Smith Condemns Poor Plans For EU Institute

26 September 2007
Scottish National Party MEP Alyn Smith yesterday spoke out against theongoing proposal for a European Institute of Technology.

Mr Smith was initially a supporter of the project and organised meetings between Scotland's Universities and Europe's Education Commissioner to discuss the proposal and its potential for Scotland.

Speaking in the debate Mr Smith particularly attacked the lack of funding for the project.

Mr Smith said;

"Mr President, surely in modern politics one of the most difficult things for a politician to say - other than ‘I was wrong' - is ‘let us stop and think again'.We could do with that in this debate. I am the first to acknowledge the hard work, in this House and in other places, that has gone into this proposal and into this report, and it is a matter of great regret to me that the end result really does not justify it.It is a great regret for me personally because I was initially very enthusiastic about this proposal. I myself sold it to our universities in Scotland, to our SMEs, to various other parties, and I have watched the proposal become increasingly weaker, diluted, muddled, precarious and, increasingly, underfunded.Surely, we all agree in this Chamber that Europe does not commercialise our research enough. We have agreed on the need to do something, but ‘we must do something; this is something, therefore we must do this' is surely a bad logic, which will result in a bad, artificial, weak EU creation that will not achieve our hopes. So let us be brave and rip this up and start again, and innovate and research a better EIT for Europe's future."

Speaking after the debate he added;

"Done right this has great potential and is something I would love to see Scottish Universities benefit from. We have some of the best research capability in europe and are experienced at knowledge transfer and commercialisation, the two areas the EIT wishes to address. However the Commission must ensure it is properly funded or we will only see other programmes suffer."