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Fairness and Justice should be the watchwords for the New Year, says Liz Lynne MEP in her Christmas message

December 18, 2009 12:01 AM

Christmas this year follows a time of anxiety. The financial crisis which started with the banks has hit many West Midlands people, some have lost their jobs or face cuts in their wages.

Spiralling debt is not just a problem for governments but for many individuals too. Governments must do more to ensure that banks we rescued make credit available to small businesses and individuals and keep overdraft charges fair.

The festive period also always sees a rise in domestic violence. I believe we should do much more to learn from other countries about how to help the victims.

We should also spare a thought for the millions of older people who spend Christmas alone, often with little contact with others. I think we can do so much more to meet the physical and emotional needs of older people, either in their own home or in care homes. One of my priorities as your MEP in 2010 will be to develop a code of conduct at EU level to provide minimum standards of care for older people.

Christmas also takes our thoughts to Israel and Palestine today. One year on from the invasion, much of Gaza still lies in ruins. Progress here could achieve so much to advance the cause of peace and goodwill around the world.

2009 will also be remembered as the year when countries had to face up to climate change and came together at the summit in Copenhagen. A New Year resolution for all political leaders should be to work for a binding agreement before it is too late.

On a brighter note, the prospects for the EU being run more efficiently next year have improved. I hope that much needed new legislation will be approved this year to outlaw discrimination on all grounds across the EU, something I have campaigned on for a long time.

In a time of recession, the need to guarantee fairness and justice for all has never been greater. I hope that fairness and justice will be the watchwords for the New Year.

Liz Lynne MEP

Liberal Democrat MEP for the West Midlands region