La Treizième Étoile: 04/12/11 - 11/12/11 Blog Archives
News from the European Union with a focus on the South West UK and Gibraltar region and its MEPs
My tweets (@SWUKinEU)
Cameron 'was so keen to protect the bankers that he's caused a lot of problems for Britain and the EU'

Saturday, 10 December 2011
Drama; always drama. At Thursday night’s meeting of the European Council in Brussels, David Cameron vetoed the proposed treaty to enforce fiscal discipline on Eurozone countries. He did so, threatening to isolate the UK within the EU in the process, because the safeguards he sought for the financial sector in this country could not be secured.

So did he isolated Britain or stood up for its interests, or both? That was the question put to Sir Graham Watson, Liberal Democrat MEP and President of the ELDR party, by George Parker of the Financial Times this week on Radio 4’s programme the Week in Westminister.

"I think there is a danger that [David Cameron] was so keen to protect the bankers form regulation that he has actually caused a lot of problems for Britain and for the EU within it," he said.

"Perhaps the real problem here is David Cameron's having decided under pressure from his euro backbenchers to pull out of the European People's Party. What happened immediately before this summit was the EPP had a big meeting in Marseilles and they agreed that they were going to do. Had Cameron been around the table there, then he could have prevented this from happening."

"His decision to ally himself with some weirdos from Eastern Europe, which is what his backbenchers were wanting, has actually cost Britain the influence that we needed at a crucial moment. I think this could be a seminal moment, and we are going to have to do a lot of work now to try to work our way back in."

Sir Graham was speaking as part of an on-air debate with Nadhim Zahawi, Conservative MP for Stratford-on-Avon, one of the 2010 intake of Conservative with sceptical views on Europe. However his presence was simply symbolic since he added little to the debate and had no answers to Sir Graham’s contributions.

This week’s Radio 4 programme Week in Westminster can be listened to again via the BBC iPlayer.


Seven Days - a week in the life of SW Tory MEP Giles Chichester

Friday, 9 December 2011
Giles Chichester with a sword (Photo: Giles Chichester's own website)Over at Public Service Europe they have begun a regular feature (a very good one at that) of asking an MEP to outline a week in their busy lives as European parliamentarians.

This week it's the turn of South West Conservative MEP Giles Chichester, left, and in this update he "holds meetings on key European gas pipeline projects, chairs a debate about CO2 emissions reductions, and finds time to take some exercise".

This feature does provide a valuable insight into each MEP's routines anf you can learn some things, for example, I hadn't known Mr Chichester is a vegetarian, nor that he does sessions "on my rowing machine as part of my campaign to exercise the hip"...

Click here to read.


A 'new era has begun' in Gibraltar declares the Rock's Liberal MEP Watson

Inside Gibraltar's Parliament (Photo:’s Liberal Democrat MEP and President of the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party Sir Graham Watson has today sent his congratulations to the Gibraltar Socialist Labour/Liberal coalition for their victory in yesterday's parliamentary elections.

Following the result, Sir Graham commented: “after 15 years, it is high time for change and I am excited by the prospect of Gibraltar's Liberals playing a key part in government”.

The campaign has been very positive and focused on the issues that matter to citizens: business, tax, the economy and relations with Spain. Now it is time to press on with the task in hand,” he said.

A new era has begun.

Further congratulations have come from British Foreign Office Minister David Lidington, who said: "I warmly congratulate Fabian Picardo on his election as Chief Minister of Gibraltar. The UK greatly values the UK-Gibraltar relationship. I look forward to working closely with the new Chief Minister for the benefit of the people of Gibraltar.

I would also like to thank the outgoing Chief Minister, Peter Caruana, for his long service to the people of Gibraltar since first being elected Chief Minister in 1996.


Record turnout delivers electoral defeat for Social Democrats in Gibraltar after 15 years in charge

Socialist Labour leader Fabian Picardo celebrates his parties strong resultGibraltarians have turned out in record numbers in their latest parliamentary elections and have elected a coalition of Gibraltar’s Socialist Labour (GSLP) and Liberal (GLP) parties to head up the 17-seat administration finally ousting Social Democrat (GSD) leader Peter Caruana who served as the Chief Minister since 1996.

The GSLP/GLP alliance won 10 on the Parliament's 17 seats with 48.88% of the vote, with an exceptionally high turnout of 82.52% (17,917), the largest number of voters in Gibraltar’s electoral history. The GSD obtained 46.76%.

Socialist Labour leader Fabian Picardo, above left, who only became leader of his party in April, will become the Rock’s next Chief Minister with Liberal leader Dr Joseph Garcia set to become the Deputy Chief Minister.

Shortly after his election, Mr Picardo declared it was “a privilege to lead this nation of ours” and held his political triumph as the dawning of a new era for Gibraltar – the theme of his manifesto.

Referring to Mr Caruana with whom he has had a bitter political rivalry over the past few years, Mr Picardo, magnanimous in victory said that the GSD leader had done “many good things for Gibraltar” which he would seek to build upon and not denigrate. Mr Caruana had earlier offered to brief him on matters of ongoing public interest for the Rock - “a hand of friendship” in the period of transition - which Mr Picardo readily accepted.

Mr Picardo added that after 15 years waiting in opposition “he could not wait a moment longer” to start working in earnest.

Gibraltar is the only British Overseas Territory to be represented in the European Union, and is home to a number of political parties that have developed to address local issues. The Gibraltar Parliament (previously the House of Assembly) consists of seventeen elected members, and the Speaker.

Under the electoral system of partial bloc voting used since 1969, voters must choose ten candidates, who need necessarily not be from the same party but usually are. The winning candidates are then chosen by simple plurality; consequently, a party seeking to form a government stands ten candidates, and the party that forms the government is usually successful in having all ten of its candidates elected; the remaining seats are usually won by the 'best loser' which then forms the opposition.

The duly elected members of Gibraltar's parliament: (source)

PICARDO, Fabian Raymond (GSLP / Liberal)
CORTES, John Emmanuel (GSLP / Liberal)
GARCIA, Joseph John (GSLP / Liberal)
LICUDI, Gilbert Horace (GSLP / Liberal)
BOSSANO, Joseph John (GSLP / Liberal)
BRUZON, Charles Arthur (GSLP / Liberal)
CARUANA, Peter Richard (GSD)
COSTA, Neil Francis (GSLP / Liberal)
FEETHAM, Daniel Anthony (GSD)
LINARES, Steven Ernest (GSLP / Liberal)
SACRAMENTO, Samantha Jane (GSLP / Liberal)
BALBAN, Paul John (GSLP / Liberal)
BOSSINO, Damon James (GSD)
REYES, Edwin Joseph (GSD)
NETTO, James Joseph (GSD)
FIGUERAS, Selwyn Matthew (GSD)

Last election:

Click here to see which six MEPs were elected.