Thursday, June 28th 2001 - 21:00 UTC

Falklands Councillor Criticises European Bureacracy

Falklands Councillor Criticises European Bureacracy

Falkland Islands Councillors attending a meeting of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association in Edinburgh, Scotland, have criticised the frustratingly slow speed of bureacracy in the European Union.

Councillor Jan Cheek told the BBC World Service's Calling the Falklands that her colleague Norma Edwards had criticised the amount of red tape that surrounds the provision of European aid. Mrs Edwards told the conference that, although it needed the money, the Falklands government became so frustrated that it refused help from the EU Stabex fund for its new European-standard abattoir. Mrs Cheek told the BBC interviewer that, the administration of the funds has become so tedious that "when we had been told to change the contract for the second or third time, we decided to do it with our own money rather than Stabex funds because the delay would have been so long."

The councillor was asked whether the regular Commonwealth Parliamentary Association meetings, sometimes as frequent as twice a year, are worth the considerable expense of attending. Surprisingly, Mrs Cheek indicated that she did not rate the CPA highly compared to the other overseas events to which the Falkland islands Government sends representatives, and Falklands involvement could end if funds were ever short.

She said: "If we were short of cash and had to prioritise which organisations and which fora we send people to, it would not be top of the list. Obviously we have to send people to the United Nations in order that the whole argument doesn't go by default. If Argentina had the floor to itself, it would. I really think it is very important to attend the (British) party conferences.

"It (The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association) would be further down the priority list, but it is valuable in that it increases the awareness of other countries about our situation."

The next CPA conference is scheduled for Australia in August, and it will be attended by Councillor's Bill Luxton and Mike Summers

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