This week like most weeks in Europe has been really varied. The EU covers so many different policy areas that each meeting is always different. From Human Rights to the roll out of broadband in rural areas, I have covered a lot of ground this week.
This week in the Trade Union Intergroup I brought up the case of Andy Hall, a human rights campaigner who is facing up to 7 years in a Thai prison for raising instances of modern slavery in Thailand.
Andy has fought to protect human rights in South East Asia for the past 10 years and took part in key research which documented the dreadful treatment of migrant workers in a large Thai company.
With four separate charges, countless appeals, demands for false confessions and reports of witness intimidation Labour MEPs and the TUC continue to call for this harassment to end.
Also in Trade Union Intergroup we heard Veronica Nilsson, the Deputy General Secretary of European Trade Union Confederation.
She took the opportunity to discuss ETUC's 'Paris Manifesto' which calls for a strong economy that serves the people, stronger unions for democratic values and democracy at work and a core of ambitious social standards.
I met with fellow Labour MEPs and other socialist colleagues for a final strategy meeting ahead of the vote on the Digital Single Market report. This report is designed to outline an industrial strategy for a successful Digital Single Market and Digital Society.
Our priority for the upcoming vote is to protect current articles and vote for an additional amendment on Social Europe and working rights in the Digital Economy. I am concerned about Tory MEPs' attempts to remove all references to working and social rights in the committee vote on this report - and will keep constituents updated on the outcome of the report.
Workers rights are essential to properly functioning economy and so is a well thought out industrial strategy. This week I met with Shadow BIS Minister and Shadow First Secretary of State Angela Eagle to discuss the growing concerns about the Government's refusal to draw up an industrial strategy.
The BIS Minister Sajjid Javid is fundamentally opposed to the idea of an industrial strategy, but I’ve heard from company after company, such as Rolls Royce and Airbus, that having a coordinated policy on industrial growth is vital to ensure a stable investment environment, the inclusion of the strategically important cultural industry in the British economy, to allow for more jobs and growth.
We also compared notes on the impact of the EU's Horizon 2020 science and research grant programme on British universities and the risk posed to the Higher Education sector if the UK loses this funding through leaving the EU. EU funding accounts for 16% of UK university income on average (as estimated by the government), and in some cases represents a third of total revenue (such as for the University of Oxford).