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REPORT SHOWS EU CENSUS 'NOT BIG BROTHER'

February 20, 2008 12:00 AM

A European Parliament report adopted today on EU coordination of population and housing censuses clearly demonstrates the EU is not, as has been reported in previous months, prying into people's bedrooms, according to a LibDem Euro-MP.

Reports of EU plans to establish everyone's first 'consensual union', presented by Eurosceptic politicians, was since shown to be a translation error, and was promptly dropped from the proposed legislation.

Commenting on the draft directive adopted today Liz Lynne, who is also Vice President of the Employment and Social Affairs Committee, said:

"Given some of the things which were being claimed about the EU being Big Brother, I think the Europhobes will find this report a distinct anti-climax.

"It is vital the census information that Member States collect is coordinated and in some areas enhanced: this is not and has never been an attack on British sovereignty, many countries already collect detailed information under their national censuses"

One area where this will help is with population estimates, needed for example in the EU Council of Ministers, where the qualified majority voting needs representation of at least 62% of the EU's population.

Liz added:

"People's family, social, economic and housing characteristics are all needed to help define future social and environmental policies and assess the effectiveness of EU structural funding which helps development projects across the UK "

"As EU citizens continue to move more freely around the bloc, the census of the future will also help to give a clearer picture of migration. Overall however, the census that we will see every decade is not set to radically alter, nor is the cost expected to change much, as we already have a long established tradition of censuses in this country."