European Maritime Safety Agency

Question Time — Scottish Executive – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:30 pm on 27th March 2003.

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Photo of Sandra White Sandra White Scottish National Party 2:30 pm, 27th March 2003

To ask the Scottish Executive what action it is taking to support the relocation of the European Maritime Safety Agency to Glasgow. (S1O-6716)

Photo of Iain Gray Iain Gray Labour

As this is a reserved matter, the Executive liaises closely with the UK Government about supporting this case.

Photo of Sandra White Sandra White Scottish National Party

I presumed that the minister would have been aware of the letters between the Executive and Neil MacCormick MEP, who asked it to support the relocation of the agency in Glasgow. Is the minister aware that Greece, which is another contender for the siting of the agency, has set up a website to support its bid? Should the Executive not liaise with Westminster or the European Parliament to set up such a website to promote Glasgow's bid?

Photo of Iain Gray Iain Gray Labour

The Executive has been involved in the preparation of materials to support the bid. We have also mobilised the Executive office in Brussels—an arm of the Scottish Executive—and I believe that officials there have been in contact with MEPs to promote the bid. We would certainly be happy to consider further materials or ways to support it.

Glasgow would provide an excellent base for EMSA. I understand that Genoa, Lisbon, Nantes, and Piraeus have made other bids. However, even an Edinburgh boy such as I knows that Glasgow can readily see off that opposition.

Photo of Phil Gallie Phil Gallie Conservative

I welcome the minister's assurance that measures are in hand to present a case for Scotland and Glasgow on this issue. Does he agree that there is plenty of good material for that, especially because of the engineering experience in Scotland and the contribution that coastal communities have made to our merchant navy over many years? Will he drive home that point with his Westminster colleague, because there can be no finer setting for the new European Maritime Safety Agency than Scotland and Glasgow?

Photo of Iain Gray Iain Gray Labour

I am happy to accept Mr Gallie's welcome for my first answer and to agree with the further points that he makes. I will take steps to ensure that cognisance is taken both of those points and of the point that was made about websites.