I have worked for many years to defend artists whose livelihoods are at
stake with the growth of online video platforms.
It’s something which is very much on the agenda in the European Parliament with the current Commission’s Single Market reforms under way.
It is known that companies like YouTube have changed the way we listen to
music. The digital revolution has made music more accessible than ever
before, and many of today’s stars have established themselves through
social media. The same can be said for the film industry. And for many
unknown artists it’s been an enabling platform which has helped to ensure
their music (or whichever medium they use) is accessible to an audience
that it may never have reached previously, in the days of CDs or… tapes!
However, there are associated problems with this so-called revolution.
Many artists find they are in a weak negotiating position and find it
difficult to ensure they receive proper remuneration from online
It is much harder to monitor sales digitally than tracking sales of CDs or
DVDs for instance. Worse still many of the biggest internet platforms pay
pitiful amounts for the content uploaded to their services.
Therefore, I am backing an artist’s right to fair remuneration to be
included in the EU’s upcoming copyright reform legislation. Artists should
receive the same remuneration whether their work is enjoyed online or
offline – no ifs, no buts.
Today I’m coming together with MEPs from across the political spectrum, to
host an event with the Fair Internet Coalition and the Society of Audio
Visual Authors, hoping to raise awareness of the difficulties artists face
online, by hearing directly from the artists themselves.
By working together with artists, the creative sector and legislators at a
European level, I hope we can achieve a level playing field online and
ensure a sustainable future for the next generation of Europe’s artists
Jean Claude Juncker is struggling to encourage member states to propose women to join his team of commissioners.
He has said he will do all he can to encourage member states to get more women candidates; however he hasn’t said exactly how he proposes to do this.
Under Jose Manuel Barroso nine of the 28 commissioners were women, but sources close to Juncker have said that the current nominees being put forward fall short of this ratio.
When Juncker submits his fall line-up of 28 commissioners next month he is likely to be worried if only a handful are women.
Of the states who have declared their representatives, just Luxemburg has named a woman, Martine Reicherst as its commissioner designate. Meanwhile, the ex Finnish Premier Jyrki Katainen will be the interim Economic Affairs Commissioner to replace Olli Rehn, who left office early to take a seat in the European Parliament.
Germany and Austria followed by renaming their current commissioner representatives, Guenther Oettinger and Johannes Hahn, both men. And Malta’s choice is also a man.
Poland’s deputy Finance Minister Jacek Dominik will replace the incumbent EU Commissioner for Financial Programming and Budget, while Italy has Ferdinando Nelli Feroci as its comissioner designate.
It will be interesting to see who the UK chooses for its representative. There are various names have been rumoured, none of which to my knowledge are women. The UK doesn’t have long to decide as nominees must be put forward in the next week.
Many constituents have written to me in recent months regarding proposed new EU regulations for motorbikes and motorcyclists. As a result I have taken an especial interest in this issue and have pressed the Commission to reconsider the proposals. I am glad that the Federation of European Motorcyclists felt I was able to help their cause in this way as I firmly believe that the EU should never restrict citizen’s freedoms without genuine justification. I feel that this particular development has actually managed to highlight nearly all of the usual issues that arise while making laws at the EU level, namely, insufficient consultation by the Commission of European citizens, wild misrepresentations of actual legislation within national medias and right wing eurosceptics trying to hop on every unpopular bandwagon without actually doing anything.
The proposals that are going through at the moment are actually very well intentioned, designed to make riding safer and some of them, like insisting that new bikes are fitted with warning systems similar to cars, can only be a good idea. However, others, like the anti-tampering measures, will actually do more harm than good. This is because many motorcyclists within the EU, not least in the UK, have strong traditions of building and modifying their own bikes and are often expert at it. The Commission has failed to convince me that simply because 0.7% of accidents are related to modifications the whole practice is inherently unsafe.
Of course, much of what is involved in the proposals has been grossly misrepresented. There have been rumours that the EU is forcing all motorcyclists to wear reflective clothing; this is absolutely not the case (although reflective clothing is in itself a good thing). It has also been propagated that the on-board safety alerts will be used as a justification for more police checks. Again, absolutely false. These are just examples of how anti-EU groups not only bend the truth but actively circulate falsehoods about the EU in order to garner support.
Now we come on to the issue of UKIP and how they are pretending to be the only group fighting for the rights of motorcyclists. This is categorically not true. They might have talked a lot about it and offered their “support” but given that they always abstain on every single vote in the Parliament how they plan to do that is not clear. This is the problem with not engaging with the Parliamentary system that pays you – you can’t influence it even when your constituents would want you to. Nor have UKIP tabled any amendments to the bill in order to remove the concerning aspects. Rather, that job has been left to Labour MEPs and our allies in the Socialist and Democrat party. Hopefully we should be able to put paid to the anti-tampering proposals and safeguard the freedom of British motorcyclists.