"Let's see how european non-EU states manage"
SNP MEP Mr Alyn Smith has today been confirmed as a full member of the European Parliament's 17-man delegation for relations with Switzerland, Iceland and Norway and the European Economic Area. The delegation covers relations with European states which are not members of the European Union and is of particular relevance to Scotland given that Iceland and Norway are so close to us, yet not EU members.
The MEP said:
"I wanted to gain a seat on this delegation in order to build up Scotland's contacts with Iceland, Norway and Switzerland. There is of course some irony in that they are European states but have chosen not to become members of the EU, while Scotland is a second class "region" of the EU but not yet a member state!
"I think that Scotland's future is to be an independent member of the EU, negotiating at the top table for our interests the same as any other normal country. The problem with our EU status right now is that we have many downsides of membership - just ask any fisherman - because we cannot speak for ourselves and London lets us down. However, it would be perfectly possible for an independent Scotland to choose not to remain in the EU, and I'm not afraid of that argument so let's hear how other European states manage. I've heard them say already that they have to implement 'law by fax' in that they have to implement much of the EU rules if they want to trade with us, but they have little say in the drafting of those rules. I want to see Scotland at the top table alongside all the other EU member states, but I'm curious about how other states cope so winning membership of this delegation will be really useful.
"Another particularly relevant area dealt with by this delegation is fisheries, and I'll be learning what I can from them in fisheries management and passing it back to our own government in Edinburgh to strengthen our hand in the barking mad EU fisheries management regime."