SNP Member of the European Parliament Alyn Smith has today (Wednesday) expressed his satisfaction that the European Commission, for now, has backtracked on proposals for an EU oil exploration ban.The Commission today published proposals designed to co-ordinate disaster response amongst member states and start a stocktaking exercise on whether current rules are sufficient in the light of the American Deepwater Horizon disaster, but stop short of proposing a compulsory ban.

The European Parliament voted last week to reject any call, and the Commission has reflected their proposals accordingly.

Smith said:

“We MEPs put the Commissioner back in his box on the exploration ban – to compare the very different standards in the US to the tightly regulated North Sea is neither appropriate nor helpful.

“There is a need for member states to work together on this: pollution does, after all, cross borders, but there is no need for the Commission to play a lead role, and this power grab was always on a flawed premise.

“The national authorities are already working on the basis of the OSPAR Conventions to better co-ordinate and to ensure the rules we operate to are fit for purpose, and where there is scope for improvement we will certainly want to see such improvement.  But the Commission went too far, and the Parliament reigned it in, for now.  This process will continue and we need to remain vigilant.”

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