Scottish MEP Builds Maritime Links With Norway

10 July 2007
Scotland's maritime links with Norway have received a further boost after Scottish MEP Alyn Smith co-authored a report on the EU's proposed Maritime strategy with an MP from the Norwegian Parliament.

Mr Smith, who is a member of the European Parliamentary delegation to Norway and Iceland worked with the Norwegian MP Borge Brende to respond to proposals from the European Commission on reforming the legislation on maritime issues.

The EU's maritime strategy is to be debated at the European Parliament in Strasbourg today and the European Commission consultation has received a record number of responses, including one from the Scottish Parliament.

Speaking ahead of today's debate Mr Smith said;

"Scotland working with Norway on maritime policy is an excellent example of how our two countries can co-operate for mutual benefit.

"I sincerely hope when MEPs debate Maritime policy today they will consider the recommendations in our report and act on them.

"Maritime policy isn't just about fishing it's about how we use the waters around us and as Scotland and Norway border the same stretch of North Sea it is logical for us to co-operate.

"On issues from renewable energy, to research, to shipping and environmental management there is a lot we can achieve by working with our Nordic colleagues.

"I am sure we will be able to continue this positive discussion and that many of Scotland's maritime communities will be keen to, if they aren't all ready, talk to their Nordic neighbours on how best to manage the waters between us.

"Norway, Iceland and Scotland must all play a full role in developing a Maritime Strategy for the EU. With Scotland in the EU whilst Norway and Iceland are outside we have a key role to play as a bridge between the EU and it's Nordic neighbours, a role that I am happy to have had the opportunity to turn into positive proposals for Europe and Scotland."

The report co-authored by Mr Smith and Mr Bende and presented at the end of June in Leichtenstein included the following suggestions

  • EU action should only occur when it adds value to national and local policy actions
  • Co-operation on energy policy in areas such as offshore renewables and carbon capture in the North Sea
  • Opposition to an EU Coastguard but support for greater co-ordination
  • Increased Maritime Research Funding including a European Maritime Research Network incorporating users of Europe's waters as well as scientists.