SNP Anger At London's "Agriculturally-Illiterate" Proposals

13 May 2008
SNP MEP Alyn Smith has reacted with anger at the news that Alistair Darling has written to fellow EU finance ministers calling for the abolition of all import tariffs on agricultural commodities, before any substantive negotiations have even commenced.

Speaking from Edinburgh, Mr Smith said:

"This is yet another demonstration of how the UK government is just not working in the interests of Scotland's farmers and growers. This agriculturally-illiterate proposal is ill-considered, ill-timed and from a Brussels perspective, breathtakingly naĂŻve. This will go down like a lead balloon, the same as previous UK government initiatives in Brussels and only underscores the need for a strong and stronger Scottish voice in the EU.

"To say that this move is unwise is an understatement of the highest order. This step by the Chancellor is nothing short of incompetent. While the CAP has its faults, the upcoming Health Check in the European Parliament provides an open forum in which we can address these flaws.

"While it is clearly necessary to address the issue of rising food prices, the CAP is only one strand of the problem that must be looked at. That the Chancellor seems to believe that the CAP is the root of the problem shows his ignorance of the environment which European food producers have been working for the last few years.

"A move such as this only helps to make the SNP's arguments for them. The Scottish Government has and will continue to stand up for Scotland's farmers and the sooner we can distance ourselves from the agriculturally and EU-illiterate suggestions emanating from Westminster the better."