Labour Party opposed to cheaper healthcare for Europeans

Labour Members of the European Parliament continue to lobby against a move that would enable Europeans to obtain better and cheaper medical supplies

by The Commentator on 18 October 2012 12:11

Europe-israel

Labour Members of the European Parliament are continuing their opposition to the Agreement on Conformity, Assessment and Acceptance of Industrial Products, on the basis that Israeli companies would see an elimination of trade barriers in the European Union.

Their stance however, as noted by Mary Honeyball today, and previously stated by David Martin MEP in The Guardian, would mean that millions of Europeans would continue to pay higher prices for pharamaceuticals and medical supplies as a result.

Honeyball writes: "The proposed Protocol is intended to eliminate technical barriers to trade in industrial products between the European Union and the State of Israel. It largely applies to pharmaceutical products, and is intended to align certain assessment standards in order to facilitate trade. In effect this means some of the benefits of the EU internal market would be extended to Israel, and would offer Israeli pharmaceutical companies easier access to the EU market."

But alongside intense lobbying from groups like the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Labour MEPs have been resisting this move which it is argued, "will bring about lower manufacturing costs for European drug companies, ultimately resulting in savings for the European governments which provide their citizens with healthcare, as well as cheaper  medications for European citizens paying for certain products out of their own pockets".

According to the EU's website, the agreement is prepared and negotiated with countries, notably Mediterranean ones (Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestinian Authority, Tunisia) and Ukraine in industrial sectors where the legislation is harmonised at EU level. No mention has been made from the Labour MEPs about the continuation of terrorist glorification and the incitement to violence and hate education from the Palestinian Authority. No mentions have been made as to the continuation of violence in Tunisia, a decline in human rights there, as well as questions raised over the head of the government party Ennahda, either.

Furthermore, Labour MEPs have failed to mention any concerns vis-à-vis Egypt's involvement - a country that has recently elected an Islamist government in the form of the Muslim Brotherhood.

David Martin MEP has stated: "The EU cannot turn a blind eye to human rights violations when we sign trade deals. It would be especially galling to allow easier access to the EU market for Israeli pharmaceutical products when Palestinians struggle for medical supplies under the Israeli-imposed blockade."

The European Union Agreement on Conformity, Assessment and Acceptance of Industrial Products (ACAA) was approved by the European Council of Ministers in March 2010 and then sent on to the European Parliament for ratification. The European Parliament then delayed that process for over two years – supposedly as a reaction to the May 2010 flotilla incident in which nine Turkish political activists were killed after having attacked Israeli soldiers.

The fact that European and British citizens could be made to suffer because of some Labour MEPs hypocrisy and misguidedness on the Middle East conflict will likely come as a shock to many. 

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