SNP MEP condemns EU treaty sell-out Published: 24 October, 2007
SPEAKING at yesterday’s debate at the European Parliament in Strasbourg on the new EU Treaty agreed at the Lisbon Summit last week, SNP MEP and Party President Ian Hudghton criticised the UK Government for failing to stand up for Scotland’s interest.
Addressing the debate with Portuguese Prime Minister, José Socrates and European Commission President, José Manuel Barroso, the SNP MEP acknowledged the need to reform the way the EU works, but condemned the UK Government for selling out on Scottish interests by handing over more control of fisheries policy to Brussels. Mr Hudghton was the only Scots MEP to speak in the debate.
The new Treaty is due to be signed at a special ceremony in Lisbon in December; Portugal currently holds the EU’s six month rotating Presidency. The version of the Treaty agreed by EU governments in Lisbon last week includes fisheries management as an ‘exclusive competence’ of the EU. This severely undermines the influence of individual governments in future decisions on fisheries policy and is a ‘red-line’ issue for the SNP.
Speaking in Parliament, Mr Hudghton said: “I represent Scotland and my Party, the SNP, forms the new Government in Scotland. I believe that our new Government will prove to be more constructive towards participation in a growing European Union than UK Governments have been.
“I accept the need to reform the Treaties, to create more open democratic and efficient governance. But the diversity, which Mr Barroso rightly referred to, will always mean that national interests will be promoted. We should not lose touch with local communities by trampling over their interests, or appearing so to do.
“For Scotland, there is a real fear that the entrenchment of the Common Fisheries Policy as an “exclusive competence” within the Treaties, can only obstruct the absolute root and branch reform of fisheries management, which I believe to be necessary.
“Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, the UK Government failed to raise this issue at the summit. Yet again, Scotland’s key interests have been ignored by a UK Government.”