SNP Seeks Guarantees On Brown's EU Budget Squeeze

19 December 2005
SNP Europe Spokesman, Alyn Smith MEP, has today written to UK Chancellor Gordon Brown to seek assurances that Scotland will not lose out on EU funding due to the implications for Treasury calculations of the changes to the UK rebate.

Mr Smith has also released a list of special benefits or "sweeties" secured by the member states present in the Council of Ministers negotiating chamber while Scotland was left out in the cold.

Speaking from Brussels, Mr Smith said:

"Scotland has suffered in these negotiations from being part of the UK with no voice at the table. I am concerned Scotland will suffer even more when the Treasury allocates what little cash we have received. I am writing to Gordon Brown to raise my concerns on this issue and seek a guarantee from him that Scotland's funding will not face any further harm.

"The battle for Scotland's funding is not over yet. The allocation of Scotland's European money is determined by the Treasury. We have to keep the pressure on Gordon Brown and Tony Blair to make sure Scotland receives all the money we are entitled to, to be spent on the ground by local organisations not the Scottish Executive.

"Gordon Brown has already warned the loss of the rebate will mean cuts to domestic budgets; there is a serious risk of a squeeze on Scotland.

"Tony Blair was forced to bribe his way around Europe to get any sort of deal, and for Scotland it was only the pressure of countries like Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia that ensured we received any European funding at all. However, it is considerably less than the original plans the European Commission offered.

"The summit meeting in Brussels was the usual shabby horse-trading behind closed doors in the middle of the night, but I would rather have seen Scotland behind those doors than outside of them in the Brussels winter.

"It is natural for independent states like Finland, Ireland and all the rest to bargain to ensure they get something out of the negotiations. Unfortunately, while Scotland does not have that right, the only thing we have gained from the UK presidency is a tarnished reputation and massive uncertainty about continued EU funding which we have used so well to such good effect."

Notes:

Negotiated Member State benefits from EU budget deal:

  • Spain been granted 3.25bn euro to cover loss of cohesion fund money, 2bn euro extra under ERDF to enhance its research and development, 50m euro for the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta & Melilla in Morocco & 100m euro for the Canary Islands;
  • Italy gets 1.9 bn euro more in Structural Fund money, as does France for Corsica & the French region of Hainault (100m euro);
  • 300m euro in aid will be paid to regions of East Germany;
  • Additional ERDF aid of 206m euro for the regions of Lubelskie, Podkarpackie, Warminsko-Mazurskie, Polkaskie and Swietokrzyskie in Poland (the 5 regions of the EU with lowest GDP per inhabitant) as wellas 1bn euro for Poland to hedge changes in the zloty-euro exchange rate;
  • 140m euro for the region of Kozep-Magyarorszag in Hungary;
  • 200m euro for the region of Prague;
  • extra aid for ultra-peripheral (remote) regions of the EU;
  • 200m euro for the Northern Ireland peace process;
  • 150m euro from the ERDF for various regions of Sweden falling under Regional Competitiveness & Employment Objective;
  • 47.7m euro for Estonia and 81.85m euro for Latvia;
  • 150m euro from the ERDF for regions of Austria on the EU's former external borders; and
  • 100m euro extra for Bavaria.