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Ian Hudghton
Scottish National Party
Member of the European Parliament

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Press Releases
14 January
Ireland's EU Presidency welcomed by Welsh and Scots


European Free Alliance
in the European Parliament

Plaid Cymru - the Party of Wales
Scottish National Party

Press Release - Strasbourg, 14.1.04

Ireland's EU Presidency welcomed by Welsh and Scots

Scottish and Welsh nationalist Euro-MPs have warmly welcomed the Irish government's Presidency of the European Union, whose programme was set out today by Irish Prime Minister, Bertie Ahern at a keynote speech in the European parliament. Euro-MPs Jill Evans (Plaid Cymru) and Ian Hudghton (Scottish National Party) praised the Irish premier's speech as a 'breath of fresh air' after the 'arrogance' of Silvio Berlusconi's leadership under the previous Italian EU presidency.

Commenting on the Irish EU Presidency, Jill Evans MEP (Plaid Cymru) said:

"I was very encouraged to hear the remarks of the Irish Prime Minister this morning. The depth and breadth of Ireland's priorities for its leadership of the EU came as a breath of fresh air after the arrogance and bullying that characterised Berlusconi's approach to the job.

 I welcome Ireland's commitment to the Union's external relations, in particular the emphasis on multilateralism in the EU's foreign policy and the support for the role of the UN. This is particularly significant in the context of the EU's role in helping bring about peace in the middle east."

Ian Hudghton MEP (SNP) added:

"The Irish presidency, viewed from a Scottish point of view, demonstrates very clearly why Scotland would be better off independent. Ireland, a smaller country than Scotland will be setting the agenda and leading the EU decision-making process, while Scotland does not even have a vote in the Council of Ministers.

Ireland will lead the process of welcoming ten new member states - many smaller than Scotland - into the EU.  These new members will have full rights of participation including votes on Fisheries Policy, while Scotland is a mere observer.

I wish Ireland success in its presidency and look forward to the day when an independent Scotland takes its rightful place in the world - better off independent!"


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