"Scotland voted to remain - we're the constructive internationalists"
The SNP Group in the European Parliament has today backed the approval of the new European Commission under Dr Ursula von der Leyen. This is despite the fact the UK has not nominated a Commissioner in breach of its legal obligation to do so.
The College of Commissioners was approved by 461 votes to 157 with 89 abstensions.
Group Leader Alyn Smith commented:
"The SNP is the constructive internationalists, we want Scotland to remain within our European family of nations and we want to play a constructive part. Where we might take issue with the process that got us here we think it important to approve the Commissioners so they can get on with their work.
"The EU, Scotland, and indeed the UK face a number of international challenges that can only be tackled by common action. Be it the climate emergency, the fight against organised crime, cybersecurity, migration or the economic situation we have a greater chance working across a bloc of 500million than we do alone.
"It is the UK that has proven itself in recent months to be the odd one out. Not appointing a Commissioner in breach of its legal obligations, and the way in which the brexit debate has been framed prove that the UK, and the Tories particularly, are the wreckers. Well, not in Scotland's name."
Speaking earlier in the debate on the appointment, Alyn said:
"Madam President, it’s a pleasure to be here, and Dr von der Leyen, the Scottish National Party will support your Commission this morning. We believe the domestic context with Brexit has coloured our thinking. Colleagues, I have to say frankly to you that the world looks different when you face the prospect of your country being removed against your democratic will from this family of nations. You look at the big picture, not the minutiae. But Dr von der Leyen, we do need a new dynamism in Europe. For too long it’s been too easy to present the European Commission as stale, out of touch, uncaring. I truly do hope that you and your new College do bring a new energy to the European Union.
"Madam President, in my last speech in this House – I’m a candidate for the Westminster election within the UK for Stirling constituency; Scotland’s problems are not coming from this place, they’re coming from Westminster – and if I win, I must leave this place. Remember this: you are a blessed generation. Cherish Europe. It is an amazing achievement. With all its faults, never forget what an amazing project you are part of. It’s not perfect, but never take it for granted. Learn from our experience: reversal is also possible. And if Scotland is taken out of our European Union against our will, we’ll be back, and we count on you.”