Success In Brussels for Mountainous, Island & Sparsely Populated Areas

10 December 2009
SNP MEP Alyn Smith has today welcomed the establishment of the first official European Parliament inter-group for mountainous, island and sparsely populated areas.




The Parliamentary caucus, brainchild of Mr Smith, formally brings together MEPs from across the European Union to work as a group on behalf of those geographical areas with specific policy issues.

Smith said:

"I made a promise in Stornoway back at the start of this year to get this group set up, and I am delighted that we now have the first ever official Parliamentary caucus for mountainous, island, sparsely populated and ultra-peripheral areas.
"For too long the specificities of areas with permanent handicaps have been ignored for the sake of expediency. The ‘one size fits all' approach applied to much legislation has been nothing short of disastrous for some of our most fragile areas.
"However, the Lisbon Treaty, which entered into force only this month, sets out that the EU will strengthen the economic, social and territorial cohesion of its member states, and in particular those regions which suffer from severe, permanent natural handicaps such as regions with very low population density and island, and mountain regions.
"There is a real appetite within the Parliament to work together on issues of common concern, whether it be on renewable energy policy, state aid, cohesion policy, reform of the Common Agricultural Policy, fisheries or transport.
"This Parliamentary caucus gives us an opportunity to shape and influence EU policy and defend the interests of these mountainous, island and sparsely populated regions, while raising the profile of their particular concerns, issues and challenges within the EU. Through this group we can transcend the Parliament's committee structure, and ensure that the specific concerns of Europe's mountainous, island and sparsely populated areas are fed into reports, resolutions, debates, amendments, written declarations and parliamentary questions, providing those regions with a real ‘political' voice."