SNP MEP Ian Hudghton has expressed reservations about reported European Commission plans for celebrations of the European Union's fiftieth birthday in 2007.

According to reports in Brussels, the European Commission is said to be considering proposals including a new logo, an EU theme tune, carnivals, concerts and a 'European Commissioner's Day', all in the hope of improving the EU's image and popularity. There are concerns the celebrations could prove very costly.

Commenting on the reports, the SNP MEP said:

"My concern is that these plans to promote the EU could backfire quite spectacularly. And speaking as a pro European MEP from Scotland I fear that the Commission might be about to score another own goal.

"If these reports of lavish and costly celebrations are correct, then this whole affair could end up doing far more harm than good. As we've said in the past, the best way for the EU to reconnect with sceptical citizens is by reforming its outdated and over centralised decision making and focussing on real bread and butter issues.

"I hope the European Commission will reconsider their birthday party plans - perhaps something a bit less lavish would be more appropriate for a fiftieth birthday celebration."

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