La Treizième Étoile: 03/06/12 - 10/06/12 Blog Archives
News from the European Union with a focus on the South West UK and Gibraltar region and its MEPs
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Bristol presents its case for European Green Capital title before a Brussels jury

Saturday, 9 June 2012
A team from Bristol were in Brussels on Friday where they presented the city’s final bid for the European Green Capital Award 2014 prize. The presentation and Q+A session, lasting an hour and a half, took place in the Committee of the Regions before a panel of distinguished European judges.

Speaking after the presentation, bid team leader and chair of the Bristol Green Capital Partnership Professor Martin Bigg said: “we gave the best presentation we possibly could in Brussels and the feedback from the jury was very positive.

They were impressed with the enthusiasm in Bristol, the public support and involvement of so many organisations and individuals – it really is a bid for the whole city, not just for the city council or the Green Capital Partnership,” he said.

A big thank you to the 3,500 people who have already backed our bid, and if you haven’t, please sign up and show your support before the decision on June 29.

Cllr Simon Cook, leader of Bristol City Council, was also optimistic following the presentation. “We had been rehearsing it a lot and it did come across very well […] we got a very positive response from the judges, I think they were really taken in by the presentation and each of them thanked us very much for it,he said.

Fifteen years ago we were not in a position to put ourselves up for this award at all and we’ve made rapid progress on all sorts of fronts and involving communities in green behaviour and sustainability [...] winning would be a big coup for us and the UK.”

The Bristol Green Capital Bid team in Brussels (Photo: BGC email newsletter)Bristol’s bid has been backed by business and political leaders across the city and country. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said earlier this month: “Bristol is the first UK city to have been shortlisted for this prestigious award which I think it is a fitting tribute to the work that has been done over a number of years to promote a green and sustainability agenda across the city.



Sir Graham Watson, the Liberal Democrat MEP for the region, was also part of the bid team. He described Bristol reaching the final three as a “huge feather in the city’s cap” and the award would represent “a seal of recognition; a stamp of approval at European level” for Bristol’s progress on sustainability issues and becoming a hub for developing clean, green technology.

I was extremely pleased to be part of the team and I think it went extremely well,” he said. “The amount of effort that has gone in to the bid, and indeed [gone in] to making Bristol a sustainable city, is something that ought to be recognised by the judges. It is true we don’t have the same resources as a city like Copenhagen or a city like Frankfurt, but what we don’t have in financial firepower, we do have in people participation power.

The European Green Capital Award is given to cities which boast a consistent record of achieving high environmental standards, are committed to ongoing and ambitious goals for further environmental improvement and sustainable development, and can act as a role model to inspire other cities and promote best practices to all other European cities.

While the award carries no financial prize, in the current economic climate the award would distinguish Bristol from all of the other cities in Europe and give it a real focus to be able to attract new business and new jobs in to the city.

This blog therefore fully endorses Bristol’s bid and encourages all its readers to do the same. No matter what the result is on 29 June 2012, Bristol is already a winner.

Photo: from Bristol Green Capital email newsletter
Quotes from audio produced by Quadrant media, used with kind permission

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Court cases finally begin as France seeks to annul the Fox Amendment reducing MEP trips to Strasbourg

Friday, 8 June 2012
After announcing they would be taking the Fox Amendment to court in March 2011, the French Government’s proceedings have finally begun before the European Court of Justice.

Cases C-237/11 and C-238/11 brought before the court in May 2011, seek to annul the deliberation and the vote of the European Parliament as they infringe both Protocol numbers 3 and 6 of the Treaties regarding the location of the seats of European Union's institutions.

According to the French Government, in providing that two of the 12 periods of monthly plenary sessions which must be held each year in Strasbourg are to be reduced from four to two days and will take place, in 2013, during the same week of October, the European Parliament sought to circumvent the rule that the 12 periods of monthly plenary sessions, including the budget session, must be held in Strasbourg,” reads one of the pleas. “The contested deliberation leads, in reality, to one of the 12 periods of monthly plenary sessions which must be held in Strasbourg being eliminated. Its sole objective is thus to diminish the length of time the MEPs are present at the seat of the European Parliament, without its being justified by internal organisational requirements relating to the work of the Parliament.
The author of the Fox Amendment, South West Conservative MEP Ashley Fox was less than pleased that proceedings had got this far, saying today in a statement posted on his website: “The cost of switching sittings back and forth is shockingly wasteful and is indefensible in the current economic climate. France and Luxembourg are putting their own vested interests ahead of the interests of taxpayers. This attempt to derail our campaign is unwarranted and undemocratic.

The opinion of the Advocate-General will be published on 6 September and a final ruling is expected in the autumn, rest assured I shall be following the case closely and writing more posts on this important ruling as the campaign for a single seat rumbles on.

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