"Qualified support" from SNP to new European Commission

The SNP Group in the European Parliament has supported the approval of Jean-Claude Juncker's College of European Commissioners in plenary session today. 

The approval of the new Commission follows an intense three-week process of hearings during which the candidates were grilled by MEPs on their personal and professional backgrounds, and their political priorities. 

SNP MEPs were encouraged by commitments secured on Scottish interests, such as continued support for renewable energy, the Youth Guarantee, simplification of the Common Agricultural Policy, a review of competition law in the food supply chain and electronic identification of sheep, and the opportunity to decentralize fisheries management. 

However, ongoing SNP support for the new Commission remains conditional on the actual delivery of Scottish and European priorities, and SNP MEPs will closely scrutinise the activities of the new Commission to ensure that certain concerns, such as a lack of prioritisation of sustainable development and environmental protection in the new Commission's structure, are allayed.

SNP Group Leader Ian Hudghton said: 

"The SNP won the European elections in Scotland on a platform of making Scotland's mark in Europe, and standing up for progressive policies against the right wing onslaught of the Tories and UKIP against the social aspects of European Union, such as workers' rights and effective regulation of the financial sector. 

"I believe we have a Commission which can do this, and whose aims match Scotland's goals on climate, on employment and on social protection.  In particular, given our long-standing campaign to return control and management of the Common Fisheries Policy back to Europe's nations and regions, we have the potential to move away from overly centralized approach to fisheries management.

"Of course, the Commission is only one part of the EU institutional structure. It remains a crucial fact that the member states are key to the decision process, along with the European Parliament.”

Alyn Smith MEP added:

"While this Commission is of course not perfect - I was hoping to hear more about the plans for protection of animal welfare than Commissioner Andriukaitis (Health and Food Safety) was prepared to offer - we firmly believe that constructive engagement is the way forward, and that on the whole we can do business with Juncker's team. 

"I was pleased that Commissioner Hogan (Agriculture) undertook to meet with a delegation of Scottish sheep farmers to discuss reducing the burden of sheep EID, and to examine the case for legal measures to help producers capture greater value in the supply chain against the overwhelming power of retailers."