Ian Hudghton, SNP MEP and Fisheries Spokesperson in the
European Parliament says the UK Government and Scottish Executive are
simply not treating the crisis facing Scotland’s fishing communities with
the priority it deserves. The MEP, who has been aiding the Cod Crusaders
to put their own pleas to the Commission and Council of the EU, has today
received a letter which, he says, prove that the UK and Scottish
Governments are simply not bothered.
Speaking from Brussels, Mr Hudghton said:
"Along with the Cod Crusaders, I wrote to the
Commission and Council on 15 May asking what financial assistance could be
applied for in the wake of the drastic cuts to the Scottish fishery. Back
came the reply from Alberto Navarro, who is the Secretary-General of the
Council of the EU which shows in black and white that what Messrs Morley
and Finnie have been doing is , to put it bluntly, zero.
"The one chink of light in the wake of December’s
savage cuts was when Commissioner Fischler made some noises about
providing a financial lifeline for those hit by measures agreed in
Brussels. Mr Navarro informs me that the Commission once again raised the
matter with Fisheries Ministers at their meeting on 26/27 May and talked
about the possibilities of financial assistance for our fishing
I would have thought, given the economic crisis facing
many of our coastal communities and the outpourings of Ross Finnie after
the cuts were announced that he would have been moving heaven and earth to
get as much for our fishermen and their families as was humanly possible.
Apparently not. The final sentence of Mr Navarro’s letter lets us know the
sum efforts of our Fisheries Ministers since the May meeting – absolutely
"That no request has been made in the two full weeks
since these crucial talks is an absolute disgrace. I have contacted
colleagues in both Westminster and Edinburgh in order that questions can
be put to both Ministers as a matter of urgency."