What Does an MEP do, what can I do for the Region?
What does an MEP actually do, why is it important…?
Your MEP is your voice in Brussels and allows you to be represented in the European Union. The North West Euro Constituency as a ‘peripheral region’ needs a strong voice in Europe. The European Parliament is an increasingly important forum for decisions affecting the region.
An MEP’s main task is to vote on European legislation, just as TDs and Senators vote on national legislation. European legislation is binding across the whole of the European Union.
The EU does not and cannot (under the treaties) legislate in areas that are national competences such as education, local authorities, income tax, health and Hospitals.
EU legislation is normally adopted jointly by the European Parliament and the Council, which is composed of ministers from national governments of each of the 25 Member States. Both Parliament and Council hold two readings of draft legislation and if, by then, they have not agreed on the same text, a conciliation committee negotiates a compromise which must then be approved by Parliament and Council.
This detailed scrutiny ensures that European legislation is acceptable both to the representatives of national governments and to MEPs whom the electorate has directly chosen to represent them.
In the Oireachtas when the government publishes a bill and uses the party whip to push legislation through, the TDs are little more than rubber-stamps for the government.
In the European Parliament MEPs have the power to amend and rewrite draft directives from the commission.
In the Oireachtas being an opposition party TD often offers very limited power. MEPs, on the other hand, can play a significant role in shaping legislation
Additionally and importantly for the North West region, MEPs through the Committee system can effect substantial change. An example of one of the 23 committees is the Committee on Rural and Agricultural policy; AGRI which is the Committee responsible for:
The operation and development of the common agricultural policy; rural development, including the activities of the relevant financial instruments; legislation on:
Veterinary and plant-health matters, animal feeding stuffs provided such measures are not intended to protect against risks to human health, animal husbandry and welfare; the improvement of the quality of agricultural products; supplies of agricultural raw materials; the Community Plant Variety Office; forestry.
The AGRI committee is primarily responsible for examining and, where necessary, amending the European Commission’s legislative proposals by preparing reports on agricultural policy for subsequent adoption by the European Parliament in plenary. The powers and responsibilities of this and other committees are more important than ever now. Since the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, the European Parliament has the power of co-decision, with the Council of Agriculture Ministers, on the common agricultural policy (CAP).
Thus it can be seen that MEPs play an important role in shaping policy that has the potential to affect the livelihoods of ordinary people across the North West region.
I wish to use the wider platform that a member of the European Parliament has, to achieve positive outcomes for the Region in which I live and in which my family and friends live.
I have seen too many promises to this region go unfulfilled, too many empty political gestures (Roscommon Hospital, Job creation, protecting rural communities and tax increases).
I have seen a sense of despair return as emigration and lack of opportunities pull youth and energy out of our communities. I see the vulnerable being ignored as vital services in education and the elderly are cut back.
The rural regions of this country are being betrayed and we are allowing the tragedy of the 1980’s to repeat itself. All I can promise is to bring a track record of fighting for the vulnerable and the marginal to Europe on your behalf. I do not take on issues for the power for popularity, I do it because it is the right thing to do. I will stand up for our communities, for jobs, for the vulnerable, for human dignity and for the region both in Europe and at home.
I have expertise in Europe. I know how to build alliances to deliver to our region. For example I stood up for the right of conscientious objection for health workers when I was on the Council of Europe by tabling numerous amendments to a controversial report that would restrict rights to conscientious objection. I can build working relationships and I succeeded in that effort.
With your support I hope to succeed for our region