Euro News Monthly November 2009

Alyn launching the SNP Passport to Europe Brochure at Aberdeen College

This month has seen Belgian Prime Minister, Herman Van Rompay, named the EU's 1st president. The EU also appointed Catherine Ashton, a former member of the House of Lords, as its Foreign Affairs chief. I was relieved to hear that Downing Street abandoned its campaign to put ex-prime minister and chief European cheerleader for the disastrous and illegal war in Iraq-Tony Blair, in the prestige job after it was clear he did not have enough support. These two new positions, resulting from the Lisbon Treaty, will come into effect on December 4th.

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to the Middle East this month. I am Member of the Parliament's Delegation for Relations with the Arabian Peninsula and I grew up in neighbouring Saudi Arabia so I maintain a close interest in the region. The fact that Kuwait, with a population smaller than greater Glasgow, has been able to run its oil wealth so prudently is an example of what we should be doing in Scotland.

I also spent a few days in the oil capital of Europe this month-Aberdeen. I launched an art competition in Aberdeen College, to find a talented student to design the front cover of the SNP passport to Europe brochure. The SNP passport to Europe is a brochure that provides all the necessary information Scots need to know to ensure they are fully informed on what their rights and entitlements are under EU law. This is a fantastic opportunity for Aberdeen's next Salvador Dali in the making to showcase their talent and have it seen by thousands of people! I look forward to seeing the entries. I also spent a fun day horse-grooming at Belwade Farm

Smith Calls on Brown to Stop KPMG's £1m a Month to Strip Dunfermline Building Society

Scotland's only member of the European Parliament Financial Crisis Committee Inquiry, Mr Alyn Smith, has called on Gordon Brown to intervene and save his constituency from the tight grasp of accountancy firm KPMG, who are charging £1 million a month to administer the Dunfermline Building Society.

The details of KPMG's work have emerged in a progress report to creditors which was passed to Smith. The document also discloses that KPMG have notched up £121,822 in expenses, including a £42,000 hotel bill, after taking over as administrator of the Dunfermline Building Society in March. Whilst KPMG are lording it up in expenses, they are at the same time forcing businesses to repay loans and credit facilities early or face massive rises in interest rates, resulting in businesses being run into the ground and staff being put out of work.

Smith said:

"The SNP warned Labour six months ago that no one would benefit from their break up of the Dunfermline. As it turns out there has been a significant beneficiary – KPMG, to the tune of £1 million per month.

"This money is being removed from the Dunfermline while countless small business with loan facilities coming to an end are being told to take their business elsewhere or face ruinous hikes in interests rates.

"It must rub salt into their wounds when they see not content with taking a million pounds a month out of the Dunfermline in fees KPMG claimed £42,000 in hotel bills and nearly £70,000 in travel despite the fact that they have offices less than 20 miles from Dunfermline HQ in Edinburgh.

"It is a supreme irony that whilst Gordon Brown has taken action to stop RBS, HBOS and the other nationalised banks form taking this kind of heavy handed action he has done nothing to stop it happening to business customers of the Dunfermline BS. I have written to the Prime Minister because he needs to take action today to stop this rip off in his own back yard going any further."

Smith Saddles Up

Alyn on a horseSmith saddled up for the day at Belwade stables, Aberdeenshire, as part of his annual work experience. The main purpose behind Smith's visit is to raise awareness of the callous practice of long distance transportation of horses across Europe for slaughter which is due for review.

Smith, an active campaigner for better horse welfare, this month signed Written Declaration (54/2009) to show his support for a review of the current Transport Regulation, specifically regarding horses

Smith said: "I really enjoyed my visit and am delighted to be working alongside World Horse Welfare. As their mouthpiece in Europe, I want to help them every way I can. The current legislation, EU Council Regulation (EC) 1/2005 has serious deficiencies and some Member States do not rigorously enforce it, resulting in exhaustion, injury, pain and stress amongst horses. These journeys are not only inhumane but are totally unnecessary. I am determined to keep the pressure on the Commission"

Smith in Middle East on Fact Finding Mission

Smith was in Kuwait this month for a series of meetings to build ties and make contacts with the Kuwaiti government and business. He met with key figures from Kuwaiti politics in the National Assembly, got a tour of the oil fields and industry, and met with the Managing Director of the Kuwait Investment Fund.

Recap of Recent Events

02/11/09 - Calmac Future Secured with EU Decision

The future of ferry services to the Western and Northern Isles has been secured after the European Commission ruled that action by the Scottish Government to support the services was appropriate and that there had been no overpayment of subsidy. The Commission has also confirmed that the ferry service between Gourock and Dunoon town centres can continue - subject to a tendering exercise.

Smith, who has campaigned for security for the island ferry services and for the town centre service across the Clyde said:

"After decades of jumping through EU legal hoops this is a positive decision for Scotland's remote and island communities. Our ferry services are essential and I welcome the Commission's confirmation that the Scottish Government's actions are right and appropriate to secure the future of our ferries."

27/11/09- Smith Nominated As Politician Of The Year In Green Energy Awards

Smith is delighted to have been nominated as Politician of the Year in the Green Energy Awards due to be announced on 3 December. The award recognises the achievements of politicians working to support renewable energy in Scotland. Smith said: "I feel honoured to be nominated and fingers crossed I will win and leave my fellow nominees green with envy! It's a privilege to represent Scotland's energy sector in Brussels, we have, truly, every possible energy resource in spades, and a massive stake in the discussions underway right now in Brussels to maximise Europe's, and Scotland's energy potential."

Download Newsletter
(Word doc 11MB)