SNP MEP In Greenland For EU-West Nordic Council Summit

17 May 2011
SNP MEP Alyn Smith will represent Scotland and the EU at the 3rd EU-West Nordic Council summit meeting in Nuuk, Greenland this Thursday and Friday (18-20 May 2011).

Smith will speak about seal and whale hunting and the EU Common Fisheries Policy as well as Energy and Mineral rights and Climate Change.

Speaking before his visit Alyn said:

"We live in an interconnected world where most issues cross borders on way or another. The whole point to independence is to move from now, where someone else decides what powers we have, to a place where we decide what powers we share, who with and how we share them. That process is already underway and I will be proud to represent Scotland and the EU as a whole in these talks. The Nordic Council and the West Nordic Council have huge potential for Scotland.

"We are putting Scotland on the map as Scotland, not a region of something else, a major player with a lot to contribute as well as a lot to learn. We're often called a small state, compared to Iceland, Greenland and the Faroes we're massive! I'm keen to see us work with them all on real projects, energy and fisheries in particular given our common agenda and real links with a number of our oil companies already active in Greenland.

"Obviously, talking does not automatically mean we agree, and on whaling and seal clubbing we have very different views. Greenlandic Inuit whalers catch around 175 whales per year, making them the third largest hunt in the world after Norway and Japan. Whaling is an emotive issue globally, and divides opinion all over the world. At the meeting I want to express the massive reservations people in Scotland have about the resumption of commercial whaling but I’ll listen too.

"I'm looking forward to the talks and our pro-sustainability anti-CFP arguments in the Council of Ministers in Brussels will be immeasurably strengthened by working closely with likeminded friends. These talks, and representing Scotland internationally, are not just about being nice, they are the best way to bring home ideas and build links to the betterment of our country."