PRIMARY SCHOOL PUPILS GRILL MEP AT
31 March 2003
substantial number of Scotland's primary schools include in their
curriculum a project on the European Union, usually at primary 6 or 7, and
often invite an MEP to take part in a discussion session. The latest
school visited by Ian Hudghton MEP was Crombie Primary at Westhill,
Aberdeenshire, where more than 60 Primary 6 pupils took part in an
intensive question and answer session on topics ranging from language
learning, EU enlargement, the euro currency and the war in Iraq. The
session allowed the pupils to gain an insight into the job of an MEP.
As part of the resources made available
to schools, Ian Hudghton and group colleague Neil MacCormick MEP have
produced an informative video "Why a European
Parliament?", which outlines briefly the purpose and powers of the
Parliament as well as its relationship in the complex EU decision making
SCOTTISH GAMEKEEPERS IN EU STUDY
28 March 2003
of the Scottish Gamekeepers Association paid their first official visit to
the EU institutions in Brussels, to familiarise themselves at first hand
with the workings of the European Commission, the Parliament and the
Council of Ministers, and to make their own views known to to key
A range of European Directives have in recent years had a major effect on
Scotland's countryside. Directives on habitats, water framework and
protection of birds and other wildlife species have had a very direct
effect on those who live and work in rural industries.
The delegation met with key officials of various departments of the
European Commission, visited Scotland House, and also lobbied Scots MEPs
including Ian Hudghton. The group, pictured left to right with the SNP MEP,
are Alex Hogg, Davy Thomson and Bert Burnett.
€600 MILLION FOR FIGHT AGAINST
HIV, TB AND MALARIA
24 March 2003
Ian Hudghton MEP and EFA Group colleague
Jill Evans MEP, of Plaid Cymru, joined forces at a Press Briefing in
London to highlight a proposal for a new research project aimed at
speeding up the development of new clinical methods in the fight against
HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis in developing countries. The MEPs are
drafting Opinions for the European Parliament's Budgets and Women's Rights
As part of the EU's sixth framework
programme, the development programme brings together all 15 Member States
and Norway and sets up a research and development programme entitled "The
European and Developing countries Clinical Trials programme" (EDCTP).
The five-year budget for the programme
is some €600 million, with €200 million coming from the EU, €200 million
from national research programmes and the final €200 million from the
private sector. However, according to the proposed compromise amendments,
€600 million should be seen as a target figure and the EU should
contribute up to €200 million. The programme is to be administered by a
partnership board, which should reflect a balanced participation of expert
from Member States, and from the developing countries involved in the
As to the actions envisaged under the
programme, the MEPs stressed that RTD activities linked directly to the
development of new products and the improvement of existing products
against HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis should be suited to the
specific requirements of developing countries, i.e. that they are
effective, easy to use and as affordable as possible. A further compromise
amendment states that "support should also give due consideration to
sexual and reproductive health."
The EU has already agreed to contribute
€60 million to the newly created Global Health Fund, however, the Global
Health Fund does not fund research and development activities, and the
committee therefore stresses that, additional funds for research and
development are required.
PETERHEAD CELEBRATES 40 YEARS IN
22 March 2003
Peterhead's SNP Branch celebrated the
40th anniversary of its founding in style at the weekend with a formal
dinner at the town's Palace Hotel.
Around 80 people attended the dinner
which included guest speakers Alex Salmond MP, Stewart Stevenson MSP, Ian
Hudghton MEP, former East Aberdeenshire MP Douglas Henderson and founder
member Bob Ritchie.
Bob Ritchie regaled the company with
tales from the early days of the branch and revealed details of the
rigorous selection process which potential SNP candidates in East
Aberdeenshire had to face in 1964. "Bruce Cockie lost the toss, " said
Bob, "So I became election agent and Bruce was forced to be the
Bob continued: "Elections then just as
now required money and I remember having to make an appointment to see the
manager at the Clydesdale Bank to obtain a loan of £200 to finance our
campaign. I got the money, but the Branch had to come up with SIX
Former MP Douglas Henderson received a
very warm welcome back to Peterhead, and to the ballroom of the Palace
Hotel in particular, where he recalled speaking to a packed audience of
over 500 on the eve of the February 1974 election. Stating that it would
be remiss of him to speak in Peterhead and not comment on the current
difficulties facing the fishing industry, Douglas said that the industry
would only truly prosper once it had independent Scottish representation
speaking up for it.
