Jean spends on average three weeks of every month in Brussels and one week in Strasbourg, with four weeks of every year reserved for constituency weeks. Typically, parliamentary activities run from Monday to Thursday and Jean will travel back to London on Thursday evening to attend to constituency work on Friday. Because Jean works on similar issues such as sustainability, immigration, asylum and social inclusion, in Parliament and in the constituency, there is a lot of continuity between her Brussels and London work.
Jean is a member of the Greens/European Free Alliance political group in the European Parliament. The group is made up of Green and regionalist (stateless nations) MEPs from around Europe and is the fourth largest group in the Parliament with 55 members.
Jean works on a number of Parliament Committees, Intergroups and Delegations.
There are 17 permanent Committees made up of full member MEPs and substitute member MEPs. The role of the Committees is to scrutinise and amend EU laws passed down by Commission.
Jean is a full member of this Committee. She was chosen as rapporteur on the report ‘Social security: national of third countries not covered due to their nationality' (COD/2007/0152).
Jean is a ‘substitute' member on this Committee and the Green Party specialist on asylum and immigration. Consequently she was chosen as Parliament's rapporteur (author) on the revision of the EU Qualifications Directive - ‘International protection: minimum standards for the qualification and status of third country nationals or stateless person and the content of the protection granted' (COD/2009/0164). She was also rapporteur on 'Establishing a European Asylum Support Office' (COD/2009/0027) and is shadow rapporteur on Parliament's recommendation to Council ‘On Combating the sexual exploitation of children and child pornography (COD/2010/0064).
Intergroups are cross-party groups of MEPs who get together to discuss pressing problems, produce position papers and organise events around the theme of the Intergroup.
Delegations shall maintain and develop Parliament's international contacts. Accordingly, delegation activities shall, on the one hand, be aimed at maintaining and enhancing contacts with parliaments of States that are traditionally partners of the European Union and, on the other hand, contribute to promoting in third countries the values on which the European Union is founded, namely the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law (Articles 6 and 11(1), fifth indent, of the EU Treaty).
Delegation for Relations with South Asia
This Delegation covers six countries, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Nepal and Pakistan. Afghanistan and India are covered in separate delegations. The purpose of the delegation is to ensure that pressing issues are discussed, particularly with a view to improving relations with the EU and vice versa. Jean regularly meets with delegates from these countries at the European Parliament to discuss pressing issues.
Jean is particularly interested in issues of human rights and equality in all six of the countries covered by the delegation. She has worked to promote social inclusion through Parliamentary action and by raising awareness.
For a fuller understanding, delegates often carry out fact finding missions to their delegation country/countries. Jean visited Pakistan in November 2010, to highlight the on-going humanitarian crisis some five months after devastating floods hit the country in the summer of 2010, killing over 1,000 people and affecting a further million.
Speaking after the delegation, Jean said: "The water may have ebbed, but the sheer impact of these devastating floods is still being felt, with millions of people made homeless by this tragedy still without shelter. But, at least in the area we visited in the north, known as Swat Valley, I was encouraged to see clear signs of post-flood reconstruction - bridges being rebuild, makeshift schools being erected and dirt tracks appearing where roads had been washing away.
"Sadly, the relief effort has thrown up new problems, with Unicef reporting the discovering pockets of extreme deprivation, adject poverty, and bonded labour. Pockets the authorities did not even know about until the floods. The situation becomes even graver, when considering reports from many agencies that initial donations have already been spent.