1. London and UK
Jean spoke on Green politics at a public meeting in Newham, organised by
local Greens. She also spoke at a public event in Walthamstow,
addressing the question 'can we improve on junk food and supermarkets?'
As part of an ongoing campaign to improve London's air quality, Jean
visited an air quality monitoring site on the Holloway Road with local
Green campaigners. Air quality monitored at the site has breached EU
standards for nitrogen dioxide, a gas which can cause major respiratory
problems. Jean has raised the issue of London's air quality breaches
with the Commission, who have acknowledged that further action may be taken.
Jean promoted launched a project at Hackney City Farm, which gives
language and green skills to asylum seekers, as part of the Back to
Earth programme. The programme receives EU funding.
To promote local social enterprise and IT refurbishment and recycling,
Jean visited the Maxitech social enterprise in Haringey. Maxitech
recycles and refurbishes old computers, and recently won a Local
Authority Waste and Recycling Magazine's recycler of the month award.
In the lead up to International Women's Day, and to mark that occasion,
Jean spoke to two groups of girls at Walthamstow Girls School. She spoke
about her work as a Green MEP.
Jean is on the European Parliament committee investigation extraordinary
rendition. To tie in with this, Jean was one of the speakers at a
Liberty public meeting at the LSE, 'No Torture - No Compromise:
Extraordinary Rendition' which was chaired by Liberty Director, Shami
Jean was a guest speaker at the Chartist 'Beyond the Consensus'
conference at the LSE. Sharing the platform with Michael Meacher, she
focused on Green and European issues.
Action on Education
As part of the NUS week of action against the UK Government's higher
education funding plans, Jean was one of the main speakers at a rally in
Birmingham. She signed up to the Coalition 2010 campaign, a coalition of
unions and students opposing Government plans to remove the cap on
top-up fees. Jean told the rally that the Greens are opposed to top-up
and tuition fees.
Launch of 'I Must Work Harder?'
Jean's new report on work/life balance, stress and the UK's opt-out from
the Working Directive was launched in late February. The UK has some of
the longest working hours in Europe, which is undermining workers health
and business productivity. Jean's report is calling for the UK to end
its opt-out as the key way of addressing work-stress and poor
productivity. As part of the launch event, Jean gave out Green Group
stress balls to busy office workers in Paternoster Square, near St
Paul's Cathedral, and was accompanied by a 'clock juggler' trying to
juggle time. Jean gave public talks on the report in Camden and as part
of the Cafe Diplo season of events at the Institut Francais in
Kensington. The report is available in hard copy from Jean's London
office or at:
International Women's Day
Jean spoke on the subject of 'women in politics' at the University of
Westminster's 'Politics, International Relations and Diplomacy' Careers
Jean spoke at the War On Want conference, 'Land, Bread, Freedom: Popular
struggles against corporate power' in Bloomsbury, alongside activists
from Uganda and Brazil.
Turkey, EU and the Kurds
Jean was a panel speaker at this event held at the Halkevi Turkish and
Kurdish Community Centre in Stoke Newington, Hackney. Jean shared the
platform with Kurdish and Turkish speakers, and gave an EU perspective
on how the accession process could benefit democracy and human rights
for Kurds and Turks.
The ban on Moscow's Gay Pride Festival was met with protests outside the
Russian Embassy in London. Jean supported the protests and issued a
statement calling on Moscow to lift the ban immediately.
Jean was one of the main speakers at a London seminar organised by the
OWFI, the Organisation of Women's Freedom in Iraq.
Jean was on the panel of BBC1's Question Time in Salisbury, in early March.
2. Brussels and Strasbourg
Free Movement High Level Round Table
As author of Parliament's Report on 1408/71 (Coordination of Social
Security Systems) and having worked closely with the European Citizen
Action Service on the myths associated with free movement, Jean was
invited to speak on this issue along side a high level panel which
included Commissioner Spidla, ETUC Secretary General John Monks and
Philippe de Buck, Secretary General of UNICE. The Conference aimed to
raise awareness of 2006 as the year of workers mobility.
CRE Meeting and Reception
As Vice-President of the Anti-discrimination Intergroup, Jean hosted a
meeting and Reception with the Commission for Racial Equality. The
meeting - which was oversubscribed - focussed on race relations in 21st
Century Europe. CRE Chair Trevor Philips opened the panel debate.
Submission of Opinion
Jean has been nominated to author the Employment Committee's Opinion on
fighting trafficking in human beings. Her Opinion will be debated on in
the Committee on the 21st March. The final vote on the Report will take
place during the June Session.
Services Directive Vote and Demo
The Services Directive vote took place on February 16th. The
controversial Report was in the end amended and approved by the European
Parliament. However, while labour law and many important services such
as health care were excluded from its scope, some social services were
kept in. Jean therefore voted against the Directive warning that it does
not provide adequate protection for public services. Prior to the vote
Jean - along with thousands of others - took part in a public
demonstration through the streets of Strasbourg. For more information
visit Jean's website where you can also download her latest Report on
services as well as the Green Group campaign document.
Climate Change Campaign
On the eve of the first anniversary of the Kyoto Protocol's entry into
force, the Greens launched a Joint European Climate Change Campaign in
Strasbourg. At the press launch, Jean and other Green MEPs wore
raincoats and put up their umbrellas in order to bring attention to the
3. Comment on Current Affairs
14 February 2006 - Extract from speech to Plenary ahead of Services
Listening to the debate this afternoon, I have a feeling that the vote
has already taken place, because people are talking with such certainty
about what is in and what is out. Nothing is out until we vote on
It is certainly clear that this directive needed a rewrite. It is a pity
that Parliament is doing it; we asked the Commission to take it off the
table and rewrite it, but it would not do so. As others have said, many
of us here have found that the Commission's behaviour during the whole
debate about the directive has been highly problematic. We have been
unable to get clarity; unable to get answers to specific questions; and
there has been a lack of public response to amendments tabled, not least
in our committee meetings, as well as a lack of an effective social
impact assessment, which might have gone some way to allaying public
fears about what is in this.
Many of us have had big problems with the whole country of origin theory
- I do not think it is a principle - and how this, for example, might
fit with the ability of Member States to seek higher standards, which is
also allowed. Again, many of our questions about how the overriding
public interest will come into play in this have not been fully answered.
I would agree that health should be taken out of this directive; it
should never have been there in the first place, and many of us look
forward to a speedy proposal from the Commission on the issues of
patient mobility and not service mobility, which is why it should not
have been in the directive in the first place.
4. Dates for the Diary
7 March - Green Group Enlarged Bureau, Vienna
8 March - International Women's Day
9 March - Free Movement of Labour Conference, Brussels
6 -19 March - Fairtrade Fortnight
16-19 March - Green Party Conference, Scarborough
18 March - Troops Home From Iraq/Don't Attack Iran Demo, Parliament Square
21 March, 26 March, and throughout March - Newroz, Kurdish New Year
22 March - Dublin Foundation Working Lunch and Report Launch, Brussels
23-26 March - Women and Global Justice event, Greenwich
25 March - Power Commission conference, Queen Elizabeth II Centre
26 March - Bangladesh Independence and National Day