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Open internet lives to fight on through summer

News item

Friday 6 Jul 2018

 

Nessa Childers, MEP for Dublin, hailed the vote in the European Parliament to bring a new directive governing online copyright back to the drawing board, a success.

Ms. Childers had tabled amendments in the specific committee, in opposition to provisions known as the ‘link tax’ and the ‘internet filter’, and was one of the members who tabled the request to halt the current procedure and allow the proposal to be further amended.

Speaking from Strasbourg after the positive vote on that request, Ms. Childers said:

“We voted to put this draft law on hold and allow for further scrutiny and amendments rather than green-lighting it in its current form and taking it to the negotiating table with the Council of EU Member States.

“I am relieved to see that a majority of colleagues heeded the call of those of us who see great danger in arts. 11 and 13 for the internet as we know it.

“This piece of legislation has been the object of an extraordinary lobby battle on both sides, and, while I understand the legitimate demand that creators be properly remunerated for their work, this is a wrongheaded expedient.

“Big media conglomerates have been pushing for neighbouring rights of dubious benefit to the journalists who toil for them, at the expense of the ways we share information with each other online.

“Also, we would be effectively compelling online platforms to pre-emptively screen all user uploaded content on pain of being held liable for individuals’ copyrights infringements.  Platforms would be forced to police and censor individual uploads and, if in doubt, block them to stay on the right side of the law.

“I have often been a lonely voice among Irish MEPs on matters that affect Big Tech’s bottom line, such as corporate taxation, but there is much more at stake here than the fact that major technology firms see the dangers in this proposal.

“That is why I took the advice of experts such as Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, Jimmy Wales, the co-founder of Wikipedia, and countless academics, and took a step to help reverse the course of this law.

“I hope we will now get the chance to turn it around after summer.”

ENDS


Childers excoriates EU Commission’s top civil servant flash promotion

News item

Thursday 19 Apr 2018

Nessa Childers, MEP for Dublin, expressed disappointment in the outcome of the European Parliament’s reaction to the lightning-fast appointment of Martin Selmayr, former head of cabinet to EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, as Commission Secretary-General.

Ms. Childers’ remarks came on foot of today’s vote in Parliament of a resolution criticising the manner and timing of his appointment.

Speaking from Strasbourg after the vote in Parliament, this afternoon, Ms. Childers said:

“This appointment bore the hallmarks of a bureaucratic coup, which Messrs. Juncker and Selmayr have proven adept at in the past.

“They have now exceeded themselves and turned it into an art form, with a double promotion, a lightning fast procedure on foot of the sudden retirement announcement from the outgoing top Commission civil servant, and only one competitor for the post, in the form of Mr. Selmayr’s deputy, who withdrew her candidacy after the procedure was well underway.

“Mr. Juncker appears to have press-ganged the whole college of commissioners into accepting him, and then told Parliament that, should it call for Mr. Selmayr’s resignation from his newfound post as top Commission civil servant, Mr. Juncker would resign himself.

“While I fully endorse Parliament’s express criticism of a procedure that was devised to respect the letter of the law in the strictest sense, while running roughshod over any notions of propriety and ethics in public administration, I wish I and like-minded colleagues had mustered a majority to call Mr. Juncker’s bluff.

“This is the kind of Brussels-based maneuvering that cheapens the European project, gives the EU institutions a bad name and provides easy fodder for tabloid headlines that end up with outcomes such as the Brexit vote.

“Naked political appointments of this kind undermine the spirit and legitimacy of the civil service and are a blow to the morale and career prospects of those who do their jobs day in, day out in our institutions without resorting to party political manoeuvring.

“In fairness to Mr. Selmayr, for all the legs up he has been given by Fine Gael’s Christian Democrat EPP group, he is a career civil servant.

“That’s more than can be said for a lot of political appointees that have been parachuted into the higher echelons of our civil service ranks in the European Parliament, on foot of suspiciously tailor-made competitions for people who often transit from political group staffs to the President’s cabinet.

“We need to clean up our act within our own house if we are to enjoy the legitimacy and moral authority that should accompany our role in bringing the Commission to account.

