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Ian Hudghton
Scottish National Party
Member of the European Parliament

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Press Releases
3 June
Scots "Innocent Victims" of French action

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 opened."

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