SNP MEP Ian Hudghton has today made an
impassioned plea to the European Commission to heap pressure on the French
Government to settle the latest spate of industrial disputes which have
resulted in blockages at French ferry ports.
The MEP, who has been contacted by Scots
shellfish exporters grounded at English ports, says the Commission canít
sit back and ignore this action which makes a mockery of the EU underlying
principle of the free movement of goods and people.
Speaking from his European Parliament
office in the French city of Strasbourg today, the MEP said:
"We have the ridiculous situation of
lorries leaving Scottish harbours with expensive cargoes of finest
shellfish and other perishable goods. Many of them are not even destined
for the French market but are heading for Spain or Portugal. Exporters and
their customers are entirely innocent victims in this ongoing dispute
between Jacques Chirac and the French workforce. They simply must not be
allowed to see their produce go to waste before their very eyes and I am
not prepared to stand by and let this happen.
"While I can understand the concerns of
French workers in their dispute about pensions, we simply cannot have a
situation where, in what is supposed to be a common market, Scots
producers are prevented from carrying out their business.
"The Commission, as the guardian of EU
rules on free movement must step in now to impose penalties on the French
government so that exporters and their customers can be recompensed for
any losses owing to industrial action. I have, this morning, contacted the
President of the Commission, Romano Prodi, expressing my concerns and
asking him to state what action the Commission is taking to get the ports