|Save the Bee|
Big Boost to Save the Bee Campaign: Girling Selected as UK Agriculture Spokesman
South West MEP Julie Girling has been selected as the Conservatives’ Spokesman on Agriculture in the European Parliament.
Following confirmation of the news, Julie said; “Many people know of my longstanding interest in agriculture and the work I have been doing in the South West. Not only do I now speak on behalf of the South West, but I am fighting the UKs corner to ensure a fair deal for farmers, consumers, taxpayers and the environment. This means being pro-active and engaged with both the UK Government and the EU, negotiating when necessary and working with colleagues such as Jim Paice MP and Neil Parish MP to get the best out of Europe for the UK.
In a region like the South West it is vital that rural communities are supported, agriculture is the bedrock of the economy and a major shaper of our beautiful landscape. At present the biggest and most important issue we are dealing with is the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). I take the view that the CAP should increase the competitiveness of EU agriculture, improve productivity and protect the natural environment. It is my job to make sure that British farmers are not disadvantaged by European rules and regulations.
Commenting on Julies appointment, Meurig Raymond, Deputy President of the NFU said; “This is fantastic news for the UK agricultural sector. Julie really cares about rural communities and actually understands the issues that farmers are facing on a day to day basis.
I am delighted Julie will be at the forefront of CAP negotiations and that she is so committed to getting the best deal possible for Britain. Julie has been leading the fight in Brussels against the decline of honeybees and will be a real asset to the future of agriculture and its politics in the UK.”
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Julie has submitted a question to the European Parliament to try and establish what steps they are taking to protect bees across the South West Region.
Full text of question:
Campaigning for the Honey Bee and the Humble Bumble
Answer from the Commission:
1. The BEE DOC project(1) started in March 2010. It deals with long-term complex research that needs to be repeated over several seasons. The first concrete results will be available by June 2011. At the beginning of September the project organised its first workshop(2).
The STEP project(3) was initiated in February 2010 and will run for five years. Key activities already initiated include the development of a bee Red List for Europe to help to guide conservation activities at continental and national levels and assessment and recommendations for how agri-environment schemes across Europe can be best utilised to support pollinators.
2. The Commission intends to designate an EU Reference Laboratory for bee health which is expected to become operational by the first half of 2011. It is also envisaged to start a pilot program for bee health surveillance with the technical support of this laboratory as soon as possible to determine more precisely the entirety of the colony losses and collect more data about the possible causes. The first ever bee health training course for officials of Member States under the Better Training for Safer Food initiative(4) started in May 2010 with two courses already delivered and two more in 2011.
3. Measures relating to bee-keeping are set down in the Single CMO Regulation(5). These may be included in tri-annual apiculture programmes drawn up by Member States which, if considered eligible, can be part-financed by the EU. In September 2010 the Commission approved the national programmes of the 27 Member States to improve the production and marketing of apiculture products for the period 2011‑13. The EU contribution to the financing of the programmes has increased by almost 25 % compared to the previous period (2008‑10), from EUR 26 million to EUR 32 million per year. Part of the expenditure is devoted to varroasis prevention and the restocking of hives.