Member of the European Parliament for the Scottish National Party, Alyn Smith, has slammed the decision of the European Court of Justice to impose an extremely low level of fine on Italy for the country's tardiness in fully implementing the EU's ban on battery cages for laying hens.
In response to the decision of the Court, Smith has today written to the European Commission demanding that concrete measures are now taken to avoid a similar situation from occurring again, and that the Commission immediately announce a full schedule of inspection visits to those countries still not fully compliant.
"We all knew this was going to happen - even the Commission was aware that there would be non-compliance after the deadline and that was years before we even reached the deadline. Doing absolutely nothing to avoid this situation from occurring whilst knowing fine well that it would is completely absurd and, to add insult to injury, the punishment for blatantly flouting the rules seems to be a tiny fine.
"Such idiocy on the part of the Commission for not stepping in sooner does nothing to combat rising anti-EU sentiment and instead just feeds it. It is a harder task to justify to Scottish farmers why abiding by EU rules is so important when the repercussion for just ignoring the rules is merely a small smack on the back of the hand.
"I have today written to the Commission to demand an explanation for this approach, and for reassurance that lessons have been well-learned from this affair. I want to see steps taken immediately to see that Scotland's farmers are no longer punished financially for playing by the rules while others merely flout them."