SNP MEP Sole Scots Voice on Key Euro- Committee

14 October 2004
"Finance key to EU's future will be a battleground - "I'll be fighting for Scotland"

SNP MEP Mr Alyn Smith has today been confirmed as the only Scottish voice on the European Parliament's Temporary Committee set up to examine the future finances of the European Union.

The "Temporary Committee on Policy Challenges and Budgetary Means of the Enlarged Union 2007-2013" has been set up in order to scrutinise the future finances of the EU in the light of enlargement to the East as well as amongst other issues, contentious proposals from the UK government to cut EU, and hence Scottish, funding. Mr Smith was today confirmed as an alternate Member, the only Scottish MEP to have any voice in the Committee.

Alyn Smith MEP said:

"This Committee is going to be a battleground, I'm looking forward to the fight. The Enlargement of the EU was a great achievement, but we must always remember that there are areas of Scotland every bit as much in need of support as they ever were. There is also the vexed issue of the UK's rebate, which will as ever be under attack for the effect it has on the overall EU finances.

"Alternate membership of this Committee also fits well with my membership of the Regional Policy Committee, which deals with the day-to-day funding issues, but this Temporary Committee will be looking at a wider canvas and it is vital that Scotland has a voice so I'm glad it is me. And the European institutions are interested in Scotland. I'm hoping that I will be able to persuade the Regional Committee to come to Scotland early in 2005 and am pleased that the other Scots parties in that Committee have supported my initiative and worked with me for Scotland's benefit.

"It is a shame that the other Scottish parties did not secure any sort of representation on this Temporary Committee, but I'll be battling to get the best deal I can for Scotland. Fighting against these proposals from London which will be as bad for Scotland as they would be for Europe."