and global community and I will continue to use all the opportunities open to me to lobby the Government to provide a greater level of certainty to you as soon as possible.”

 

Clare meets University of Exeter European staff and students to celebrate their contribution to economy and society

Clare Moody MEP, the University of Exeter Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Steve Smith, and University Exeter staff and students have celebrated the contribution EU nationals make to the economy and society...


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