Clare Moody

MEP for the South West and Gibraltar

My Week in Brussels: 18-22 January

New_Clare_Profile.jpgIn the South West we know the devastation that flooding can have on communitites. That is why I joined other Labour MEPs in calling for the government to make use of all available funding for flood affected areas in the UK.

Time is running out to evaluate our eligibility and claim from the EU Solidarity Fund which could help pay for flood damage repairs and the essential emergency and recovery operations which have taken place.

This week there were discussions across parliament, in particular the Women's Rights & Gender Equality Committee, on the repercussions of the harassment cases in Cologne.

Some in parliament claimed, including UKIP MEPs, that the reason these attacks were a direct consequence of a so-called "open door policy on migration."

In parliament I argued that it is nonsense to think that discrimination and harassment of women has only just begun in Europe with the arrival of migrants from the Middle East. Thousands of cases of abuse, harassment, and decimation against women in Europe are recorded every day. And this abuse knows no colour or creed.

I also condemned Prime Minister David Cameron for demonising British Muslim communities as a potential extremist threat in his call to integrate Muslim women through learning English. Social integration is a worthy cause, it is just a shame Mr. Cameron didn't think about this when he cut funding for English as a foreign language lessons in 2010, and that he has made this point at the expense of innocent Muslim communities in the UK.

I made this same point on an interview with BBC South, where I strongly condemned scare stories that staying in the EU would mean the UK would see sex attacks like in Cologne. These are sinister and low campaign tactics from eurosceptics.

The European Parliament voted this week for a report on the Digital Single Market (DSM), to which I have tabled many amendments. The report calls on the Commission to press on with the completion of a Europe-wide Digital Single Market, with emphasis on the need for everyone to have the right to access the internet and use online services, and ensuring superfast broadband is accessible to everyone.

In this report the EU is trying to ensure superfast broadband is accessible to everyone, whilst the Tory government's much trumpeted broadband rollout has redefined "superfast" broadband to mean something much slower than in the rest of the world.

Labour MEPs tabled a number of amendments to address the gaps on social and employment issues, digital skills, public investment and universal access and coverage, and are pleased with the report, but more work needs to be done.

Labour in the European Parliament is working to protect the rights of workers in the new online economy, and calling for everyone to have the right to access the internet and use online services, be they young, old, disabled or isolated.

We need to ensure the digital economy does not leave behind people in certain workplaces, and in rural or remote communities. All EU countries, including the UK, must invest more in superfast broadband, and roll it out quicker and wider.

The Digital Single Market is a great example of how British consumers benefit from membership of the EU - indeed only last month, the Commission unveiled proposals that will allow travellers to watch iPlayer, Netflix and other digital content while abroad.

Our future lies in being a knowledge economy. I'm pleased we're taking steps at an EU level to deliver this, I hope the UK government is taking note.

Finally I made the case for why Britain is stronger in Europe this week in a speech to the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

I spoke about how Europe represents hope for the future of Britain.  Whether it’s about trade, protecting workers rights, the environment, our security or maintaining a powerful voice in the world, we are stronger in Europe that out of it. 

You can see the full speech here...

As ever it was a busy week in Brussels, follow me on twitter and facebook for regular updates and remember to check the website as well. 

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