Commission Called On To Investigate Scottish Executive Procedures

15 September 2005
SNP MEP Alyn Smith has kept up the SNP campaign for Ferguson's shipyard, calling on the European Commission to comment upon the adequacy of the investigation into alleged illegal subsidy of Polish shipyards carried out by Scottish Executive civil servants.

Mr Smith has also called upon the Commission to conclude its own investigation into the Polish yards as soon as possible to avoid complications with future tenders.

The SNP MEP said:

"Ferguson's lost a tender because of allegedly unfair competition from Polish yards. Mr McConnell and Mr Finnie claim that they conducted an investigation into these allegations and found no evidence. The competent authority for such investigations across Europe is the European Commission, and I doubt that the Executive inquiry was overly thorough or carried out by experts.

"I'm curious to see what sort of view the European Commission will have on the statements by the Executive that they carried out an investigation when the Commission has yet to conclude its own.

"I also want to see the Commission conclude its own investigations into the Polish yard so we can know, as soon as possible, whether the yard is guilty or innocent. If the Commission does find evidence against the yards then I hope that their action will be swift and brutal.

"Mr Finnie's bizarre comments that even if the Polish yards did compete unfairly, he cannot cancel contracts beggars belief. These contracts would have been won in bad faith and I hope the Scottish Executive can find the backbone to cancel them. As ever, Scotland's problems are not European, Scotland's problems are domestic. Starting with Mr Finnie and ending with Jack McConnell."

ENDS

Note to Editors

Mr Smith has written to Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes bringing the alleged Scottish Executive investigation to her attention and asking her to comment upon it. He has also stressed to her the urgency of the ongoing Commission investigations to the future of the Port Glasgow yard.