Icelandic Fisheries Minister Invited To Scotland To Discuss Future Of EU Fisheries Policy

13 September 2007
SNP Member of the European Parliament's Delegation to Switzerland, Iceland and Norway Alyn Smith has today (Thursday) extended an invitation to the Icelandic Fisheries Minister and the Delegation to come to Scotland to discuss the future of the EU's maritime and fisheries policy.

The Delegation is currently meeting in Brussels, and Mr Smith made the invitation during a session on the future of the EU's Maritime policy.

During his speech, Mr Smith said:

"We discussed yesterday how your view of the EU is changing and how the EU risks turning in on itself. Maritime and Fisheries policy is a clear example of where we could really use your input and we would really benefit from it. You are not, clearly, a member of the EU and that is your choice, though I heard with interest your opinion poll which has 48% of Iceland's population in favour and only a third against. However even as a non member state, you do have other avenues to influence the reform of the EU, and I would put it to you that working with friendly governments is as good a way as any. As you will be aware since we last met we have experienced a regime change in Scotland and we're keen to work with you.

"To speak on my own behalf rather than the delegation, I am firmly of the view that fisheries policy is, sadly, an area where the EU comprehensively fails and coming from a maritime nation like Scotland it is impossible to defend. We need to rip it up and start again, and with your help I believe it is capable of reform.

"I have this morning invited your Fisheries Minister Mr Einar Kristinn Guðfinnsson to come to Scotland to discuss the future of EU Fisheries and Maritime policy. I have discussed this invitation with our Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead and have every confidence he will be keen to discuss ways we can work together.

"I would extend that invitation to any of our Icelandic colleagues, as I think there are many ways in which we, a maritime nation within the EU, and you, a maritime nation outside it, can jointly work to change what is for us the biggest problem of EU membership and for you the biggest block to accession."