SNP welcome Latvian presidency of Council of European Union

Small nations punching above their weight in 2015

The SNP is today welcoming the beginning of the Latvian presidency of the Council of the European Union – and has described 2015 as the year in which small nations are set to punch above their weight in the EU.

Latvia will hold the presidency for the first six months of the year, before handing it over to Luxembourg for the final half of 2015 – meaning that the EU’s agenda for 2015 will be set by small nations with populations significantly less than Scotland’s. 

Commenting, SNP MEP Alyn Smith said:

“I warmly welcome the upcoming presidencies of both Latvia and Luxembourg and look forward to working with them in 2015 on our shared priorities.

“That two countries with populations which are significantly smaller than Scotland’s will be setting Europe’s agenda for the next twelve months only confirms the potential of the EU to allow small nations to punch well above their weight on the international stage.

“But while both Latvia and Luxembourg will be able to lead on issues of direct importance to them and will be able to represent their own national interests at the top table – Scotland finds itself represented by a UK Government more focused on playing to UKIP’s agenda than in playing a constructive role in Europe.

“That is exactly why the SNP has always been clear that the extensive new powers which Scotland was promised must give Scotland a stronger and clearer voice on the international stage – to allow us to stand up for our own interests at the top table as other small nations do, rather than leaving it up to a distant Westminster establishment.

“An SNP vote at the General Election will put real pressure on Westminster to deliver these powers – and to give Scotland the voice at the top table that we need to stand up for the national interest.”