SNP backs negotiation on EU budget

23 January 2006

Scottish National Party MEP Alyn Smith today called for mature negotiation between the European Parliament and the Austrian Presidency of the EU onthe European budget.

The Parliament today rejected the deal agreed by Tony Blair in December andcalled for negotiations on the amount and the distribution of money beingmade available to the EU.

Speaking after the vote Mr Smith said

"The deal Blair got was better than the one the UK government wanted, butfar less than the Parliament had hoped for. By rejecting the budget today weare calling for serious, mature negotiations to take place to ensure that thebudget enables the EU to fulfil its potential.

"The budget currently on offer does not meet the objectives the EuropeanUnion has set itself and imposes serious cuts on structural funds, researchand development, security and competitiveness. All areas we are supposedto be prioritising.

"I was disappointed when the budget deal was announced, though I welcomethe fact that structural funding for Scotland will continue, the cuts imposed arefar greater than I would like them to be. "