SNP Respond To EU-Scotland Pilot Project

13 October 2005
SNP MEP Alyn Smith has today responded to the announcement by the Scottish Executive of a one year study into what lessons the EU can learn from Scotland on involving citizens in the EU process.

Speaking from Brussels, Mr Smith said:

"I've long said that Scotland has a lot to offer the EU. The Scottish Parliament is much more open and transparent than Europe and the use of new technologies has helped Holyrood communicate with people across Scotland so I welcome this interest, but cannot raise much excitement about yet another research project into why the EU is not loved. There are umpteen going on all over Europe.

"The current problems facing the EU are not just the result of poor communication, they are the result of a poor reality. This pilot study was first announced months ago by the European Commission in the wake of the Dutch and French No votes on the European Constitution. The announcement today that Scotland is to play a part in it is welcome, but where's the substance?

"Scotland could shed some light on how the EU could move forward, but the Scottish Executive has resisted every chance to meaningfully engage. Where is direct representation of Scotland in the European Court of Justice, responses to Commission consultations and a forceful presence in Brussels? The Scottish Executive is nowhere to be seen in Brussels, and this project will doubtless not consider any such heavy issues.

"We could do much better."