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"UK Government Has Bypassed Scotland On EU Agencies"
SNP President Ian Hudghton MEP today (Wednesday) welcomed the start of a debate on the role of EU agencies, highlighting the fact that to date no EU agencies have been located in Scotland. The European Commission launched the debate as part of an evaluation of the ongoing work of the EU's 29 agencies. The EU's agencies carry out a wide range of functions and are headquartered in various European countries.
However, to date, whilst agencies have been located in countries including Denmark, Lithuania, Catalonia and the Basque Country, none has come to Scotland. Mr Hudghton commented:
"The Commission's call for a new approach to be taken in looking at the role of the EU's agencies comes at a time when these bodies are of growing importance to Scotland. Organisations such as the Maritime Safety Agency clearly are of peculiar significance to Scotland's coastal communities. Just last month the Commission announced that they wish to enhance the role of the Fisheries Control Agency. Yet none of these agencies has been based in Scotland.
"Part of the review of the EU's agencies must look at how these bodies - and the high prestige jobs which go with them - are allocated. Whilst Spain has managed to secure key EU jobs in Catalonia, the Basque Country and Galicia, the UK has concentrated on London and the south east of England.
"It is clear that UK governments have completely bypassed Scotland in the allocation of agency head offices. Scotland must therefore appeal to the EU directly in these matters and it must be hoped that the Commission will acknowledge that key EU jobs should be distributed fairly across Europe - and that this has not been the case in the UK."
The Commission today issued a communication calling for a new approach to the governance of the EU's agencies. Details are available at http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/08/419&type=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en
The EU's agencies cover a wide range of issues including medicine control, food safety, aviation safety and environmental matters.