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Scots Want Own Representation in Europe

SCOTLAND, UK - The Scottish Parliament proposes that there is a dedicated Scottish representative in Europe for fishing and farming issues.

Scottish National Party (SNP) member of Parliament for the North East of Scotland Maureen Watt has said independent Scottish representation in Europe is essential as a new paper from the Scottish Government shows the problems faced by Scotland's rural industries as a result of having to negotiate internationally through the UK Government.

Mrs Watt was responding to the latest National Conversation publication which looks at the benefit additional powers for the Scottish Parliament and Independence would bring to Scotland’s environment and rural communities.

Despite Scotland accounting for 70 per cent of UK fisheries and leading the EU in sustainable fishing reforms Scottish Ministers are not able to negotiate directly in the EU over fisheries quotas.

Maureen Watt, who is also convener of the Scottish Parliament's Rural and Environmental Affairs Committee said:

"With the Common fisheries and Common agriculture policies of such importance to Scotland, it has long been ridiculous that Scotland's voice is restricted by the UK.

"The UK Government's failure to properly represent Scotland's fishing industry has done untold damage to fishing in Scotland.

"The SNP Government and fishing sector are making progress on sustainable fisheries but we are still unable to directly represent Scotland's needs – which far outweigh those of the UK – in European fishing negotiations.

"Independent representation in Europe would put Scotland's needs first in negotiations, not leave them as an afterthought from London.

"For Scotland to achieve our ambitions not just for fishing but for agriculture and our rural economy we need representation in Europe and internationally.

"This paper shows the difference that can be achieved. Now it is for the opposition parties to let Scotland's people have their say."

the Fish Site Editor

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