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Ireland hands over EU presidency to Lithuania

The EU’s smaller nations are making a big impact according to SNP MEP Alyn Smith.  The job of leading the EU has been passed from Ireland to Lithuania, demonstrating the influence of the smaller nations of Europe.

Ireland’s six month presidency was one of the most successful in recent years with the nation of just under five million people leading the deals on the EU’s new seven year budget, reforming farming payments and fishing policy and bringing new ideas on other funds.

Alyn said: 

"Ireland did a remarkable job of steering the EU through a very busy and complex period.  With typical charm and hard work Irish politicians found the start of the solutions to some very knotty problems.

“The dedication to finding the right way forward rather than looking to dominate Europe meant that they were perfectly suited to bringing all 27 nations onto the same ground.  It’s an excellent reflection on what can be achieved in EU cooperation. 

"While the Lithuanians should have an easier time ahead, there will need to be a great deal of tying up loose ends before the European election campaign kicks off at the start of next year and I’m looking forward to us all getting down to work on that.

"These two presidencies show what Scotland will gain with a yes vote next year. Small, independent European countries lead the way in the EU, playing constructive roles for the European interest and their national interests. 

“8 of the 28 EU Member States have populations smaller than Scotland and four are about the same size so Scotland will fit in very well.  I’m looking forward to the day when Scotland’s MEPs get down to work in Scotland’s interests, supported by Scottish Ministers at the negotiating table, our own Commissioner and our own turn at the presidency."