Ian Hudghton MEP paid tribute to the
branch's role in the successful Euro Election of 1994 which saw the late
Dr Allan Macartney elected in the North-east, and at the 1998 by-election
where the SNP held the seat with a massive majority.
Alex Salmond and Stewart Stevenson
brought matters right up to date with a rallying call for the Scottish
Elections on May 1st which rounded off what everyone agreed had been one
of the most memorable and enjoyable functions ever organised by Peterhead
HUDGHTON VISITS HUNTLY
20 March 2003
SNP MEP Ian Hudghton, accompanied by Dr
Alasdair Allan and local Councillor Joanna Strathdee, toured Gordon
Constituency to listen to the views and concerns of local business people.
The first visit of the day was to Dean's Shortbread, one of Huntly's
best-known exports, a business which has expanded rapidly in the thirty
years since Helen Dean started making shortbread to raise money for the
local pipe band. Now the business has major markets in North America and
Japan as well as throughout Scotland.
At "Whisky Galore" (see photo), a new enterprise which has set up both a
local shop and an exports business promoting some rare examples of
Scotland's finest whiskies, the politicians heard at first hand of the
challenges and opportunities involved in developing export markets.
The third venue in Huntly was R.B. Farquhar's Ltd, the towns biggest
employers, who manufacture portable and modular buildings and have plans
to expand their business into the Czech Republic, one of the countries
presently applying to join the European Union.
EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT BACKS SNP DEMAND FOR ADDITIONAL
12th March 2003
"FINNIE MUST NOW DEMAND LONDON LABOUR
SNP Euro-MP Ian Hudghton today
welcomed a vote in the European Parliament which called for the EU to
allocate 150 million Euros to compensate fishing communities affected by
December’s catastrophic fishing decision. The Parliament overwhelmingly
backed the call for additional EU cash – which was originally
tabled in the Fisheries Committee by Mr Hudghton – despite a last minute
attempt by the Lib Dem`s Group to scupper the plan. In order to access the
cash it is now necessary for the UK to make a request to the EU Council,
and Mr Hudghton has written a letter to Westminster Fisheries Minister
demanding that he make such a request.
Mr Hudghton said:
"This is a tremendous result which flies
in the face of the Scottish and UK governments’ attitude. Just a few weeks
ago, Elliot Morley said he wouldn’t go ‘cap in hand’ to Europe to get much
needed compensation to help our fishing industry through the current
crisis. Today, MEPs from all over Europe agreed that it is only fair that
the EU should stump up the cash.
"It is particularly important that the
Parliament made it clear that the extra money should come from EU coffers.
I received almost unanimous backing for this call in the Parliament’s
Fisheries Committee – and it is absolutely shameful that the Liberals
tried to block this. A huge majority of UK Lib Dems in the Parliament
today voted to block this money – just the latest sell out which will not
be forgotten around our coastal towns and villages.
"I have now written to Elliot Morley
demanding that he takes steps to access this money. He doesn’t need to go
‘cap in hand’ to anyone – the EU is offering the money. London Labour
should do something innovative for a change – and do the right thing in
the interests of Scotland’s fishing communities".
- The call for the EU to specifically allocate the
additional cash was made in a successful amendment from Ian Hudghton
in the EP Fisheries Committee.
- The Liberal group amendment to scupper this call was
defeated today by 377 votes to 65. Two-thirds of the UK Lib Dem
delegation who voted were in favour of the wrecking amendment.
- In order to access the EU’s Flexibility Instrument, a
call must be made from both the Parliament and the Council. Following
today’s vote, it is now therefore necessary for a Member State to make
the call in Council.
CONFERENCE BACKS CALL FOR 'SCRAP
8th March 2003
At its Campaign Conference
at Loch Lomond on Saturday (8 March), the Scottish National Party backed a
call to campaign for the scrapping of the European Common Fisheries
Policy. The resolution was seconded by Euro MP Ian Hudghton, who said;
"Yet another Tory policy
has been adopted by London Labour, and accepted by their Lib Dem allies in
Scotland. It was a Tory government that callously sold out Scotland's
interests in joining the original CFP. Last December a Labour/Lib Dem
alliance of Ministers further betrayed Scotland's coastal communities.
