fair and equitable future for Scotland in Europe, Scottish secretary
Donald Dewar has said.
Speaking to European ministers at the Glasgow Informal Meeting on
He outlined the lead UK role taken by Scottish local government minister Calum MacDonald in recent discussions on Spatial Planning - a
Europe-wide monitoring strategy for sustainable and balanced
Mr Dewar said:
'This is a significant week for Europe. We are today hoping to secure
substantial progress on consolidating the European Spatial
Development Perspective and embarking on the Urban Exchange
Initiative. Tomorrow we will be looking in detail at the Agenda 2000
proposals particularly as they affect the future of Structural and
'Scotland is playing a key role in these discussions, and the presence
of this major European meeting in Glasgow is indicative of our status.
We are working hard with our partners to make progress on aspects of
considerable importance to Scotland, the UK as a whole and the
European Union generally.
'The operation of the Structural Funds is of great importance to
Scotland because of the considerable benefit derived from them by
many projects and initiatives. Our partners in Structural Funds
Programmes have been extremely active in delivering effective
projects and contributing to the successful implementation of
programmes over recent years.
'With our very positive track record in economic development and the
effective management and use of Structural Funds we can make a
particularly helpful contribution to the overall reform process. We
have done well this far, but we need to consolidate if we are to secure enduring benefits from the funds. We must make sure that reform is affordable, fair and simple, and sufficiently flexible to accommodate the existing 15 member states and new members.
'There is a growing recognition that our destiny is increasingly linked to that of Europe as a whole, which is why the Spatial Planning
development is so welcome. There are already practical examples of
initiatives to encourage better links and to enhance spatial planning in that context. Economic and natural phenomena are not great respecters of boundaries and if we can co-operate to ensure more sustainable development then we should.
'Scotland has had a significant involvement in Spatial Planning
discussions, with Calum MacDonald taking the UK lead role in a series
of bilateral meetings with EU Ministers. It is exceptional for a Scottish Office minister to play such a role and demonstrates our commitment to European involvement as we approach the Scottish parliament.'