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EU roaming fees cut again

Liberal Democrat MEP for London Sarah Ludford has welcomed the coming into force of new EU caps on mobile phone roaming fees today, which will reduce the cost of data roaming by over a third and further reduce the cost of making calls and sending messages when visiting another EU country.

 

Sarah Ludford commented:

 

“These new rates have come just in time for families heading off on their summer holidays and will help to take the sting out of those shock mobile phone bills. Thanks to the new cap, the cost of data usage, checking your emails, social networks or GPS maps while abroad in another EU country will no longer be prohibitively expensive.”

 

Jobs boost for London as EU science deal struck

This week MEPs and national ministers in Brussels agreed on the new EU research and innovation programme "Horizon 2020".

 

Over the past five years, the current EU framework programme (FP7) has brought €3.73 billion in science funding to the UK, supporting cutting-edge research in areas such as stem-cell therapy, clean energy and nano-technology.

 

In the previous funding round, £10.2 million was granted to Kings College London for crucial research into anti-retroviral microbicides to tackle HIV, with other London universities also benefiting from research grants.

 

Sarah Ludford Liberal Democrat MEP for London said:

 

Letter to the Evening Standard: Response to Caspar Bowden on US snooping

Dear Sir,


I am bemused as to why 'independent privacy researcher' Caspar Bowden (letters June 24th) thinks he's the only person in the world to know about the threat of US national security legislation, and specifically the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, to the privacy of Europeans' personal data. 

 

I along with other MEPs specifically raised the risk of the FISA Act as well as the Patriot Act overruling EU data protection legislation in a November 2011 parliamentary question, a year before Mr Bowden’s report was published.

Letter to the Guardian: Shielding Europeans from snooping

Dear Sir/Madam,

 
Douwe Korff (24th June) was right to stress the importance of EU action to shield European citizens from snooping by intelligence services. MEPs including me have pushed Brussels for safeguards against intrusive intelligence powers for years.

New EU privacy legislation is currently under discussion. As a negotiator on the reforms, I'm demanding that it include a provision to ban a company complying with a foreign surveillance order unless a treaty between that country and the EU guarantees legal rights of appeal and redress for Europeans.
 

Letter to the Daily Telegraph: European Arrest Warrant

The absurd assertion by Tory MP Dominic Raab (June 20th, 'Britain likely to sign back up to 'reformed' European Arrest Warrant') that 'the Liberal Democrats are willing to sell out basic standards of British justice…in order to burnish their pro-European credentials' could not be further from the truth.

 

My aim in 14 years in the European Parliament has on the contrary been to champion British leadership on policing and legal matters - exemplified by fact that Europol has a British director - and to export British standards of justice.

 

Jeremy Forrest conviction shows importance of Euro Warrant

Jeremy Forrest has been convicted of child abduction by a court in Lewes today. Mr Forrest, a married maths teather, escaped to France with a 15-year-old pupil prompting an international police hunt.

 

Once apprehended by the police, Mr Forrest was swiftly extradited to Britain using the European Arrest Warrant to face criminal proceedings.

 

Mr Forrest was a teacher in Eastbourne at the time that he fled to France, but used to teach at a school in the London Borough of Bromley.

 

Commenting on Forrest’s conviction, LibDem European justice spokeswoman and London MEP Sarah Ludford said:

 

Parliament Magazine Article: EU data law necessary but insufficient protection against ‘Prism’

The aim of the ALDE group on the reform of EU data protection legislation is to have enforceable and workable standards which give consumers assurance that their fundamental rights are respected and companies the confidence they need to invest in innovative business models.

 

The revelations that the US National Security Agency has been trawling through ‘metadata’ from ISPs, telecoms companies and social media sites is of deep concern, especially while negotiations on this new Regulation are in train.

 

Letter to the Evening Standard: EU must act on internet snooping

Following the ‘Prism’ scandal, the EU must take action to shield European citizens from US-authorised snooping.

 

New EU data protection legislation currently is under discussion. I'm demanding a provision in it to ban recognition of a surveillance decision by a foreign court unless there is a treaty between that country and the European Union providing for legal rights of appeal and redress for EU citizens.

 

I was shocked that the European Commission caved into American pressure and dropped such a clause before the draft legislation was published. MEPs including me have pushed Brussels for safeguards against these intrusive powers for years. Now is the time to act, since without these guarantees the new EU privacy law will be severely prejudiced.

Boris Johnson airport case not persuasive

After a meeting in Brussels with the Mayor of London's aviation adviser Daniel Moylan who is also a Conservative Kensington councillor, at which he argued in favour of a huge new airport in the Thames Estuary - or at Stansted - which would involve the closure of Heathrow, Liberal Democrat MEP for London Sarah Ludford said:

 

“The Mayor and I can agree in opposing Heathrow expansion, although there are many Tories disgracefully supporting a Third Runway. Liberal Democrats are united in refusing to impose further noise and air pollution on the residents of West London.”
 

