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ref date:30 Mar 2001 (SI)
SNP put independence and European Union at forefront of policy

Professor Neil MacCormick (SNP EuroMP) highlighted Labours lack of interest in representing Scotlands interests when he pointed out that Scotland was not represented at the EU summit in Stockholm last week: "As usual our nation was subsumed within the UK delegation. Until Scotland takes its proper place as an independent member state of the European Union, Scotland's voice cannot be heard at the heart of power."

He added: "The Scottish government has a contemptible record at council of ministers meetings, attending a paltry 11 out of 120 meetings held by December 7, 2000. Jack McConnell (Scottish Europe minister) should hang his head in shame at such a pitiful record."

Professor MacCormick said that without direct representation in the council Scotland's interests were being pushed aside.

"For example, it is highly unlikely that our fishing industry would have been plunged into crisis if a Scottish minister had been standing and fighting for Scotland's fishing interests.

"Scotland's only voice on Europe's top table currently comes from Westminster ministers who rarely have Scotland's interests at heart.

"Independence in Europe will bring direct representation for Scotland and the opportunity to stand up for Scotland's interests. The extent of the Scottish government's aspirations for Scotland is involvement in a second European Parliament chamber for subnationals."