Hudghton (Greens/EFA) - Mr President, the UK Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, wants us to believe that he is now suddenly proud of European Union unity and that EU's countries are stronger together and safer together. He says now that banking regulation must be tightened up, tax havens tackled and the IMF reformed.
Mr Brown has not a shred of credibility now. His own record of managing the UK economy is one of negligence and catastrophe. He is an architect of the current economic crisis, not a saviour of the world. He favoured the light-touch regulation that is a direct cause of the problems in banking. The impact of the downturn is, of course, being felt around the world. The devolved Government of Scotland is doing all that its limited powers make possible to stave off its worst effects, easing the tax burden on business through rates relief, speeding up investment in infrastructure projects, and prioritising training and skills development programmes to help people find work. Scotland is rich in energy resources with tremendous potential to develop renewable sources such as offshore wind, wave and tidal power. EU support for development of clean energy generation and distribution will help not just the Scottish economy, but will also benefit fellow Europeans, contributing to energy security and climate change mitigation. I hope very much that it will not be long before Scotland can play an even more active and constructive role in the world as a normal, independent Member State of the European Union.