Implications For Scotland Of UK's EU Budget Proposals – SNP Briefing

14 December 2005
SNP Europe Spokesman Alyn Smith MEP has this afternoon published a briefing on tomorrow's EU summit meeting, and the implications of the UK's latest proposals for the EU budget from a Scottish perspective.

The UK's proposals will see Scotland's EU funding slashed with no meaningful reform of the EU's budget or priorities. The proposals are likely to be comprehensively rejected by other member states and damage the UK, and with it Scotland, in Europe.

Speaking from Strasbourg Mr Smith said:

"I'm publishing this briefing as a guide to what is actually going on as opposed to what the UK is telling us is going on. The fact is Scotland is being ignored by the UK in these negotiations and it is MEPs and other small European countries doing our fighting for us.

"The UK proposals will see Scotland's structural funds cut by hundreds of millions of pounds from the Commission's proposals and crucial spending on Research and Development reduced by a third.

"The UK claims that they want to reform the Common Agricultural Policy, but even a cursory examination of their actual proposals shows clearly that there are no actual reforms in mind. Talk of reform is a tactic to annoy the French and distract from their disastrous position.

"The only positive aspect of the UK proposals is that the UK position before December was that Scotland would get no funding at all. This limited amount of money at least gives some comfort that they are going in our direction, I'm glad they have responded to pressure on that, but these proposals remain deeply flawed and we need to keep the pressure on.

"Smaller EU states, like Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania, were instrumental in rejecting the UK's first draft. These countries, all smaller than Scotland, are being listened to by the UK, Scotland under Jack McConnell has not dared utter a word while our interests are overlooked."

"I shudder to think the damage that the UK is doing to Scotland's place in Europe, and hope that the talks this week end swiftly to spare further embarrassment."

Note to Editors

Briefing on the UK proposals for the EU budget and the implications for Scotland attached.