Last Chance For Edinburgh Summit

06 September 2005
"They must decide tomorrow and they must decide for Edinburgh"

SNP MEP Alyn Smith has called on the European Parliament Bureau to reach a final decision tomorrow on the location of a major international meeting of parliamentarians from Africa, Caribbean, Pacific and European countries.

The meeting had been expected to be held in Edinburgh as part of the UK Presidency but the Parliament bureau inexplicably decided to give it to Strasbourg. MEPs and political groups in Europe have lodged complaints and have now forced a second re-vote on the decision after the first one was tied. The second vote will take place tomorrow (Wednesday) evening.

Speaking earlier this morning, MEP Alyn Smith, who addressed the European Parliament on the issue said

"The Parliament's bureau and the President of the Parliament must bring this conference to Scotland. Edinburgh and the EICC have worked hard to put together a high quality conference programme at the cheapest possible price. If this decision goes in favour of Strasbourg it will be a travesty.

"Scotland's MEPs are united on this issue and we have sent a letter to the President calling on him to reverse his decision and bring the meeting to Edinburgh."

Note to Editors

Text of cross party letter below

Dear President Borrell,
Dear Member of the Bureau,

We write jointly as Scottish MEPs to urge you to reconsider, and indeed to reverse, the decision to hold the 10th ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly in Strasbourg instead of Edinburgh in Scotland.

Scotland's government is enthusiastic about hosting this meeting, and is willing to put forward cash resources to help it happen. Scotland hosted the G8 meeting a few short months ago. The UK holds the Presidency of the EU and convention would suggest that this should be decisive in locating this event. Scotland is more accessible than Strasbourg, and we understand that the venue remains available.

We would emphasise to you the cross party support of ourselves, the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish and UK governments to host this event in Scotland.

If we can provide any further information please get in touch with any or all of us.

Signed by Alyn Smith, Ian Hudghton, Struan Stevenson, Elspeth Attwooll, David Martin and Catherine Stihler