SNP MEP Presses Fish Commissioner On Common Fisheries Policy

15 November 2007
"If we want Iceland and Norway to join the EU, surely we should removetheir biggest block to membership?"

SNP Member of the European Parliament has pressed EU FisheriesCommissioner Joe Borg on the pace of reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) at a meeting in Strasbourg with representatives of the Icelandic and Norwegian Parliaments.

In a lively exchange, Mr Smith claimed that the CFP is the single biggest obstacle to membership of the EU for Norway and Iceland and Mr Borg admitted that the fisheries management system of the EU "is not working in the best way" but denied Mr Smith's call for wholesale scrapping of the Common Policy.

The meeting then went on to question Mr Borg further on the implications of EU fisheries policy for Iceland and Norway.

Speaking after the meeting Mr Smith said:

"I was impressed with Mr Borg, this was my first formal meeting with him as my SNP colleague Ian Hudghton leads for the SNP on fish in the European Parliament. Mr Borg clearly knew his brief and clearly also acknowledges the failures in the way the EU runs fisheries.

"The Commissioner does however take a different view to the SNP and defends the 'common nature' of the policy. I fundamentally disagree and will never be persuaded that a system which gives landlocked Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Austria a greater say over the North Sea then us makes sense. The Commissioner wants to maintain a one size fits all policy, I would contend that that is precisely the problem.

"Commissioner Borg went on to reassure me that as far as he is concerned Norway and Iceland are treated as member states in the discussions over the future of the EU Maritime policy. I'm glad to hear it and look forward to the day Scotland is as well."