CAMERON HAS BLUNDERED INTO ISOLATION IN EUROPE
On his return today from China after a week-long trade visit to promote Scottish interests and industries, First Minister Alex Salmond has made a key intervention on the European issue, writing to the Prime Minister David Cameron with six crucial questions about the UK's isolation within the European Union as a result of the Prime Minister's veto of a new European Treaty.
The First Minister said:
"It is extraordinary state of affairs that while the Scottish Government and our agencies were working hard to promote Scotland's interests and industries in China, David Cameron was blundering into apparently changing the UK's entire relationship with the European Union – without even discussing it with his own Lib Dem coalition colleagues, never mind the devolved administrations in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast.
"Given that David Cameron took it upon himself to isolate the UK in Europe - from non-euro and the euro members alike - and without a word of consultation, he now needs to answer six key questions about the implications for Scotland of what he has done. As the price of playing to his own backbenchers, the Prime Minister now leads a riven administration - with zero credibility in EU negotiations across the range of policy areas where Scotland's interests are crucially affected.
"Last week's developments in Brussels demonstrate that Scotland urgently needs a voice at the top table when our vital national interests are being discussed, by becoming an independent member state, instead of being shut out of the room."
The First Minister's questions to the Prime Minister are:
1. What risk assessment, if any, did the UK government undertake of the likely impact of its veto decision on investment into Scotland and the UK, and on negotiations affecting key Scottish industries such as agriculture, fishing, and financial services - where qualified majority
voting already applies?
2. What assessment, if any, was made of how Scotland's interests will be affected in the EU by being represented by a UK government that is excluded from important decision-making meetings, which will impact directly on Scotland?
3. Given the serious impact of a UK treaty veto, why did you not consult with the Scottish Government and other devolved administrations on the use of an option which Mrs Thatcher and John Major in their negotiations both managed to avoid?
4. Can you confirm the reports in the Italian and UK press that you told the new Italian Prime Minister that your negotiating stance was based on the 'big internal problems' you would face if you had agreed to the Treaty change?
5. With key negotiations ongoing concerning the EU Budget, agriculture and fisheries, how do you believe that the important Scottish interests involved will be affected by being represented by a UK member state which has isolated itself?
6. Will you agree to an urgent meeting of the Joint Ministerial Committee, involving all four of the UK administrations, so that the full implications of your decision can be considered?
The Senior Special Adviser
First Minister of Scotland
St Andrew's House
Edinburgh EH1 3DG