Carmichael convinced no-one in Brussels

Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael is more concerned with UK coalition politics than fighting Scotland's corner in the EU, SNP MEP Alyn Smith said on Monday.

"Alistair Carmichael came to Brussels today and delivered a party political broadcast instead of standing up for Scotland in the EU," said two-term Brussels lawmaker Alyn Smith.

Carmichael listed 40 years of benefits of Scotland's EU membership through the UK.

"The long list of benefits reeled off would have come as news to his Tory colleagues in the coalition Westminster government who want to take the UK out of the EU with their In-Out referendum in 2017," Smith said.

"The only way to guarantee continuing access to the benefits of European Union membership is to vote Yes on September 18," Smith underlined.

"The latest ComRes poll at the weekend already showed the Liberal Democrats heading for wipe-out in the European Parliament elections in May."

Smith rejected UK government claims that households in Scotland would lose out under independence compared to the present share of Britain's EU rebate.

He hit back at “vacuous” claims by UK Foreign Secretary William Hague.

“The UK government’s claim simply doesn't stand up to scrutiny," Smith said.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon drew on calculations last week to show that Scotland could already have expected an extra £850 million a year (one billion euros) from the CAP between now and 2020.

The figures produced rely on comparisons with reduced Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) payments for new member states since 2004 under a “phasing-in” agreement to offset concerns about the use of these funds.

“Scotland has 40 years of experience with good housekeeping of EU funds,” Smith said.

With a a full negotiating voice when the next EU budget is negotiated, Scotland would finally get comparable funding to similarly-sized countries like Ireland or Denmark, he added.

“An independent Scotland would work constructively with EU partners to ensure we get our fair share of 100 billion euros worth of pan-European infrastructure funding set aside through to 2020,” Smith added.