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Ian Hudghton
Scottish National Party
Member of the European Parliament

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Press Releases
28 September
Hudghton grills Kroes on Energy Policy

Controversial Dutch nominee's position on energy policy 'wholly inadequate, evasive and needing substantial further clarification' - Hudghton

SNP European Leader Ian Hudghton MEP has described European Commission nominee Nelly Kroes' response to his questioning of her commitment to renewable energy as 'wholly inadequate, evasive and needing substantial further clarification'. Mr Hudghton sits on the committee of Euro-MPs that today spent four hours grilling the Dutch nominee for the post of Europe's powerful trade commissioner.

Questioning Mrs Kroes, Ian Hudghton MEP asked if the Dutch Commissioner designate approved of her predecessor's decision to allow six billion Euros (over 4bn pounds) in state aid to nuclear operator British Energy.  The Scottish Euro-MP then pressed Mrs Kroes' on her commitment to promoting renewable energy, asking for a commitment to boosting renewable energies in place of nuclear.

Speaking from Brussels, Ian Hudghton MEP said:

"I'm disappointed though not particularly surprised with Mrs Kroes' answers. Her position on renewable energy in particular was wholly inadequate, evasive and needing substantial further clarification before we can consider giving her our support. She completely dodged my question on the massive subsidy being doled out to prop up British Energy and clearly wanted to avoid saying anything to upset big business interests in the field of nuclear energy.

I pressed for a commitment to make renewable energy a far higher priority for the European Commission. Whilst I'm pleased that Mrs Kroes accepted that there is a case to take environmental concerns into account in competition policy, she again avoided the specifics. This comes at a time when New Labour is talking about a pricing regime for electricity that would penalise countries like Scotland. If Europe is really interested in clean, affordable energy then what we need are changes in competition rules to make this feasible.

I will now be writing to Mrs Kroes seeking clarification on her answers and clear assurances that she will support renewable energy before we can consider supporting her."

Euro-MPs will give an opinion later next month on the suitability of European Commissioners for their designated jobs and will vote on whether or not to accept the proposed new EU Commission on 27 October.

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