Graham Watson MEP
Liberal Democrat Member of the European Parliament for South West England and Gibraltar
A local champion with an international reputation
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Published on Tuesday 18th June 2013
Bristol has succeeded in its attempt to become a 'European Green Capital'. The city will now prepare for taking on the mantle after the announcement in the French city of Nantes. Lib Dem MEP for Bristol Sir Graham Watson, a member of Bristol's bid team, expressed his delight upon hearing the good news.
'As the poet John Betjeman wrote', he said, 'a star shines over Bristol, wonderfully far and high'.
Published on Friday 14th June 2013
Sir Graham Watson, Liberal Democrat MEP for the South West, has welcomed the Liberal Democrat Million Jobs Campaign, which was launched by Liberal Democrat Leader and Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg today. More than one million private sector jobs have been created since the Coalition Government came to power. Liberal Democrats now want to create a million more.
This will build on what Liberal Democrats in the Coalition Government have already achieved.
Published on Wednesday 12th June 2013
LibDem MEP for the South West and author of key EU crime fighting legislation Sir Graham Watson 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 has launched a campaign and demonstrations alongside actor Stephen Fry over Conservative driven plans to opt out of the European Arrest Warrant and other key crime fighting measures which have led to the arrest and return of hundreds of fugitives.
The campaign is also supported by children's charity ECPAT UK, who campaign to look after and protect vulnerable children. 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.
Published on Tuesday 4th June 2013
Europe's common fisheries policy is set for radical reform after negotiators for EU governments and the European Parliament reached agreement in Brussels at 03.20 this morning.
Supporters of the deal claim that it paves the way for rebuilding Europe's depleted fish stocks and curbing the discard of millions of tonnes of fish each year.
An obligation to land all pelagic fish, such as mackerel, will commence from 1 January 2015.
Published on Friday 24th May 2013
Liberal Democrat MEP for South West England and Gibraltar Sir Graham Watson cheered from the terraces during today's vote by the UEFA congress to grant the Rock full entry into football's governing body for Europe.
"Gibraltar has worked long and hard to achieve this goal. I pay tribute to everyone at the Gibraltar Football Association for their patience and determination to make this happen.
"I have backed recent attempts by the Rock to join UEFA because I insist that my constituents have every right to access top league football.
Published on Wednesday 22nd May 2013
Liberal Democrat MEP for Bristol Sir Graham Watson will join a delegation from the city in Brussels this Friday to back the city's European Green Capital bid for 2015.
Sir Graham took part in the bid's presentation last year following the city's shortlisting and is hoping to go one step better this year and take the prize. The other shortlisted cities are Brussels, Glasgow and the Slovenian capital Ljubljana.
Watson, who is also Chairman of the Climate Parliament, an international body of MPs campaigning to tackle climate change commented,
"Once again it is a great pleasure to join the Bristol Green Capital team to make our pitch for the European Green Capital prize.
Published on Tuesday 14th May 2013
South West England MEP Sir Graham Watson is backing calls from constituents to stamp out attempts to restrict the availability and strength of e-cigarettes.
E-cigarettes provide users with a nicotine boost similar to conventional cigarettes, but contain none of the ingredients connected to smoking related disease such as tar or tobacco.
Last year, over 700,000 people took to lighting up an electronic fag. This year that figure is set to top one million.
Published on Thursday 9th May 2013
Following a visit to the RSPCA wildlife rescue centre at West Hatch, Somerset, South West Lib Dem Euro-MP Sir Graham Watson has urged the government and the European Commission to take action on the source of major pollution that has led to the washing up of nearly 3,000 birds off the Devon, Dorset and Cornish coast this year.
The birds are believed to have been polluted by chemicals discharged from ships sailing through the English Channel. The substance is thought to be Polyisobutene (PIB), a sticky rubber like substance used in a variety of commercial products. Ships clean out their tanks after leaving port, dumping residue PIB into the sea.
Published on Tuesday 23rd April 2013
A report released today (Tuesday 23 April) by the House of Lords EU Committee argues that the Government has failed to make a convincing case for a 'mass' opt out from a set of EU police and criminal justice cooperation measures, and that such a move would in fact prejudice the UK's security.
