MEP condemns Labour refusal to stand up for Scotland

23 June 2005
SNP MEP Alyn Smith today reaffirmed his and the SNPs support for retaining EU structural funds in Scotland. He was commenting after Labour MEP Catherine Stihler refused to back Scottish funding when interviewed by the BBC on Newsnight Scotland (Monday 13th June).

The current EU budget negotiations could see the end of vital European development funding for the whole of Scotland, and would have a particular impact on the Highlands and Islands where European Union Objective 1 and transitional funding has supported many infrastructure, business, environmental and educational projects.

Speaking after the interview on Newsnight Scotland Alyn Smith said

"It is disgraceful that Catherine Stihler failed to back European funding for the Highlands and Islands. The Scottish Executive's own figures show there is 710 million pounds at stake. She was given a clear yes or no question, but instead of coming clean, she fussed and fiddled, avoiding a serious issue for the Scottish economy.

I have absolutely no problem sticking up for Scotland and for EU funding, not just in the Highlands and Islands but across Scotland. Communities across Scotland are entitled to this money, it's a shame Labour MEPs won't do the same.

What's even worse is that Catherine has previously signed up to support continued funding for the Highlands, she now seems to have no idea what her position is. Labour MEPs are letting Scotland down."

Note for information

The future of European Union Regional Development funding is currently being negotiated as part of the EU budget for 2007-13. The UK negotiating position is for a cut in the EU budget and an end to structural funds for all areas of the United Kingdom. This position goes against that of the European Commission, the European Parliament and the majority of EU member states. It is also opposed by COSLA and all the European funding partnerships in Scotland.