Scotland In Firing Line For Brown's EU Budget Squeeze

08 December 2005
SNP Europe Spokesman Alyn Smith MEP has today written to UK Chancellor Gordon Brown seeking assurances that Scotland will not lose out on EU funding because of the implications of the UK rebate on Treasury calculations.

Mr Smith has also released a list of special benefits secured by other member states who were present in the Council of Ministers negotiating chamber while Scotland was left out in the cold and will suffer from continuing uncertainty over EU funding.

Speaking from Brussels, Mr Smith said:

"Scotland has suffered in these negotiations from being part of the UK with no voice at the table. I am concerned Scotland will suffer even more when the Treasury allocates what little cash we have received. I am writing to Gordon Brown to raise my concerns on this issue and seek a guarantee from him that Scotland's funding will not face any further harm.

"The battle for Scotland's funding is not over yet. The allocation of Scotland's European money is determined by the Treasury. We have to keep the pressure on Gordon Brown and Tony Blair to make sure Scotland receives all the money we are entitled to, to be spent on the ground by local organisations not the Scottish Executive. Gordon Brown has already warned the loss of the rebate will mean cuts to domestic budgets, there is a serious risk of a squeeze on Scotland.

"Tony Blair was forced to bribe his way around Europe to get any sort of deal, and for Scotland it was only the pressure of countries like Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia that ensure we received any European funding at all. Though it is considerably less than the original plans from the European Commission offered.

"It is natural for independent states like Finland, Ireland and all the rest to ensure that they get something out of the negotiations, and I do not begrudge them any of their gains. Unfortunately while Scotland does not have that right the only thing we have gained from the UK presidency is a tarnished reputation and massive uncertainty about continued EU funding which we have used so well to such good effect."

List of Sweeties

  • Spain been granted 3.25bn euro to cover loss of cohesion fund money., 2bn euro extra under ERDF to enhance its research and development, 50m euro for the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta & Melilla in Morocco & 100m euro for the Canary Islands;
  • Italy gets 1.9 bn euro more in Structural Fund money, as does France for Corsica & the French region of Hainault (100m euro);
  • 300m euro in aid will be paid to regions of East Germany;
  • Additional ERDF aid of 206m euro for the regions of Lubelskie, Podkarpackie, Warminsko-Mazurskie, Polkaskie and Swietokrzyskie in Poland (the 5 regions of the EU with lowest GDP per inhabitant) as wellas 1bn euro for Poland to hedge changes in the zloty-euro exchange rate;
  • 140m euro for the region of Kozep-Magyarorszag in Hungary;
  • 200m euro for the region of Prague;
  • extra aid for ultra-peripheral (remote) regions of the EU;
  • 200m euro for the Northern Ireland peace process;
  • 150m euro from the ERDF for various regions of Sweden falling under Regional Competitiveness & Employment Objective;
  • 47.7m euro for Estonia and 81.85m euro for Latvia;
  • 150m euro from the ERDF for regions of Austria on the EU's former external borders; and
  • 100m euro extra for Bavaria.