SNP MEP & SNP Council Candiate Call On Perthshire’s Towns To“Twin Up” For EU Cash

14 February 2008
SNP MEPAlyn Smith and SNP Council candidate for Perthshire's Highland ward, Kate Howie, have called on the towns of Perthshire to apply for EU cash which is available for town twinning initiatives and invited interested organisations to get in touch with him.

EU funding was recently created by the European Parliament and Commission to encourage town twinning, yet in 2007 just five grants were awarded to Scots organisations despite all the exchanges that go on to and from Scotland.

Many current exchange programmes qualify for EU cash but have not applied for it because people in Scotland do not know that the budgets exist.

In the next two weeks Mr Smith will publish an instruction booklet which he will make available free of charge to any organisation that gets in touch with him. The booklet will detail the budgets, eligibility criteria and how to apply.

Mr Smith has met with officials of the EU commission who stressed the benefits of the town twinning programmes and the fact that EU cash is already available to apply for.

Mr Smith said:

"Everyone knows we Scots are well liked and well thought of in the rest of Europe. It saddens me that we have so few town twinning exchanges, but even of these only five have accessed the EU cash available.

"I want to see my constituents from all over Scotland plunder the European Commission's budgets - that's what they are there for! Having met the Commission officials I'm sure they are happy enough we are encouraging people to get in touch.

"Any Scots organisation that wants a copy of the booklet just needs to get in touch with me on alyn.smith@snp.org and we will send a copy out."

Ms Howie said:

"This is an untapped resource which Perthshire towns can really benefit from. Hopefully the news that EU budgets are ready and waiting will not only encourage towns to reach out to our neighbours, but will make exchange trips easier for towns who have already built up twinning links. For example, Pitlochry, in my own ward, is already twinned with Confolens in France and Glen Innes in Australia. I want to see other towns follow this example.

"I hope Alyn's booklet makes every councillor, council, church, organisation and twinning association in Scotland aware of this largely untapped fund, and encourages towns to take full advantage of the opportunities open to them."