Molly joined other Green MEPs in having her urine tested for levels of glyphosate and her results confirm the presence of unsafe levels of the “probably carcinogenic” weedkiller in her body. Molly says:
“With ongoing controversy over the health risks of glyphosate, we can sure of one thing: it has no place in the human body. There are also deep concerns about its impact on biodiversity, with evidence that it has detrimental impacts on the honey bee, monarch butterfly, skylark and earthworm populations, and poses a threat to the quality of our soil.
“We also risk handing control of our food supply over to agribusiness. Corporate giant Monsanto produces both Roundup, the world’s leading glyphosate-based weed killer, and glyphosate-resistant GM crops. A marriage of convenience which enables corporate control of food production.”
Coverage in the Guardian
Coverage in Farming UK
Molly calls for an end to European funding of incineration
Molly has written to the European Investment Bank (EIB) challenging it over its support for incineration projects which currently top half a billion pounds in the UK. In particular she highlights the controversial St Dennis waste to energy facility in Cornwall which is benefiting from an £80m loan from the EIB.
Molly has called on the bank to follow the recommendations of the Waste Framework Directive and prioritise investment in waste prevention, re-use and recycling. She says:
“The EIB needs to prioritise job-rich activities such as renewables and resource efficiency. Incineration means valuable materials are being lost from the economy. We need to create a circular economy where resources are reused time and again and waste is eliminated. This is the spirit of the new Circular Economy package that has been adopted by the European Commission.”
Worst fears confirmed by TTIP leaks
Molly and fellow Greens say that their worst fears about the on-going EU-US Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) trade deal have been confirmed following a leak of documents to Greenpeace. Molly, a longstanding critic of TTIP, says:
“The leaked documents prove what the Green Group in the European Parliament has been arguing for several years: TTIP is not a trade treaty but a corporate power grab. Taken as a whole the documents prove our worst fears about a race to the bottom on environmental and social standards. They also indicate a bleak future for European farmers who will not be able to compete with the flood of poor quality US food imports.”
However, Molly says TTIP is not a good reason to leave the EU:
“This treaty cannot be pushed through without the agreement of the European Parliament and all 28 members of the EU. If a majority of MEPs vote against it, we can stop it in its tracks. There is huge momentum against TTIP across Europe and 3.5 million EU citizens have signed a petition calling for the deal to be abandoned. Brexit would weaken the Stop TTIP campaign as it would lose the vital contribution of UK campaigners. Those using TTIP as an argument to leave the EU must be clear that the UK government would be seeking a trade treaty at least as bad as TTIP.”
Brexit threat to region’s language schools
During a visit to Dorset Molly learned how leaving the EU could impact on language schools. Bournemouth is the second choice in the UK for foreign language students outside London. Molly was told how language students benefit the local economy to the tune of around £200m a year, according to a Bournemouth University impact study. A further study by Universities UK has revealed that EU students at universities in the UK contribute over £3.7bn to the economy. Molly says:
“EU students make an important contribution to the local economy, both through attendance at language schools and two highly popular universities in Bournemouth & Poole. But the Tory Government’s immigration policy and the despicable language used by some Leave campaigners during the referendum campaign is portraying this country as hostile to international students. Leaving the EU and putting up barriers to work and study makes it more likely that European students and researchers will choose to go elsewhere.”
Approximately once every four weeks MEPs meet in Strasbourg to debate and vote on proposed legislation. Here is a selection of news from the latest week-long plenary session.
US as a tax haven
The Greens published a new report on why the United States is becoming the biggest tax haven on the planet. Molly says:
“The evidence points to the US becoming one of the largest tax havens and the EU should not stand by and accept this. We need them to sign up to the highest international standards of transparency.”
More information here and here
Small step towards corporate tax transparency
New EU rules obliging the largest corporations operating in the EU to report their activities to tax administrations have been endorsed by MEPs. The new measure is a step forward but falls short of the full public country-by-country reporting obligations demanded by the European Parliament. Greens put forward an amendment which would have widened the reporting obligation to cover a larger number of multinational companies, but the proposal fell.
Reforming EU asylum policy
MEPs debated proposals by the European Commission for reforming the EU’s system of asylum rules. Green MEPs used the debate to make the case that we need to take much greater account of asylum seekers’ preferences and existing ties. Otherwise, asylum seekers will continue to take dangerous routes and use people smugglers to avoid this broken system.