Graham Watson MEP
Liberal Democrat Member of the European Parliament for South West England and Gibraltar
A local champion with an international reputation
Get Email Updates
Published on Tuesday 5th February 2013
South West Euro-MP for the Liberal Democrats Sir Graham Watson has urged national governments to focus their efforts on industry and jobs during this week's round of EU budget talks. He has also backed calls to defend funding for innovation and research during a debate in the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
Negotiations on the European Union's long term budget are ongoing. However, following a House of Commons vote by Labour and rebel backbench Conservatives to call for a real terms cut in the Multi Annual Financial Framework (MAFF), there is a concern that funding for regional investment, science and innovation and rural development could be cut.
The United Kingdom is currently a net beneficiary of the European Union's research and innovation funding. The University of Exeter is a partner in one of the flagships of this funding, the Human Brain Project, an attempt to map the human brain which could lead to advances in tackling Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.
"If we are to see a real terms cut in the budget that Labour and Conservatives seek, that means less money going to our universities and entrepreneurs to research and develop new technology. New products create new high tech jobs. Technology can boost industry, regenerate manufacturing and create new ways to tackle diseases which otherwise burden our health and care services for decades as Britain's population gets older.
"Cutting the budget could hurt growth and stifle major investment projects in our infrastructure, prevent businesses getting access to advice and support and hindering the creation of super energy grids that would allow Europe to become self sustaining in its electricity generation.
"I urge David Cameron and other European leaders to seek to maximise savings in back office costs and to abolish the Strasbourg seat of Parliament. Holding all of our meetings in one location in Brussels could save British taxpayers £180 million a year and would ensure that vital funding such as the Human Brain Project would be protected.
The full video can be found at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8_Lnyg4-Zz8&feature=youtu.be