Commission Question – Erasmus Mundus and IT

Question to the Commission for written answer E-009119/2015

Rule 130

Jonathan Arnott (EFDD)

Subject: Erasmus Mundus and IT

Does the EU provide training in computer science, information technology and/or related disciplines under the Erasmus Mundus scheme?

Is this training available to students from the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region? How many students from MENA countries have studied these disciplines since 2004?



Answer given on behalf of the Commission by Mr Navracsics (7.8.2015)

Under the programme Erasmus Mundus and Erasmus+ the EU has offered opportunities for students and doctoral candidates from all over the world to apply for scholarships for Joint Masters Degrees and for Joint Doctorates. Comprehensive information on programmes for students from third countries can be found on the Commission’s website1.

The Commission is sending directly to the Honourable Member and to Parliament’s Secretariat tables on training participation of students from the MENA region.


Commission Question – Leaving the European Convention on Human Rights

Question to the Commission for written answer E-009118/2015

Jonathan Arnott (EFDD)

Subject: Leaving the European Convention on Human Rights

The British Prime Minister has not ruled out the possibility of Britain seceding from the European Convention on Human Rights. Under current EU law, is this compatible with continued British membership of the European Union?



Answer given on behalf of the Commission by Ms Jourová (7.8.2015)

 The Commission is not aware that any Member State has expressed its intention to withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights, and hopes that such a situation would remain purely hypothetical.

The Commission would also like to refer the Honourable Member to its joint reply to questions P-002853/11 and E-002857/11.

Commission Question – Amicus Curiae briefs

Question to the Commission for written answer E-009124/2015

Subject: Amicus Curiae briefs

Could the Commission provide details of how many Amicus Curiae briefs it has submitted in third countries since 2004?



Answer given on behalf of the Commission by President Juncker (11.8.2015)

Since 2004 Amicus Curiae brief submissions have been used only in the courts of the United States. With the exception of anti-trust and enforcement of an arbitration award, which have been introduced before lower level courts, Amicus briefs have been submitted to the US Supreme Court in cases on the following areas:

-Anti-dumping: 1

-Anti-trust: 3

-Enforcement of arbitration award against a Member State: 1

-Extra-territorial application of US law (Alien Tort Claims Act): 3

-Death Penalty: 4

In the death penalty cases the Amicus Curiae briefs were submitted by the European Union and by members of the international community in support of the petitioners.

Commission Question – EU-wide corporation tax

Question for written answer E-009122/2015

to the Commission

Rule 130

Jonathan Arnott (EFDD)

Subject: EU-wide corporation tax

It has been reported that both Germany and France are keen on the harmonisation of corporation tax across the EU.

Given that Britain has the lowest rate of corporation tax in the G7, at 20 %, is the Commission aware of the significant difficulties that this would cause for the British economy?

Can the Commission please confirm its latest position and the status of any such proposals, whether formal or informal?


E-009122/2015 Answer given on behalf of the Commission by Mr Moscovici (12.8.2015)

The Commission has no plans, formal or informal, to harmonise tax rates.

On June 17 2015, the Commission adopted a Communication on “A Fair and Efficient Corporate Tax System in the EU: 5 Key Areas for Action”1. The first area for action related to the Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base (CCCTB), which offers a holistic solution to the problem of profit shifting in the EU. The CCCTB would eliminate the mismatches between tax systems which are exploited by aggressive tax planners and transfer pricing rules would no longer be used to shift profits. The CCCTB would deliver significant benefits to companies operating cross border in the EU, as they would only have to follow one set of tax rules, and would be able to offset profits made in one area with losses made in another. The Commission proposed a staged approach to the CCCTB. Member States should initially focus on elements relating to agreement at the OECD Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) project, before moving on to other elements of the tax base and finally to consolidation. The international elements of the CCCTB are currently under discussion in Council, and the Commission is working on a new proposal.

A key point to note is that the CCCTB is aimed at aligning the tax base, which is to say the rules governing the calculation of taxable profits. Even upon adoption of the final stage, the CCCTB would not harmonise the tax rate which would remain the responsibility of Member States.


Question to the Commission – Protect and Provide Livelihoods in Lebanon project (PPLL)

Question to the Commission for written answer E-008838/2015

Subject: Protect and Provide Livelihoods in Lebanon project (PPLL)

Can the Commission please confirm the specific amount of funding provided to the Protect and Provide Livelihoods in Lebanon (PPLL) project? How can this project be justified at a time of austerity within the Member States?


Answer given by Mr Hahn on behalf of the Commission (12.8.2015)

Solidarity is one of the essential foundations of the European Union. The European Union is committed to helping the people in need suffering the consequences of the terrible war in Syria. Moreover, it is to be noted that it is also in the interest of the EU to ensure peace, stability and prosperity in our immediate neighbourhood.

