Conference Heads To Edinburgh After European U-turn

08 September 2005
A high profile meeting of African, Caribbean and Pacific parliamentarians with their European counterparts will come to Edinburgh after a campaign by MEPs.

The Joint Parliamentary Assembly had planned to hold it's meeting in Edinburgh in November, but the European Parliament bureau, led by the parliament president had ruled it should go to Strasbourg.

SNP MEP Alyn Smith, with the backing of other Scots MEPs, called on Monday for the Parliament to reverse its decision. Leaders of all the European parties agreed and the bureau was forced to hold two re-votes until Edinburgh was confirmed as the venue for the conference.

Speaking after the decision came through Mr Smith said

"I'm pleased that we managed to turn this decision around and bring this event to Edinburgh. I'd like to thank all my colleagues in the European Parliament who backed Edinburgh and supported our claim to hold this conference.

"The ACP-EU conference will focus on development and after the Make Poverty History March and the G8 it's only right that Scotland is again the host. The plan to hold the meeting in Strasbourg was ridiculous. Many people had put a lot of effort into planning this event and I'm happy to see that sense prevailed in the end.

"I now look forward to seeing this gathering of parliamentarians from all over the world at the EICC and seeing Scotland and Edinburgh once again leading the international development agenda."