Hudghton (Greens/EFA) - Mr President, I fully accept that it is necessary, in a European Union of 27 Member States, to update the working rules and arrangements which operated in a Union of 15 and less. I also accept that much of the content of the Lisbon Treaty, such as the increase in powers of this Parliament and the opening-up of Council decision-making, is positive and sensible. However, looking at the detail from my viewpoint as a representative of Scotland, I have serious concerns about some of the imperfections, as Commissioner Wallström acknowledged. Firstly, much is made of the new right of national parliaments to intervene, but this of course does not apply to the devolved, national Parliament of Scotland or indeed to other stateless nations. Secondly, the treaty process failed to address the issue of a single seat for the European Parliament, leaving us with the indefensible situation of trekking between Brussels and Strasbourg. Thirdly, I cannot support the inclusion of the common fisheries policy (CFP) as one of only four exclusive competences of the Union listed in the Treaty. This, I fear, could seriously impede progress towards radical reform and change in fisheries management, by preserving the over-centralised failure which the CFP has become. This is particularly incongruous at a time when the Council, last December, took a tentative step towards decentralisation, when it recognised the voluntary measures being implemented by Scotland and gave it an element of local control this year. My party favoured a referendum on the Constitution.
This Treaty may be different in legal status, but in substance it is the same. Therefore, the SNP is simply being consistent by supporting a referendum on this Treaty. We are not afraid of a public debate on Europe. On the contrary, forging a new relationship between Scotland and the EU is central to our vision. I want to see Scotland joining the family of European nations and playing a constructive part in decision-making as a Member State, not as an observer from the sidelines.

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