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Ian Hudghton (Greens/EFA) - Mr President, I represent the fishing nation of Scotland. The European Maritime and Fisheries Fund in its current term is worth about GBP 150 million to Scotland’s fishing communities, contributing to port facilities, health and safety on vessels and many projects in the all—important processing sector. But Scotland’s experience in the common fisheries policy (CFP) has not been entirely positive in every aspect. The CFP has been grossly over—centralised and inflexible over most of its existence, to the detriment of many parts of our catching sector. Indeed, the CFP has often been used as a justification for Brexit.
But we should never forget that the CFP has been constructed over the years with the full agreement of UK governments, and if Brexit goes ahead the UK Government has decided to retain fisheries powers at Westminster. The record of UK Governments in betraying Scotland’s coastal communities does not give me much confidence for the future. We’re expected to believe now that, all of a sudden, UK governments will prioritise Scotland’s coastal and island communities. I don’t believe it, and I think independence for Scotland is the answer.