“I fear this is why we didn’t dare to go further as a Parliament on this occasion. As a fellow EPP colleague of Fine Gael’s candidly put it at a previous debate, they don’t want to probe the Commission too much, lest they start looking into our own family affairs over here.”

ENDS


One more painful step on steep climb to peak emissions

News item

Wednesday 18 Apr 2018

Nessa Childers, MEP for Dublin, expressed disappointment at the mixed outcome from votes on measures to control emissions and climate change in the European Parliament.

Parliament confirmed agreement with the Council of EU Member State governments on a raft of measures, which included a regulation to cut greenhouse gas emissions in sectors such as transport, agriculture, waste and buildings.

Other pieces of legislation passed today accounts for the role of land use and forestry in emissions and climate change, as well as new rules on the energy performance of buildings.

Speaking from Strasbourg, in reaction to the outcome of the votes, Ms. Childers, a member of Parliament’s Environment committee, said:

“I am disappointed to see this regulation on greenhouse gas emissions come short of what the future requires of Europe.

“We are talking about 30% reductions, by 2030, in sectors that account for almost two thirds of emissions on our continent. This is not enough to flesh out our commitments in the UN Paris Agreement.

“Recently, we passed long overdue reforms of the EU’s Emissions Trading System, to deal with the glut of carbon allowances that cheapened the production of emissions in the heavy industry and energy sectors.

“Today we haven’t come even near the 40% target in reductions we achieved then.

“Member State governments choose to drag their feet and protect the tired old ways of doing business at home.

“They remain blinded to ever clearer and present risks by the demands and short-term interests of preferred constituencies.

“Even in Ireland, we have started to feel the human and social costs of more extreme climate phenomena. There isn’t just opportunity in a proper, full-scale energy and industrial transition, but also resilience and survival, if we stay below catastrophic levels of global warming.

“Business as usual is not an option. The planet won’t wait for us to face up to the facts we need to act upon.”

ENDS


Statement on US pharma industry request to put EU on IPR enforcement watchlist- European Parliament Working Group on Access to Medicines

News item

Tuesday 6 Mar 2018

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America and the Biotechnology Innovation organisation have recently requested that the US Trade Representative place the EU on its watch list for the 2018 Special 301 Report, a yearly review of the global state of intellectual property rights enforcement.

The watch list identifies trading partners engaging in harmful practices in terms of IP protection and market access for US companies.

This is an extremely worrisome development, against which the EPWG on Innovation, Access to Medicines and Poverty related diseases must take a stance, at a time when the EU is reviewing its IP incentives regime, which we support.

EPWG Statement 06.03.2018

Nessa Childers MEP

Chairperson- EPWG

Background:

The European Union has a major impact on access to medicines for developing countries, through its policies, legislation and bilateral and regional trade agreements. It is vital that the EU adopts appropriate measures that improve access to existing medical tools (medicines, diagnostics, vaccines) and that stimulate the research and development (R&D) of urgently-needed better tools for people in developing countries, notably for poverty-related diseases such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. The Working Group operates as a Bureau of MEPs, with one Chair and four Co-Chairs, and a Secretariat, formed by Médecins Sans Frontières’ Campaign for Access to Essential Medicines and Global Health Advocates. The Working Group is open to MEPs, academics, representatives from the European Commission, international organisations and civil society.


EU Parliament sets up committee on glyphosate and pesticide approval flaws

News item

Friday 9 Feb 2018

Nessa Childers, MEP for Dublin, welcomed this week’s decision to establish a special committee to probe the EU’s decision-making process on pesticide approval, in the wake of the “Monsanto Papers” revelations.

Speaking from Strasbourg after the plenary votes, Ms. Childers, a member of Parliament’s Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee, said:

“The revelations of Monsanto’s maneuvering to influence the scientific assessment of glyphosate and ensure the renewal of its EU authorisation raise serious questions about our ability to safeguard human health and to objectively assess the safety of chemical products.

“This probe will enable us to examine not only how the European Food Safety Agency and the European Chemicals Agency have discharged their responsibilities to assess the safety of glyphosates but also how pesticides are allowed into the EU markets in general.

“This is crucial for the environment and our citizens’ health. It is no less important in terms of public trust in our institutions and in the evidence they seek to inform the decisions they make on our behalf.”