MEP Reaction To European Parliament President In Scotland

10 November 2005

Commenting on the visit of European Parliament President Josep Borrell to the Scottish Parliament today SNP MEP Alyn Smith said

"I welcome all foreign visitors to Scotland and Mr Borrell is no exception. It was obvious he was enjoying his time here.

"I do not always find myself in agreement with the President but his comments on the EU budget were spot on. If the UK Presidency can not reach a deal by the end of December Blair's Presidency and his attempt to claim leadership in Europe will have failed.

"Europe can not run with out a budget, and the absence of an agreement puts many programmes in Scotland, from Research and Development, to the Structural and Social funds in jeopardy. This is not an abstract European argument; it will have a real impact on the ground in every part of the EU.

"I want to see a budget deal done as soon as possible, but the UK government must realise it has to compromise, and that cutting the budget to 1%, cutting spending on key areas like Research and Development and cutting over ÂŁ710 million from Scotland is not the way to do that. "