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Ian Hudghton
Scottish National Party
Member of the European Parliament

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Latest News
March 2003


PRIMARY SCHOOL PUPILS GRILL MEP AT WESTHILL
31 March 2003

Crombie Primary at Westhill, AberdeenshireA 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 framework.


SCOTTISH GAMEKEEPERS IN EU STUDY TRIP
28 March 2003

SCOTTISH GAMEKEEPERS IN EU STUDY TRIPRepresentatives 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 decision-makers.

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 Committees respectively

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 EDCTP.

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 STYLE
22 March 2003

PETERHEAD CELEBRATES 40 YEARS IN STYLE

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 candidate!"

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 guarantors!"

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 Branch.


HUDGHTON VISITS HUNTLY BUSINESSES
20 March 2003

Whisky Galore

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 FISHERIES COMPENSATION
12th March 2003

"FINNIE MUST NOW DEMAND LONDON LABOUR ACTION"

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".

Notes

  • 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 CFP' CAMPAIGN
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 that.
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 joke!
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.
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 Hudghton said,

"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 area.

"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 comments saying,

"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."


 

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