Hudghton: "Our Verdict For The Commission's Report
Card - Section, Fisheries Policy - Failed!"

Speaking in the parliamentary debate on the performance of Romano Prodi's outgoing European Commission, SNP European Leader Ian Hudghton MEP has savaged the Commission's handling of the Common Fisheries Policy.

Responding to Mr Prodi's swan-song speech to Euro- MPs summing up his five year record, Ian Hudghton MEP blamed the disastrous Common Fisheries Policy for the decline in support for the EU in Scotland and hostility to the proposed European Constitution.

Mr Hudghton slammed the decision to surrender control over fisheries policy to Brussels in the proposed European Constitution and warned that the SNP would not support the treaty in any referendum as a result. Speaking in the European Parliament, Ian Hudghton MEP said:

"Five years ago, Mr. Prodi, you spoke at length about the need for the EU to reconnect with its citizens. Five years ago, opinion polls in Scotland showed higher levels of public support for the EU than in other parts of the UK. Now, that differential in support in Scotland has been eroded.

"One of the principal reasons for this downturn, I believe, is the Common Fisheries Policy - one of the EU's major failures.

"Your Commission had the task of reforming the CFP - you had an opportunity to give back some hope to Scotland's fishing communities - instead you gave despair. You could have taken up proposals from this Parliament to establish devolved regional management of fisheries - instead you promoted toothless Advisory Councils.

"Of course it is not just the European Commission that is to blame - successive UK governments have betrayed Scotland's interests over the years. But the final straw for my Party, a pro-EU Party, is the illogical inclusion of the CFP as one of only a handful of entrenched "exclusive competences" in the draft Constitution.

"With that clause remaining we will vote against the Constitution in any referendum, and our verdict for the Commission's Report Card - Section, Fisheries Policy - Verdict: Failed!"

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