"Ball Firmly In The UK's Court"

SNP MEP Ian Hudghton today (Wednesday) held talks with the new EU Fisheries Commissioner Mr Joe Borg ahead of next week's vital Fisheries Council in Brussels.

At the private meeting in Strasbourg, Mr Hudghton highlighted recent sacrifices made by Scotland's fishermen and pressed the need now for the Scots fleet to see some return for their efforts. Mr Borg indicated a willingness to listen to all interested parties but stressed that the outcome of the December Council was very much dependent on the ministerial negotiations.

Speaking afterwards in Strasbourg, Mr Hudghton said:

"After the breathtaking arrogance of previous Fisheries Commissioner Franz Fischler, Mr Borg is something of a breath of fresh air. The new Commissioner seems much more willing to listen to the concerns of Scotland's fishing communities.

"Nevertheless, the Commissioner is still constrained by the failed framework of the CFP and next week the annual horse trading of the December Council will continue as usual. Mr Borg indicated that he would be willing to take account of any new evidence that could benefit Scotland's fishermen - but stressed that any such evidence must come through official governmental channels.

"It is clear that the ball is firmly in the UK's court. Ross Finnie and Ben Bradshaw must go to Brussels next week with fully prepared arguments. Anything less would be a betrayal of our coastal communities.

"Mr Borg will hopefully be a listening Commissioner. It's now up to the ministers to make sure that Scotland's voice is heard."

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