Scotland’s interests in Europe are made with real clout and influence as part of the UK, the Secretary of State for Scotland Michael Moore has said today on his return from Brussels following meetings with a number of significant figures within the European Union.
Mr Moore met with the Commissioner for Regional Policy, Johannes Hahn, to discuss the economic outlook for Scotland. The Secretary of State placed importance on the need to ensure that the regulations, and interpretation of them, are harmonised as much as possible across all the structural funds, so that they can be implemented as flexibly as possible to achieve the greatest impact across Scotland.
The Secretary of State discussed Scotland’s significant marine energy potential and briefed the Commissioner for Energy, Gunther Oettinger, on the recent UK Green Investment Bank launch, highlighting the opportunities the bank offers for Scottish companies to receive significant capital to fund green energy projects. This could in turn allow for greater cross collaboration with European counterparts.
The bank received state aid approval from the European Commission last month and is now operational as an independent bank.
Mr Moore also stressed to Commissioner Oettinger that EU’s proposals for offshore oil and gas safety should be on the basis of a Directive instead of a binding Regulation and welcomed their agreement to continue negotiations on that basis.
Mr Moore then met with the senior EU official on agriculture Georg Hausler to discuss Scotland’s priorities on agriculture. This followed on from a meeting in September with Commissioner for Agriculture Dacian Ciolos in Edinburgh.
The Secretary of State said: “Scotland’s voice in Europe is louder and our priorities are heard as part of the United Kingdom. The meetings I undertook today provided the opportunity to ensure Scotland’s interests are made with real clout and influence at a European level. Across Scotland we are stronger and clearer when we speak with one voice and through the UK as one of the world’s leading economies, we have the means to influence Europe’s key decision makers and negotiate the best possible deal.”