Only SNP Able To Fight For Scotland’s Ferries

16 February 2007
Reacting to reports in today's Herald of Scottish Ministers completefailure to argue the case for Scotland's unique ferry system in Brussels or Whitehall SNP MEP Alyn Smith today called for a Scottish government that would fight Scotland's corner in Europe.

Mr Smith has worked in close contact with the European Commission on the issue of Scotland's ferries. The Commission also revealed their lack of contact with the UK government or Scottish Executive to Mr Smith in 2005.

Commenting on the report Mr Smith said;

"There is no excuse for the failure of Lib Dem and Labour politicians in Scotland to take the case to Brussels themselves.

"On Monday it was the big boys in Brussels who were to blame, today it is the big boys in Whitehall, tomorrow it will be the tooth fairy.

"Tavish Scott may think this gets him off the hook but a politician with a bit of back bone would have fought this case anyway.

"The SNP have shown, even in opposition, we are more capable of thatthan any of the current administration.

"Back in 2005 the Commission confirmed to me that they had had littlecontact with the Scottish Executive or the UK. The Executive insisted they were in regular contact. Now we know otherwise.

"The SNP has urged the Scottish Executive to go to Brussels, to negotiate with Commissioners and if need be push this to the EuropeanCourt. We are even offering to help arrange a meeting for the Minister.

"If the Department of Transport did stop the Executive taking action then we should be asking serious questions of Alasdair Darling and Douglas Alexander who as Secretaries of State for Transport and Scotland were surely responsible.

"Is this what Alexander means by Scotland being well represented in Brussels or perhaps it's only Labour Ministers they represent.

"Scotland is uniquely hampered in Europe by the Scotland Act which allows the Secretary of State to over rule our administration and by our position in the UK.

"An Independent Scotland and an SNP government at Holyrood would fight Scotland's corner like any other member state and ensure that Scotland's islands have the ferry services they need."




Note to Editors

On Sunday 28th January in the Sunday Herald, Secretary of State forTransport and Secretary of State for Scotland Douglas Alexander said

"There is no more effective a position for Scotland than having one ofthe most influential member states representing Scotland's interests within all three of the EU Institutions."