NATIONS POWERING AHEAD IN EUROPE"
Scottish National Party's first-placed list candidate in the European
Parliament election Mr Ian Hudghton MEP today [Friday] published an
"Economy Manifesto", at a breakfast hustings meeting in Edinburgh
organised by the Scottish Council Development & Industry.
Hudghton said that the small European nations were the most economically
successful - and argued that Scotland needs the full powers of
Independence in order to emulate their success. Mr Hudghton said:
political and economic terms, the small nations are leading the European
Union at the present time.
Scotland looks on from the sidelines and languishes economically as part
of the UK, countries the same size or smaller than Scotland are powering
of wealth per head, eight of the top 10 richest nations in the European
Union are small. Ireland, for example, is now the second most prosperous
EU country - and currently holds the European Presidency.
a direct connection between the clout in Europe that statehood gives
Ireland, and that country's phenomenal economic success.
"Ireland's status as an independent member state of the EU has transformed
and enriched the country - and the 10 enlargement nations know that only
Independence in Europe will serve their interests too.
has caught up and overtaken Scotland. Eight of the ten new EU nations
have higher economic growth rates than Scotland - how long before they
overtake us as well?
the powers to compete on an equal basis, Scotland risks being left
behind. We too must have the powers we need to compete in this new,
ultra-competitive market. Powers to deliver lower business tax, to offer
research incentives, and to market our country abroad are vital.
last 25 years, the small nations of Europe have outstripped Scotland in
terms of economic growth. The SNP want to give Scotland the competitive
edge we need to succeed, so that we can grow our economy and rise to the
challenges of the new Europe."
Kevin Pringle, tel: 07770 828231 (m)
"Economy Manifesto" follows /
UP FOR SCOTLAND'S ECONOMY
has been good for small independent European nations, guaranteeing them
access to a wider marketplace. Countries like Finland, Austria and Ireland
have embraced the economic opportunities offered to them with relish. On
all key economic indicators, small EU countries such as these outperform
the larger member states.
for example, with the same population as Scotland, has transformed its
economy over the past few decades and now ranks as one of the most
successful and competitive countries in the world.
years ago, Ireland's national income was just two-thirds of the EU
average. Today Ireland is one of the wealthiest nations, not just in
Europe but also in the world.
has the potential to be the most successful of all. We have a superb
location, abundant natural resources, a magnificent environment, talented
people, a belief in the value of education and an international reputation
for integrity and reliability. Scotland even has an added bonus - oil.
unlike the small independent nations of Europe, weak political
institutions hamper Scotland; unlike other EU nations, Scotland has no
control over economic policy and no direct voice in Europe.
why we have been unable to capitalise fully on the economic opportunities
Europe offers us. Because, far from thriving in the EU marketplace like
the other small nations of Europe, Scotland has experienced 30 years of
low economic growth.
not a side issue - low growth equals low living standards. Our citizens
are amongst the poorest and unhealthiest in Europe. Our dreadful record of
investment in health has earned Scotland the reputation of the 'sick man
of Europe'. One in three children in Scotland grow up in poverty, whereas
small EU countries like Denmark and Finland have all but eradicated child
this is inevitable. We could and should do better.
if we are to succeed in raising our economic performance, and the living
standards of the Scottish people, we must have the financial powers that
our competitors take for granted. Only with these powers will we be able
to create the right conditions for Scotland to succeed in the European and
as we allow our economic policy to be decided by London we will never
release our full economic potential.
we will be tied to a policy designed for conditions in the overheated
south east of England. The result is Scottish exports are priced out of
the market. We are overpriced as a tourist location. Our transport links
are poor and we pay the highest fuel prices in Europe. Little wonder then
that Scotland has such a low business survival rate. The current political
framework is a recipe for economic failure.
with European enlargement, Scotland is facing the greatest economic
challenge in our modern history. Ten new countries joined the EU on 1 May
2004, creating a market of 450 million people.
The EU is
the biggest single market in the developed world. It is an intensely
competitive place to do business.
EU nations are desperate to catch-up with the economies of the established
member states. Seven of the ten new EU nations have populations smaller
than or similar to Scotland. These small nations, along with every other
member state, will be fighting hard, using all the normal economic powers
available to independent countries to improve their living standards and
maximise their competitive position.
it can be done because Ireland did it. Ireland has caught up and
overtaken Scotland. Eight of the ten new EU nations have higher economic
growth rates than Scotland - how long before they overtake us as well?
the powers to compete on an equal basis, Scotland risks being left behind.
We too must have the powers we need to compete in this new,
ultra-competitive market. Powers to vary personal and business tax, to
offer research incentives, and to market our country abroad are vital.
last 25 years the small nations of Europe have outstripped Scotland in
terms of economic growth. The SNP wants to give Scotland the competitive
edge we need to succeed, so we can grow our economy and rise to the
challenge of the new Europe.
enlargement it has never been more urgent for Scotland to have the powers
of Independence to compete and prosper.