Celebrate 30 years of Erasmus + by saving it!

Today marks the 30th anniversary of the European Erasmus + programme.

It marks three decades of supporting not just students in higher education, but schools, adult education, youth programmes, and vocational education and training.

There is much to be celebrated, and there are many stories of changed lives and adventures made while learning. Over 86,000 young people from the UK took part between 2014-2015 alone. But as with any of the European programmes we are currently involved in, our future participation now hangs in the balance.

We have heard some assurances from Mrs May that the UK government will seek to continue to participate in Erasmus + after Brexit, but her threats of a ‘no deal’ mean nothing is guaranteed.

If last week’s election has demonstrated anything, it is that the young people of the UK are no longer going to allow others to dictate their future.

So today I call on you to not only celebrate this brilliant programme, but to stand up for it too by writing to Mrs May with your Erasmus story - let’s show her Erasmus is still important to us all.

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MEPs call for EU clampdown on Norwegian whale hunting

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) set a worldwide ban on commercial whaling in 1986.

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Euro MP calls on the South East to stand up for nature this Natura 2000 Day

Sunday 21st May is Natura 2000 Day - a day to celebrate the EU and UK’s continued commitment to nature protection.

Natura 2000 is an ecological network of conservation areas across the EU and is crucial in halting species decline.

The South East is home to a number of threatened species, including the Turtle Dove, which depends on the Natura 2000 nature protection sites and funding.

Notable Natura 2000 sites in the South East are Arun Valley, Dungeness, and the Thames Estuary and Marshes.

A recent Eurobarometer survey showed that around 8 out of 10 people think biodiversity loss is a serious problem.

The Brexit negotiations will certainly put the future of the Natura 2000 sites into question.

Lib Dem Euro MP and RSPB Turtle Dove Champion Catherine Bearder said:

“The vote to leave the EU was not a vote to jeopardise Europe’s nature protection.

“It was Boris Johnson’s father who helped set up these nature sites when he was an MEP and since then other British MEPs have continued the work.

“We demand the new government protects these sites and other environmental protections in the Brexit negotiations.

“The Turtle Dove is a threatened species, its very survival depends on the UK’s commitments to EU nature protection long term.

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WATCH: EU nationals in the UK and Brits in Europe are distressed and anxious

Catherine Bearder MEP European Parliament speech 17th May 2017:

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Lib Dem MEP praises EU raw ivory export ban

Today the EU Commission announced that the EU will ban raw ivory exports from July 1st.

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WATCH: EU Citizens Hearing

Today the EU Citizens Task Force are delighted to host the hearing on the situation and rights of EU citizens in the UK.

Please see below the full schedule and the link to watch the hearing on European Parliament TV.

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/ep-live/en/committees/video?event=20170511-1500-COMMITTEE-LIBE

Order of business

15:00 - WELCOME WORDS                                

Claude MORAES, Chair of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs,

Cecilia WIKSTRÖM, Chair of the Committee on Petitions

Renate WEBER, Vice-Chair of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs

15:15 OPENING REMARKS

Mr Guy VERHOFSTADT, European Parliament's Chief Brexit negotiator

15:35 - PANEL SPEAKERS

Ms Anne-Laure DONSKOY, representative of « The 3 million » group

Mr Jan DOERFEL, Immigration barrister in the UK

Mr Charlie JEFFERY, Professor at the University of Edinburgh

Ms Julia ONSLOW-COLE, Partner, Legal Markets Leader and Head of Global Immigration, PwC, London

Mr Jonathan PORTES, Professor of Economics and Public Policy, Department of Political Economy, King's College, London

16:45 - BRIEF PRESENTATION BY TWO PETITIONERS

Ms Leona Bashow (British) on the involuntary loss of EU citizenship following the result of the UK referendum

Ms Anne Wilkinson (British) on the Inalienability of EU Citizens' Rights.

17:05 - QUESTIONS AND ANSWER SESSION

18:00 - CLOSING REMARKS

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Government forced to unveil air quality plans ahead of General Election

The high court has ruled that the threat air quality poses to public health constitutes “exceptional circumstances”, meaning purdah rules for UK ministers can be waived.

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This election is just a bluff for what is really about to happen - Open letter to Theresa May

Dear Mrs May,

You called an election last week so that British voters can, you claim, by electing a large Conservative parliamentary majority, give you the "strongest hand" possible in the Brexit negotiations.

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MEPs put pressure on Commission for immediate EU ivory ban

This week Catherine Bearder MEP met with the Chinese mission to the EU regarding her letter to President Xi Jinping on the Chinese ivory ban.

Mrs Bearder was presented with an informal progress report on the ban. Interestingly the report says: ““It is hoped that the EU as well as countries in Europe also take credible steps to effectively ban illegal trade in ivory and their products.”

MEPs For Wildlife have written to Commissioner Vella asking for his thoughts on the position presented by China.

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Vote to leave EU was not a vote to sabotage British wildlife

Today the EU has released its long-anticipated EU Action Plan on Nature. The Action Plan calls for EU governments, including the UK, to step up their financial commitment to protect nature across Europe.

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