Scotlandís Voice in Brussels
your voice in Brussels. Just as you elect Councillors to deal with local
issues and Parliamentarians to deal with Scottish and Westminster issues,
so Members of the European Parliament are directly elected to deal with
Scotland has been designated one electoral area, electing seven MEPs at
the June 2004 elections. Elections are by proportional representation with
each Party putting up a team of candidates. Currently the SNP have two
Members representing Scotland, Ian Hudghton and Alyn Smith.
Speaking up for Scotland in Brussels and Strasbourg, are SNP colleagues
Ian Hudghton and Alyn Smith.
main task is to vote on European legislation. The European Parliamentís 20
specialist committees scrutinise, line by line, directives and regulations
proposed by the European Commission.
areas of policy it is mainly European, rather than national, laws which
regulate us all. This is the case for much environmental legislation,
competition policy, consumer protection, employment and social rights,
fisheries and agricultural controls.
MEPs can help to promote Scotland
internationally. Ian Hudghton MEP and Fisheries
adviser Lachie Muir attend the annual Seafood Europe exhibition in
legislation is frequently adopted by co-decision, i.e. jointly by the
European Parliament and the Council (the latter being composed of
Ministers from each of the current 25 Member State governments). Both
Parliament and Council hold two readings of a draft text and if by then
they have not agreed on a conclusion, a conciliation committee composed of
representatives from each side negotiates a compromise, which must then be
approved by both Parliament and the Council of Ministers.
detailed scrutiny is intended to ensure that European legislation is
acceptable to the Member State governments and to MEPs who directly
represent you, the public.
and Agriculture policy are not included in the co-decision procedure
between the European Parliament and the Council. This means that all final
decisions in these areas are made by the Member State governments in the
Council of Ministers, and therefore, although we have a devolved
government in Scotland with authority over fishing and agriculture policy,
the right to represent these interests in Europe is reserved to
proposals for legislation are drafted and published by the European
Commission, which is also responsible for implementing EU policies once
they have been adopted. The Commission is headed by 25 Commissioners,
nominated by Member State governments and approved by the European
Parliament. Holding office for five years, the Commission can only be
dismissed following a vote of no confidence by the European Parliament.
Part of an
MEPís job is to keep tabs on the European Commission and on the civil
servants working under its authority ó the famous Brussels bureaucrats.
Commissioners and their civil servants are regularly held accountable
through appearances before European Parliamentary committees and plenary
sessions, where they are cross-examined and expected to explain what they
are up to.
Keeping in touch with constituents
around Scotland is important. Ian Hudghton MEP
visits Peterhead Harbour with local SNP Councillors and MSP
European Parliament is also responsible for adopting the EUís annual
budget. The Parliament and the Council of Ministers must agree the broad
guidelines of the budget jointly, but the exact sum allocated to
individual items is, except in the field of agriculture, usually up to the