Commissioner-Designate Reding, whose proposed portfolio is civil liberties, justice and home affairs, has just given an impressive performance at her Hearing. I made a point of being there as her brief also includes women’s rights. Although I didn’t agree with everything Mrs Reding said, especially her equivocation whether or not she would introduce a Directive combating violence against women, I believe her heart is in the right place. She has, after all, a strong record on women’s issues, and as she herself said regarding her appearance before members of the Women’s Committee, “la boucle est bouclée”; “horses for courses” in other words.
It was, therefore, a great shame that London Tory MEP Marina Yannakoudakis chose to put a fly in the ointment. While all the other questions from most of the political groups in the European Parliament dealt with matters of policy such as the gender pay gap, female genital mutilation and the forthcoming Bejing Conference, Marina Yannakoudakis chose to make the point that it is the EU sovereign states that are best placed to deal with matters of criminal law, such as violence.
I read this as Tory code for the British Conservatives do not wish to be in the European Union. Phrased in the way it was, Mrs Yannakoudakis’s question was very anti-European and very much out of step with the rest of the MEPs present. Though not as blatant as Charles Tannock yesterday, Marina Yannakoudakis is clearly in the same mould. There is now no doubt tha the Tories in Europe are moving further and further to the right.