Weekly Roundup, 1st - 7th February

My weekly round up of work in the European Parliament, the UK and beyond!

Last week in Strasbourg was a busy one. Us Labour MEPs got some important votes through on tackling undeclared work (which affects 600,000 people) and calling on the European Commission to urgently present a new EU strategy for gender equality. UKIP MEPs, who don't seem to support any action for gender equality, voted against the resolution! Watch here for my speech on the issue. Labour MEPs also voted for the exemption of public services, protection of workers' rights and greater transparency and data protection in the EU Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA). I've been receiving a lot of queries about TiSA, look here for more info: http://www.eurolabour.org.uk/eu-trade-in-services-agreement.

I also spoke about the importance of strengthening civil society in post-war Kosovo and on the case of Mohammed Ramadan, the airport security guard who peacefully participated in protests in Bahrain calling for democratic reforms. He was sentenced to death for another crime despite being tortured and confessing under duress. For a full run down of the Strasbourg voting session, have a read here: http://www.juliewardmep.eu/strasbourg_round_up.

Back in the UK, I attended the Kashmir Independence Day celebrations in Manchester and spoke at the United Against Facism conference in London, as well as attending the launch of the Living Wage Campaign. It was also the Labour In for Europe campaign launch for the North West, held at the Siemens factory in Manchester with Andy Burnham MP as the keynote speaker. With a possible referendum in June, is vital that we convey the message that the EU is crucial for our economy, our rights, and our security: http://www.eurolabour.org.uk/uk-eu-membership-vital-for-eco….

Right now I'm in Munich visiting refugee centres for women and girls and talking to state politicians and the security services about the challenges they face in view of the huge numbers of people crossing the Austrian-German border. The refugee crisis is at the top of my agenda. I will update you soon about my visit here and to Calais and Dunkirk at the weekend.

Continue to have a great week!
Take care, Julie