Messrs Morley and Finnie were outwitted, outmanoeuvred and out of their
depth in the negotiations and, incredibly, Morley actually voted FOR the
package deal in the Council of Ministers.
Part of that package was a reform of the Common Fisheries Policy - and we
all know that reform was much needed. But the new CFP, in my view, will
harm Scotland's interests even more than the original has.
Open access to waters and resources in the North Sea was confirmed - and
voted FOR by Elliot Morley.
Key conservation measures like the Shetland Box, and the vital principle
of relative stability, are threatened with review - and Morley voted FOR
The 12 mile inshore limit was renewed for only 10 years - and Mr Morley
voted FOR that.
To cap it all, not only did Morley vote FOR a flawed and unjust white fish
quota deal - he did so in the knowledge that his UK government would not
fund compensation for Scots communities, nor apply for EU funding either.
These people, and their Unionist Parties, are fond of telling us that
Scotland fares better in Europe as part of the big and powerful UK. What a
Delegates, this resolution calls for a campaign to scrap the CFP, and I
hope you will support it.
This issue also underlines the desperate need to scrap the current method
of representation of Scotland in Europe.
It is a nonsense that landlocked Austria and Luxembourg can vote in the
Council of Ministers while Scotland cannot.
Only Scottish Independence can bring the full and normal rights of
representation we need and deserve.
Let us campaign with all of our energy - Let's make it happen!
SNP Fly the Flag for Broughty Ferry Beach
28th Feb 2003
Mr Hudghton, Ms Robison and Cllr Guild
are photographed at Broughty Ferry Beach.
The SNP are joining forces in the European and Scottish
Parliaments and in Dundee City Council to call for the Scottish Executive
to recognise Broughty Ferry Beach as a designated bathing beach. Ian
Hudghton MEP, Shona Robison MSP and Broughty Ferry Councillor Ken Guild
will plant a symbolic European flag on the beach on Friday morning while
urging the Scottish Executive to have the beach designated under the
European Directive. The SNP says the Scottish Executive has dragged its
heels over designating the beach and, as a consequence, the area is
missing out on visitors and tourists.
Explaining the background to the Directive, MEP Ian
"Europeans are very concerned about water quality and
give top priority to good bathing water when judging their immediate
living environment. Moreover, for the Tourist Industry, clean and safe
water is an important argument to attract visitors to their area.
"The countries of the EU have seen the potential of
designating sea and fresh water bathing beaches, with many thousands of
sites designated since the 1976 Directive came into force. And it’s not
just the sun-kissed shores of Greece, Spain and Italy. Denmark has over
1,000. Even land-locked Austria has 267 fresh water designations! Why are
there are only 60 in the whole of Scotland? The Scottish Executive’s
reluctance speaks volumes.
"Under the Directive, beaches are awarded either a
yellow or a blue flag with blue in the top flight and yellow indicating
some improvement needed. But the importance of the flags is the public
investment they bring. Initial yellow flag status for this beach, which is
what we’re pushing for, would almost certainly result in the awarding of a
blue flag within the next couple of years.
"With over 2 million hits on the Commission’s Bathing
Waters Website in 2001, beach designation is as much about tourism as it
is about the environment – both of which I believe are important to local
people. I am pleased to be able to lend my support to this campaign."
Shona Robison MSP, who has tabled a motion in the
Scottish Parliament for the beach to be designated, commented,
"It’s not too late for Broughty Ferry. As Ian has said,
clean water is important in attracting potential tourists from mainland
Europe and Yellow Flag designation would be the first crucial step. We
simply can’t afford to ignore the potential economic gains to the Dundee
"The Scottish Executive have dragged their heels over
this area for far too long. With only two Scottish beaches waiting for
yellow flag designation - Broughty Ferry and Largs, I remain hopeful that
our pressure will pay dividends in the very near future."
Broughty Ferry Councillor, Ken Guild echoed Ms Robison’s
"Local people are keen to get involved in Broughty Ferry
beach issues and in actively promoting a beach management plan. Regular
clean ups, which I’ve taken part in, have been a great success and I’m
delighted that the Royal Tay Yacht Club organised a similar clean up at
their part of the beach.
"Dundee City Council are keen to back our action and
Shona and Ian’s efforts at Parliamentary level will help to spur things
on. SEPA said Broughty’s water quality passed with flying colours this
year but in order to get a Blue Flag work needs to be done. Winning Yellow
Flag designation would be a great stride forward."