Commission needs to stop ignoring Holyrood

23 February 2005
"Scots are becoming increasingly euro-sceptic and as long as the Commission continues to ignore the legislative powers of Holyrood that's unlikely to change."

This was said by Scottish Nationalist MEP Alyn Smith as he called for the European Commission to engage directly with the Scottish Parliament and for Scotland to be given a greater say in Europe.

Responding to plans announced by Vice President of the Commission Margot Wallstrom to increase co-operation with national parliaments Mr Smith has written to Ms Wallstrom asking for the same level of co-operation with the Scottish Parliament.

"The Commission is talking about engaging with national parliaments as a way of relating to European citizens and of engagement with the UK as a major challenge. If they want to connect with Scotland then Commissioners need to pay more attention to Holyrood.

The UK parliament does not legislate for Scotland on economic development, on the environment or on justice, three of the Commission's priority areas, so what is the point of the Commission talking only to Westminster and not to Holyrood. Holyrood passes and implements European legislation, I want to see more Commissioners and Commission Officials at the Scottish Parliament to explain their aims and listen to the views of the Parliament.

Commissioners have appeared at the Parliament in the past so why are we excluded from the Commission's new plan for dialogue and co-operation? Why should the Scottish Parliament have to wait to receive European legislation from London when it could be sent directly to Edinburgh? These are issues the Commission needs to address if it really wants to connect with Scotland"

Vice-President of the Commission Margot Wallstrom announced plans to develop stronger relationships with national parliaments on Thursday 17th February. These plans form part of the Protocol on the role of National Parliaments in the European Union introduced in the proposed Constitutional Treaty. The subsidiarity protocol which could improve the position of the Scottish Parliament has not been implemented.

Plans to improve co-operation include newsletters featuring direct information for parliaments, regular meetings for parliamentary civil servants with the Commission, the designation of a Commission official to answer queries from a national parliament, and the direct flow of information from the Commission to the parliaments.