MEP Invites Energy Commissioner To Scotland

27 January 2010
SNP Member of the European Parliament Alyn Smith has today (Wednesday) invited the new prospective European Commissioner for Energy to come to Scotland to see for himself what a glittering contribution Scotland is making and will make to Europe's energy policy.

Gunther Oettinger, the German nominee for the Energy portfolio, has not been formally approved by the European Parliament as yet, but Smith is confident enough he will be to get an invitation in early.

Smith brought the previous Energy Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs, to Scotland in 2006, building contacts and boosting Scotland's reputation as a major energy player in Brussels, which along with a lot of effort by a lot of stakeholders resulted in a number of Scottish projects gaining EU funding.

Smith was in the 2004-2009 parliament an alternate member of the Energy Committee, and was particularly active on energy issues, being nominated in the 2008 MEP of the year awards for his energy work, as well as politician of the year in the 2009 Scottish Green Energy awards.

Smith said:

"While my invitation might be a little early, in Brussels shy weans get no sweeties and it is best to be front of the queue than wait for an invitation!

"We built up a very constructive relationship with Mr Oettinger's predecessor, and I very much hope to continue that relationship as the SNP government continues to push on all fronts to secure Scotland's position as Europe's Energy capital.

"It is well known that Scotland has won the energy lottery. We have fossil fuels in abundance, with reserves of coal, oil and gas already well explored, we have proven technologies in wind, hydro and biomass, as well as tantalising new technologies in biofuels, wave, and tidal research. Energy policy is and will remain at the top of the EU's agenda, the Germans have not sought to get their man in the post for nothing. Scotland is ideally placed to be a constructive partner on all aspects of EU policy, with massive economic interests at stake and much to gain as well as contribute.

"I am confident that the government and industry in Scotland will put on a first class programme when the Commissioner comes, as I hope he will soon."