La Treizième Étoile: 07/07/13 - 14/07/13 Blog Archives
News from the European Union with a focus on the South West UK and Gibraltar region and its MEPs
My tweets (@SWUKinEU)
‘World has gone mad when tobacco is less regulated than products designed to end tobacco use’ – SW MEP

Saturday, 13 July 2013
South West Conservative MEP Julie Girling has labelled a committee vote in the European Parliament this week to classify e-cigarettes as medical devices as “crazy” adding that the “world has gone mad when tobacco is less regulated than products designed to end tobacco use”.

The vote in the European Parliament’s Environment and Public Health (ENVI) Committee was intended to primarily look at ways of making tobacco smoking less attractive to young people through methods such as mandatory warnings, minimum pack sizes and rules on flavourings.

However, according to Mrs Girling, the revision of the ‘Tobacco Products Directive’ would classify most electronic cigarettes as medicinal products, despite the fact that in the UK alone 25 percent of all quit attempts were made using e-cigarettes, making them the most popular quit aid.

Today's [Wednesday] vote classifying them as medical devices will mean they must undergo a costly and protracted authorisation processes. As many of the producers of e-cigarettes are small start-up businesses, such a process could push many out of business and reduce choice for e-cigarette users.

Mrs Girling, who took part in the vote since she is a member of the ENVI Committee, supported an amendment tabled by her European Conservatives and Reformists group that would see e-cigarettes authorised in a similar way to other nicotine products.

It‘s crazy to classify e-cigarettes as medical devices,she said. “Thousands of people have given up smoking thanks to e-cigarettes. For the EU to over regulate them is completely counter-productive and hypocritical. The world has gone mad when tobacco is less regulated than products designed to end tobacco use.

Today it is believed 1.3 million people in the UK alone now use electronic cigarettes, compared to nine million tobacco smokers).


Chinese lantern fires ‘only a matter of time’ says MEP, lamenting their continued availability in UK

Sunday, 7 July 2013
South West Conservative MEP Julie Girling has again criticised the use of Chinese lanterns following the large-scale blaze at a plastic recycling plant in Smethwick, West Midlands that firefighters believe was started by a Chinese lantern.

The fire, which caused £6m worth of damage and burned 100,000 tonnes of plastic, took 200 firefighters hours to tackle. Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service are now leading a drive to raise awareness of the dangers and potential risks of the lanterns which they say are often seen as a gentler alternative to fireworks.

In January 2011, Mrs Girling sought the opinion of the European Commission who accepted the Chinese sky lanterns often used as part of the festivities pose a safety risk and suggested they could be banned.

Quoted in the Western Morning News, Mrs Girling said: "The events in the West Midlands are yet another example of just how dangerous these lanterns can be. Yes they look pretty as they float through the sky but what goes up must come down – this time a lantern has landed on a recycling plant and caused a massive fire which has resulted in the injuries of two fire fighters and the destruction of a large business.

"I will now be writing to the Home Secretary as a matter of urgency to call for a ban on these lanterns, it is only a matter of time before someone is killed as a consequence of their release. In other EU countries, they have been either banned or removed from sale."


CBI SW chairman slams business leaders in region backing calls for the UK to leave #EU as 'stark, staring bonkers'

The chairman of the Confederation of British Industry in the South West has this week slammed members of the region's business community who back calls for Britain to leave the European Union as "stark, staring bonkers".

Quoted in a lengthy article on the Western Morning News this week, Graham Cole, who is also chairman of Yeovil-based helicopter manufacturer AgustaWestland, has urged the Westcountry's business community to put aside any personal views they have about Europe and to focus instead on trading with the continent.

"I have my own personal views about Europe but the idea that, as a region, and group of businesses you can develop and, at the same time, run a strategy that indicates that you would be prepared to come out Europe... I go all over the world and that's stark, staring bonkers," he said.

The CBI is calling for the debate on Europe to focus on credible options for the UK's future relationship with the EU, warning that half-way house models such as Norway and Switzerland (trading partnerships where the country is subject to all EU trade rules without having a say in how they are formulated) are not the answer.

Last election:

Click here to see which six MEPs were elected.