SNP Comment On Dock Worker Strasbourg Clashes

23 January 2006

Alyn Smith has today (Monday) commented on the clashes between European dock workers and French riot police at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, and criticised the dockers for picking afight with the one EU institution which will help them.

The SNP MEP said:

"This is an unfortunate event today and I hope it will not berepeated tomorrow. I am opposed to this legislation as much as thedockers but this is not the way to go about winning their argument inEurope.

"I had a bird's eye view of the protest from the Parliament building and it appeared the majority were protesting peacefully as is their right. However there were those who came with rockets and distress flares and I unreservedly condemn the actions of this minority.

"The European Parliament supported the dockers case on this issue in 2003 and I certainly support their objections this time. I have consulted widely in Scotland to see how the industry views these proposals and the answer has come back loud and clear that they arenot the way forward. I believe that the proposals before the Parliament by the European Commission are flawed, and will be votingagainst as will a number of my colleagues.

"Scottish ports, those employed on the Forth, Clyde and around thecountry could all be at risk from lower safety standards, laxersecurity and potential job losses if this legislation passes. That is why I will be voting against it and I hope, despite today's troubles, that my fellow Scottish MEPs will join me.