meets Irish Presidency in Strasbourg”
First Minister Mr John Swinney MSP, and a delegation of senior SNP
parliamentarians, today (Tuesday) met the Irish Presidency of the EU, to
make the case for protecting the fishing industry as part of discussions
on finalising the pending European Constitution.
Scottish National Party (SNP) leader met with Irish Minister of State for
Europe Mr Dick Roche TD at the European Parliament along with SNP European
colleagues, Ian Hudghton MEP and Professor Neil MacCormick MEP, and SNP
Foreign Affairs spokesman Angus Robertson MP. Mr Roche is currently
leading the process seeking agreement on the draft European Union
Constitution on behalf of the Irish Government, which currently holds the
European Union Presidency.
after meeting Mr Roche, John Swinney said:
has taken the case for protecting the Scottish fishing industry as a key
national interest direct to the Presidency of the EU. We have repeated our
concerns about the treatment of the fishing industry, and the need to
secure the removal of exclusive competence over fisheries from the draft
“Ireland’s government is working hard to finalise the draft European
constitution in the weeks ahead. Minister Roche, who is leading the
discussions for the Irish Presidency and who met with us today, accepted
the seriousness of the arguments we are putting forward. He recognised
the need to ensure the Constitution could be widely supported and
acknowledged the depth of concern over fisheries that exists in Scotland.
He said that he hoped to factor in as many of the points we raised today
as possible in the final negotiations on the Constitution.
now is for the UK government to respond to the current debate on fisheries
and to act in Scotland’s interests during ongoing negotiations.
made clear the SNP will only support the European Constitution in a
Referendum if the proposed exclusive competence on fisheries is removed.
Significant Labour figures have said they understand a solution needs to
be found on the fishing issue to maximise support for the Constitution in
a Referendum. It is now essential that the UK Government puts this issue
to the top of its list of priorities and acts – even at this late stage –
to protect the national interest of Scotland.”
after the Strasbourg meeting SNP European Group leader Ian Hudghton MEP
was an excellent meeting and it is clear that the Irish government is keen
to do everything to secure a referendum-proof European Constitution.
Ireland is demonstrating how effective a small country can be in key EU
developments by its leadership on reforming the Union. It is a real step
forward to have a government that understands Scotland’s problems and is
doing everything in its powers to address those issues, while respecting
the proper impartiality of the EU Presidency.