Nominee for EU Commission President fails to please SNP/Plaid Euro-MPs
Euro-MPs from the Scottish National Party and Plaid Cymru remain
unconvinced that EU Commission President Designate Josť Manuel Durrao
Barroso is the right person for the job.
Sr. Barroso put the case for his candidacy to MEPs from the SNP and Plaid
Cymru's parliamentary group (Greens/EFA). Josť Manuel Durrao Barroso, who
has indicated that he will stand down as Prime Minister of Portugal to
take the EU's top job, is spending much of this week trying to win the
support of MEPs ahead of a key confirmation vote next week.
Barroso faced questions from SNP Euro-MPs Ian Hudghton and Alyn Smith and
from Plaid Cymru Deputy Leader Jill Evans.
Speaking after the hearing in Brussels, the SNP/Plaid MEPs said that
whilst Sr Barroso had shown some degree of understanding the problems that
face Scotland and Wales, he failed to give the necessary commitments to
win their backing - particularly on the rights of the Scottish Parliament
and Welsh Assembly at the EU level and reform of the Common Fisheries
Ian Hudghton MEP
"In response to a direct question from me, Sr Barroso at least
acknowledged the need to understand the very real detrimental effect of EU
fishing policies on the everyday lives of fishing communities like those
However, his basic position was to defend recent reform of the CFP without
acknowledging the disastrous provisions that remain. He will need to go
much further in terms of reforming or ultimately scrapping this failed
policy before we can even consider supporting his candidacy."
Jill Evans MEP (Plaid Cymru) pressed Barroso on the need for improved
representation of regional and national parliaments and assemblies such as
those of Wales and Scotland at the European level.
Jill Evans MEP
"Sr Barroso claimed credit for supporting greater devolution for overseas
Portuguese territories such as the Azores and Madeira. Whilst this is all
very well, he failed to give any assurance or commitment that would
challenge the role of member state governments at the European level.
I find this extremely disappointing given the growth of devolution and
national identity across Europe, and particularly in Wales and Scotland.
As distinct national entities with our own particular problems and issues
we need specific rights of representation at the EU level. It is
astonishing that Barroso thinks this can be delivered adequately by the UK
government which has consistently proved itself unable to do so."
newly elected SNP Euro-MP added:
"Mr Barroso seems perfectly competent, though he fudged my question on
increasing the rights of the Scottish Parliament, and paid lip service to
the principle of subsidiarity and making decisions that affect peoples
lives at the most local level appropriate.
"This is just not good enough for Scotland. With two thirds of Scots
wanting more power for the Scottish Parliament, it is clear that the most
relevant institution for Europe to interact with is Holyrood, and he
failed to give any assurance that he had any enthusiasm for bringing
Holyrood into the EU's decision making. So I'm afraid Mr Barroso, "nul
points" from the Scottish judges."