Work In Parliament
The work of the Development Committee is an important part of the duty of the EU to do as much as it can to help those who are in need. To this end, the Committee helps set the development and humanitarian aid budget; they monitor closely the European Commission and other mechanism that implement the EU´s development policies and examine the use of development aid. Together with EU member countries, the DEVE Committee makes the laws that frame our development activities. They also frequently meet with politicians and experts from around the world to discuss the situation on the ground and what is really needed. As a member of the Development Committee, Michael is currently actively involved in working on a number of important issues including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Climate Change, transparency in extractive industries and overseas development aid. Michael is the Rapporteur on the revision of the Cotonou Agreement between the EU and the 79 ACP Countries. In 2010 he authored an own initiative report on the progress towards the achievement of the MDGs.
Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE)
The Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) is in charge of most of the legislation and democratic oversight for policies linked to the transformation of the European Union in the area of freedom, security and justice. These policies are intertwined with the implementation of the Charter of Fundamental Rights in EU territory and with the strengthening of European Citizenship. As a substitute member of the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee, Michael has been a rapporteur on several key legislative reports including the drafting of the Schengen Borders Code, the creation of the Fundamental Rights Agency and the facilitation of repatriation of mortal remains. He is currently working towards making the European institutions more transparent and accountable to the citizens it represents through his report on the proposal for a regulation on Access to Documents.
In the Petitions Committee, where he is currently a member and was the first Vice-Chair (2006-2009), Michael Cashman has been working on the Spanish Land Grab crisis, the Insurance Equity Scandal, disability and equality. The right to petition is a fundamental right inextricably linked to EU citizenship. It is an important and often effective way for people to be directly involved in the Parliament’s activity and to have their concerns, proposals or complaints specifically addressed by the Committee members. The Committee often responds to petitions from EU citizens by working to resolve possible infringements of citizens’ rights and by cooperating with national, regional and local authorities on issues related to the application of European laws on such subjects as the environment, social affairs and freedom of movement. It plays a vital role in reconnecting with European citizens and in reinforcing the democratic legitimacy and accountability of the EU decision-making process.
Delegation for Relations with South Africa (D-ZA)
Michael, in his role as Chair of the Delegation, takes an active role in the promotion of the relationship between the EU and South Africa in the promotion of human rights, economic and political development. His work is also focused on how South Africa can act as an “anchor country” for the entire African Continent in leading policy areas. The Delegation meet annually for open, frank and honest political dialogue, as well as regularly hosting exchange of views, meetings and delegation visits, all with the express aim of promoting EU-South Africa relations. Due to his role as Chair of the Delegation, Michael is also a Member of the Conference of Delegation Chairs, which is the political body in Parliament that periodically considers all matters concerning the smooth running of interparliamentary delegations and delegations to the joint parliamentary committees. Michael is currently Chair of the Conference of Presidents and will be until the end of this legislature in 2014.
Delegation to the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly (DACP)
The ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly was created out of a common desire to bring together the elected representatives of the European Community – the Members of the European Parliament – and the elected representatives of the African, Caribbean and Pacific states (“ACP countries”) that have signed the Cotonou Agreement. Michael is currently a Substitute Member of the Joint Parliamentary Assembly, which is the only international assembly in which the representatives of various countries sit together regularly with the aim of promoting the interdependence of North and South. A substantial part of the work of the Joint Parliamentary Assembly is directed towards promoting human rights and democracy and the common values of humanity, and this has produced joint commitments undertaken within the framework of the UN conferences. Whilst, Michael is a substitute member of the Committee, he is still actively involved in the DACP as the Rapporteur on the revision of the Cotonou Agreement between the EU and the 79 ACP Countries.
Michael is Co-President of the LGBT Intergroup which is an informal forum for Members of the European Parliament who are committed to upholding the fundamental rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. The work of the Intergroup consists of monitoring the work of the European Union; monitoring the situation of LGBT people in EU Member States and beyond; and liaising with civil society groups to relay their concerns at the European level.
Disability Intergroup (EDF)
Michael is a long standing member of the Disability Intergroup of the European Parliament, which is an informal grouping of Members from all nationalities and most political groups who are interested in promoting the disability policy in their work at the European Parliament as well as in the national contexts. The EDF is one of the oldest Intergroups of the European Parliament and its work covers all fields of European Union competence and monitors all EU initiatives and proposes new legislation to advance disabled people’s rights.
European Parliament Working Groups
Reproductive Health, HIV/Aids and Development Working Group (EPWG)
The EPWG is an informal forum for Members across political groups and national borders to promote reproductive health rights, HIV/Aids and Development in the European Parliament. The EPWG in 2011 focused on combating maternal mortality, women and HIV/AIDS and universal access to Family Planning. The Working Group draft parliamentary questions, order library briefings on specialist topics and organise events on topical issues. In the run up to World Aids Day 2011, the Working Group worked on a resolution and a number of Parliamentary Questions to the Commission and Council, calling specifically for gender equality, sexual and reproductive health and rights. They also organised an expert meeting to collect input from representatives from UNAIDS, Commission and NGO’s working in the field.
Access to Medicines and Poverty Related Diseases
The Working Group on Innovation, Access to Medicines and Poverty-Related Diseases creates a meaningful dialogue between Members of the European Parliament, the European Commission, and civil society to ensure that European policies deliver a coherent, comprehensive and pro-active response to address the need for innovation, access to medicines and quality health care for these diseases. Michael is an active Member of the Working Group and is supportive of their mission to increase access to life saving medicine and improved health care for poverty related diseases throughout the developing world.
Platform for Secularism in Politics
European Parliament Platform for Secularism in Politics (EPPSP) is a forum for Members of the European Parliament and civil society, which works to give a voice to secularism in Europe. The Platform defends and promotes Fundamental Rights, with special focus on freedom of religion (including freedom from religion), freedom of conscience and freedom of speech. Freedom of religion is an individual fundamental right, and the Platform stands up against attempts to use it as a pretext to restrict other fundamental rights. Michael Cashman is a Member of EPPSP.
Parliamentary Questions are questions addressed to the European Council and the European Commission by MEPs. There are three types of parliamentary questions: oral questions which are asked during a plenary sitting and included in that day´s debates, questions submitted for Question Time which are asked during a period reserved for questions during plenary sittings and Written Questions which are answered in writing.
Plenary sittings are the most visible part of the European Parliament’s activities and are the culmination of legislative work that has been carried out in the different Committees, with the plenary sitting focusing on debates and votes.
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