Euro News Monthly January 2011

Happy New Year one and all. I hope you had an enjoyable festive period with friends and family. It's back to business as usual on my end!

This month I highlighted further worrying developments in the global food supply chain, with instability in the Middle East kicking off a round of panic buying by Middle East regimes and other countries. Climate change and increasing fuel costs have played their part in the current political instability in some countries, which will itself trigger pressure spikes on the global food supply chain, which is already under unprecedented pressure. This backdrop makes it all the more urgent that, as we reform the EU's Common Agricultural Policy, we remember that the primary goal of the policy is food security and feeding our people. We in Scotland are no more apart from this interdependent world than anyone else is, and we have a lot at stake in the ongoing reforms. To keep updated with all my news visit my website: or follow me on:

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Welcome for Cuts in Red Tape for Research

Alyn has hailed the steps taken by the European Commission to simplify EU funding for research and innovation.

It is hoped that the new procedures will make participation in the EU's current Seventh Framework Programme for Research (FP7) more attractive and accessible to the best researchers and most innovative companies, in particular small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) which currently only account for 14.7% of participants in the areas in which they are eligible to take part.

Wider simplification steps will follow in time for the next EU research programme in 2013. The Commission will present legislative proposals for this programme by the end of 2011, after a consultation to be opened in early spring.

Alyn said:

"These steps by the Commission, although not extensive, are good news for the research community and, in particular, good news for SMEs."

Alyn Launches European Year of Volunteering 2011

Alyn and Neil Mitchison at Edinburgh Waverley

A new campaign asking the population of Scotland to embark on a volunteering journey in 2011 as part of their New Year's resolution has been launched in awareness of the European Year of Volunteering 2011.

The campaign launched at Edinburgh Waverley Station by Alyn and Neil Mitchison, European Commission Representative for Scotland (above) aims to highlight the key benefits to individuals interested in volunteering and hopes to encourage more people in Scotland to volunteer within their community with the hope to see an 11% increase throughout the country this year.

Alyn commented:

"Volunteering is an integral part of life, and it is high time that we recognise and mark the fantastic contribution that volunteers make in such a variety of different sectors of society.

"More than 100 million Europeans volunteer for all sorts of things each year, by making 2011 the European Year of Volunteering we can go just a little way to giving all of Europe's volunteers the thanks that they deserve."

Shame on Supermarkets for Shunning Scottish Meat

Alyn has expressed disappointment that major retailers are remaining complacent about stocking Scottish meat on their shelves.

Responding to an investigation by National Farmers Union Scotland (NFUS) that looked at the country of origin of meat on supermarket shelves, Alyn said:

"This is a shocking find by NFUS. At a time when Scotland's producers are facing record input costs, we are seeing supermarkets stacking their shelves with meat from the Netherlands, Denmark, France and even further afield.

"The supermarkets are telling us that they don't need a code of conduct, and they don't need legislation, but nothing they are doing supports this point of view and instead they quietly reap the benefits of a price collapse on the continent. The one bright point is that, yet again, Morrisons leads the way in promoting homegrown produce and I commend them for it."

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