Since 2013 the Commission has mobilised substantial funding for development actions supporting the livelihood, education and basic social services for Syrian refugees and strengthening the resilience of their host communities in Lebanon. In this context, the Commission has also provided a grant of EUR 895,568 for the implementation of the project referred to by the Honourable Member. This project is designed to mitigate the impact of the Syrian refugee crisis on Lebanese host communities by assisting small and medium agricultural producers to adjust to the new reality and strengthen coping mechanisms. Unfortunately, the support given by the Commission and the Member States is hardly enough for the dire needs of the country. Lebanon is currently hosting almost 1.2 million Syrian refugees, amounting to a quarter of its population and the stability of the country is under severe strain. The country has the highest ratio in the world of refugee per inhabitants. This figure is in addition to an estimated 42,000 Palestinians from Syria, 250,000 Palestinians already in Lebanon and 16,000 Iraqi refugees. Other vulnerable groups include around 33,000 Lebanese returnees, and over 1 million vulnerable Lebanese living under the poverty threshold of 4 USD/day.

Local politician ‘facing his Waterloo’ at World Championships

Local member of the European Parliament, Jonathan Arnott, will be representing Britain in a different way when he heads back off to Belgium for the World Championships of the board game Stratego later this month.

The World Championships will take place in Waterloo this year to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the famous battle.

Jonathan Arnott, who has also competed in a variety of international chess events, has represented Great Britain on a number of occasions at Stratego – but this year’s competition is expected to be the toughest for many years.

Teams from Holland, Greece, Germany, France, the Basque Country (Spain) and Belgium are all expected to compete – with the participation of other nations such as the USA still uncertain.

Richard Ratcliffe, a Yorkshire bus driver, will lead the team and as a former World Champion himself in 2011 – he won the World Championships in North Shields – he has the ability to beat anyone in the world, which he has proved on many occasions.

UKIP MEP Jonathan Arnott said: “We’re confident that we’ve got a really good team this year.  Richard is a world-class player and will be looking to regain his individual world title. We’re welcoming back another world top-5 player who’s taken a break from the game, and we have a new player this year who we have high hopes for.

“The only disappointment this year is myself – my job as a member of the European Parliament hasn’t left me with much time to practice so I may be a little rusty.  I’ll have to work on my game online before I leave and meet up with Richard for a few games to get myself back into form.”

With Greece being the reigning team World Champions and Holland currently having six players in the world’s top ten, even a bronze medal would be a significant achievement this year for the British team – but they have high hopes of more.

The Championships take place from August 20th – 23rd in Waterloo, Brussels, with the team event taking place on the last day..

For anyone interested in finding out more, thousands of people play the game online for free

Unauthorised traveller camps should be illegal

Calls for unauthorised traveller sites to be made illegal have been welcomed by local MEP Jonathan Arnott.

A Downing Street petition has been launched this week to make setting up such sites a criminal offence.

“There needs to be a stronger deterrent and making illegal pitches a criminal offence would be just that,” said Mr Arnott, UKIP Euro-MP for the North East.

“Under the existing civil rules residents have to wait several days before action is taken to clear illegal traveller sites. The clear up afterwards has to be paid for by the taxpayer, and frankly enough is enough.

“Making the setting up of an unauthorised traveller sites a criminal offence will swiftly deal with the problem of illegal camps. There will be a strong deterrent and powers for the police to clear the areas immediately. Rather than civil procedures, this will send a strong message that illegal sites are not tolerated and they will be cleared quickly.

“While each local authority has a duty to offer sites, it is wrong that a small minority persist in trespassing and form unauthorized sites. I would hope that a change in the law would protect community lands and see that all obey the law.

“While the police have powers to deal with unauthorised camps they will only use them if the site is deemed “wholly inappropriate”.

The petition, launched by UKIP MEP Tim Aker, can be found at

North East transport more important than HS2 project

Instead of wasting money on the HS2 white elephant the government should be putting those billions into investment and infrastructure in the North East, said the region’s UKIP MEP Jonathan Arnott.

“It has just been claimed that house prices in the area are to double over the next 15 years, which it is hoped will lead to a business boom.

“Local prices should rise substantially, particularly with the average for London tipped to reach £1m by the same time, but businesses and individuals alike are not going to flood to a region without first class transport links.

“It is all very well for the Conservative Party to grab headlines over the so-called Northern Powerhouse but it will be powerless without the road and rail links fit for the 21st century in place,” said Mr Arnott.

“The North East has a tradition of hard working people and they have been repeatedly let down by the government of whatever hue. This must change and instead of throwing money at the HS2 line between London, Birmingham and Manchester – which will just result in more jobs in the capital – they should be putting the rail network to the North East at the top of the agenda.

“There will doubtless be excuses of lack of funds but it never seems to be a problem for London, such as the Crossrail project. It has just been revealed by the TaxPayers Alliance that there are at least 32 people employed by HS2 Limited in unnecessary jobs, at a total cost of £1.5 million

“These include roles such as ‘organisation effectiveness business change advisor’, on £58,000, ‘head of equality, diversity and inclusion’ on £77,000 and ‘climate change advisor’ on £32,000.

“Never mind all these non-jobs, people up here need real jobs and government commitment and investment to make it happen,” he said.