South West England Liberal Democrat MEP Sir Graham Watson commented:
"This cross-party report should bring to a halt the Tory plan for the UK to pull out of essential EU cooperation against criminals and terrorists. It makes crystal clear, on the basis of expert evidence, that this unnecessary opt out puts at risk the safety of UK citizens."
"It would be extraordinary if the Tories - who have long claimed to be the self-styled party of 'law and order' - were to put prejudice before precaution in pressing ahead with withdrawal from key European crime-fighting measures.
Published on Wednesday 17th April 2013
Representatives of Sherborne, Dorset are set to launch an exhibition tonight within the European Parliament highlighting their successful town twinning scheme.
Whilst many towns are involved with individual twinning agreements, Sherborne is twinned with towns in all 26 other European Union member states.
In 1989 Sherborne along with Granville, in Normandy, France sought to twin themselves with towns across (the then 12 Member States of) the European Community.
The alliance became known as the "Douzelage", taking its name from "Douze" and its 12 original members and "jumelage" for twinning.
Published on Tuesday 16th April 2013
Member of the European Parliament Sir Graham Watson has called on coastal communities to work together to form new Marine Conservation Zones.
Speaking in the Strasbourg chamber of the European Parliament, Watson referred to a recent survey carried out by his office which showed that 99% of constituents wanted to see more Marine Conservation Zones around the south west coastline.
Marine Conservation Zones are conservation areas set up to protect and repair damaged aquacultures.
On the south coast, Lyme Bay and Torbay have adopted MCZ's.
Published on Wednesday 27th March 2013
South West MEP for the Liberal Democrats Sir Graham Watson has welcomed continued European funding for the region as the government announces a £6.17 billion pot for the 2014-2020 spending round.
The figure represents a 5% cut to the previous six year spending round, broadly in line with the overall cut to the EU budget negotiated by national governments last month.
A breakdown of how much each Local Economic Partnership (LEP) will receive is due to be announced shortly.
Published on Tuesday 26th March 2013
Langport based Member of the European Parliament Sir Graham Watson has joined the campaign to open a public display and exhibition in the town of its famous son, Walter Bagehot.
Bagehot, an essayist and businessman who was born in the town is most famously known for founding The Economist magazine, a weekly account of currentl affairs across the world and at home. One of his most famous works, The English Constitution, has since been translated into numerous languages and used by aspiring British heirs apparent and politicians preparing to become head of state or hold high office.
This week the Langport Town Trust have formally launched their public appeal to raise funds for the upkeep of Bagehot's grave and towards the rent of a dedicated premises in the town to exhibit archives and examples of his work.
Published on Tuesday 26th March 2013
Bristol's Lib Dem MEP Sir Graham Watson has welcomed the city's inclusion on the European Green Capital shortlist for 2015.
Last year the City reached the final but unfortunately failed to win the full backing of the judges, awarding the 2014 capital to Copenhagen, capital of Denmark. Sir Graham was part of the team that made its pitch to the judging panel in Brussels.
Cities are judged on a variety of parameters, including air pollution, water consumption, public transport provision and the cities own contribution to tackling climate change.
Published on Friday 22nd March 2013
North Devon's Liberal Democrat MEP Sir Graham Watson has welcomed the news that £2 million worth of contracts to build and maintain the proposed Atlantic Array offshore wind farm in the Severn Estuary have been awarded to Devon businesses. A further £1.98 million has been awarded to South West firms.
Sir Graham has also noted the changes to the proposed scheme by RWE Power following concerns by environmental campaigners and residents.
- Thousands of Brits at Risk of Cypriot Bank Levy- MEP
- Airline passengers receive free upgrade….of their rights
- “One step forward, two steps back”- Watson on CAP vote disappointment
- Lib Dems Urge for a Modern CAP Ahead of Crunch Vote
- Statement on Moldova, Wednesday 6th March 2013
- Watson – Don’t delay on discards
- Graham's Newsletter Friday 22nd February 2013
- MEP Seeks Funding for Dulverton Weir
- Watson hails fish fight victory at European Parliament
- MEPs want silent cars to make some noise
Every week Graham writes a newsletter letting you know what has been happing in Europe over the past week. You can subscribe to receive this by email here. Below are the last editions.