Brussels Dispatch: Human Action in action in the European Parliament


I mentioned in last week’s blog that one of my main duties at work is to draft the amendments to the reports and opinions that pass through the Development and Foreign Affairs committees. These are the two committees that the Viceroy sits on – commonly known here by their respective abbreviations DEVE and AFET. The Viceroy is an old nickname coined for Nirj by Fr. Michael Seed some 25 years ago.

An amendment works like this; the text on the left is the actual proposed text as drafted by the rapporteur. Members of that committee then mark in bold italics that part which they want deleting, and consequently, in the text on the right, they mark in bold italics that text which they propose to add. Both are then bundled together and taken as one vote in the relevant committee. In this way, we table amendments to delete the socialism and insert the laissez-faire. Sometimes, we even win.

Here is a good example from the past week – this amendment is to an opinion written by Mrs. Kinnock.

I would be very interested to see how Dispatch readers would have rendered this amendment.

Draft opinion

Paragraph 6

Draft opinion
Stresses that, as the financial crisis develops into a deepening recession, developing countries could be set back by decades as a result of falling commodity prices, lower investment flows, financial instability, and a decline in remittances; further notes that the value of existing EU aid commitments will fall by nearly USD 12 billion a year, because they are expressed as a percentage of Member State GDP Stresses that, as the financial crisis develops into a deepening recession, developing countries now have a historic opportunity to take advantage of the decline in Foreign Direct Investment flows by exploiting their competitive advantage of low labour costs – this is especially true at the present time when the existing EU donors are increasingly burdening themselves with such costs (minimum wage, employer social security contributions, union ‘rights’, over-regulation etc.) which can only serve to accelerate investment flight to the developing world