PRISM and data protection: Commissioner's answers inadequate

Appearing before MEPs, European Commission Vice-President Viviane Reding, responsible for data protection, has failed to confirm that she would positively support the reinsertion in the draft new EU data protection law of an 'anti-FISA' clause as called for by MEPs including ALDE shadow rapporteur Sarah Ludford.

 

Politics.co.uk article: I'm trying to challenge Prism – not help it

This comment piece is a response to a Politics.co.uk article published on Thursday.

The aim of the ALDE group on the reform of EU data protection legislation is to have enforceable and workable standards which give consumers assurance that their fundamental rights are respected and companies the confidence they need to invest in innovative business models.

Europeans must be protected from Prism snooping

Liberal Democrat MEP Sarah Ludford, ALDE group shadow rapporteur on the update of EU data protection law, is demanding that an 'anti-FISA' clause be reintroduced in the text of the proposed new Regulation.

 

She wants to ensure that EU customers are shielded from US National Security Agency data-mining authorised by the Patriot Act and the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court, such as the recently revealed 'PRISM' programme.

 

Sarah Ludford said:

 

"MEPs including me have been pushing the European Commission for years about how the EU can safeguard Europeans against these intrusive powers, but we have been given the brush-off."

 

British Influence article: ‘Prism’ highlights need for robust EU-US dialogue

There have been increasing intrusions on the right to privacy on both sides of the Atlantic in the last decade under the cover of the ‘war on terror’. With individuals sharing more and more information about their lives not only in emails and phonecalls but with hundreds of ‘friends’ and ‘followers’ on social networking sites, the appetite of the law enforcement and security services for snooping on us has inevitably grown.

 

Optout puts public safety at risk

LibDem European justice & human rights spokeswoman and MEP for London Sarah Ludford has backed the Justice Across Borders campaign against the government’s plan to opt out of 130 European police and criminal justice measures.

 

Justice Across Borders will hold a demonstration against the optout today outside Parliament, which has celebrity backing from Stephen Fry. The demonstration is also supported by Anti-Slavery International and the children’s charity ECPAT UK. Figures from ECPAT UK show that at least 500 children will be put at risk of trafficking and abuse every year if the optout goes ahead.

 

MPs will also debate the possible optout in an Opposition Day debate in the House of Commons this afternoon.

 

Lazy UKIP MEP letting down Londoners

Attendance figures for MEPs have revealed that Liberal Democrat MEPs are the hardest working in Britain, while UKIP has been shown to be the laziest party in Europe.

 

Figures from VoteWatch Europe show that UKIP’s 11 MEPs have missed a third of all votes, twice the average across Europe. The Lib Dems are the hardest working UK party in Brussels, attending 87% of votes.

 

London MEP Sarah Ludford (LibDem) has attended 93% of roll call votes. In contrast UKIP’s Gerard Batten had a poor participation rate of 66.63%, ranking a meagre 709 out of 752 MEPs. Syed Kamall’s (Conservative) attendance rate is even worse at 62% (729 out of 752).

 

Europol opt in crucial for fight against crime

The House of Lords cross-party EU Committee has recommended that the UK should opt in to a proposed new EU law which increases the ability of the European police agency Europol to cope with the threat of organised crime and terrorism.

 

Europol has no executive or coercive powers to conduct investigations or make arrests in the Member States. The new Regulation strengthens its capability as a hub for information exchange and analysis on serious crime. The British police would get better access to the agency’s resources and intelligence on crimes like drug trafficking, money laundering, cybercrime, human trafficking, and counterfeiting.

 

Reform EU sugar policy to protect Tate & Lyle

 

Liberal Democrat MEP for London Sarah Ludford has welcomed the coalition government’s continued commitment to the reform of EU sugar policy, which is vital for the future of 850 jobs at Tate & Lyle’s cane sugar refinery in Silvertown, east London.

 

LibDem Voice Article: Creating EU Data Protection rules that safeguard both privacy and jobs

As those who read this LibDem Voice article by Peter Bradwell of Open Rights group will know, I am currently the ALDE group ‘shadow rapporteur’ on the draft EU Data Protection Regulation in the European Parliament. 

EU Data Protection, dialogue on draft Regulation

EU Observer, 29 May 2013: New EU data law could end up weaker than old one

BRUSSELS - Backroom discussions among pro-industry MEPs and lobbying efforts by large companies risks undermining fundamental rights in one of the largest EU legislative proposals to ever hit the European Parliament floor.

The victim of the opaque debates surrounding the draft EU data protection regulation is the citizen and the democratic credibility of the European Union as a whole, German Green Jan Philip Albrecht told this website in an interview on Wednesday (29 May).

End the roaming rip-off

Liberal Democrat MEP for London Sarah Ludford has welcomed the strong proposal of Commissioner Neelie Kroes to abandon mobile roaming charges in Europe by Easter 2014. By then, Kroes said, the EU could deliver legislation to end these charges on consumers using a mobile phone outside their home country.

 

Commenting on this proposal, Sarah Ludford MEP said:

 

“I fully support Commissioner Kroes in her ambition to create a roaming-free Europe. Having been hit by excessive roaming charges myself, I want to see a situation where Londoners are no longer afraid about the cost of using their mobile phones abroad.”

 

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