Ian Hudghton (Greens/EFA), - The highly successful six month EU Presidency by Ireland has been an excellent example for all to follow in future. The Irish Presidency has, against considerable odds, succeeded in brokering a deal on reform of the Common Fisheries Policy, and worked extremely hard to deliver similar results on EU Agriculture policy. The Presidency has even succeeded in winning agreement on the even more complex and controversial matter of the EU Budget for future years. The fact that this immensely difficult and politically contentious series of talks has been led so outstandingly well by Ireland demonstrates very clearly that there is absolutely no reason why an independent
Scotland could not also succeed and prosper as a normal independent member state of the EU. It is clearly not the size of a member state which determines its political and diplomatic effectiveness. This week heralded the official start of Croatia's membership of the European Union. Croatia, like Ireland, is smaller than Scotland, and commences its EU membership with a
Commissioner nominated by its Government, a top table seat in the Council of Ministers, and twice as many MEPs as Scotland currently has. With independence, Scotland too will join the mainstream in Europe.

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