John Purvis retires

THE ONLY SCOTS MEP IN FIRST EURO PARLIAMENT STANDS DOWN

John Purvis, the only remaining Scottish MEP to have served in the first elected European Parliament, will not be standing at the next European Elections on June 4, 2009. He is one of two UK MEPs, still serving, who were elected to that first parliament.

Mr Purvis (70) was MEP for Mid Scotland and Fife between 1979 and 1984. A boundary change meant he was not re-elected in 1984 and he did not stand again until 1999, when he was re-elected under the PR system to represent all of Scotland. He was again successful in 2004 and is one of two Conservatives out of seven Scots MEPs. He has been Vice President of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Association and was Chairman of its Economic Committee for many years.

Mr Purvis received the CBE in 1990 for his political service.

Born in St Andrews, Fife, the eldest son of a farming family, Mr Purvis is an expert in financial affairs.

He is Vice Chairman of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs and is a member of the Industry, Research and Energy Committee of the European Parliament.

A very positive pro- European, Mr Purvis has been a firm believer in the economic importance of the European single market, has pursued the ideal with enthusiasm and seen it develop dramatically over the last 30 years.

Mr Purvis sees it as quite possible that the UK will ultimately join the Euro and has no hang-ups about sovereignty, seeing Britain being fully committed within Europe as strengthening British sovereignty rather than weakening it. He welcomed the influx of hard-working eastern Europeans as a positive contribution to Scotland’s economy.

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Among his campaigns was a push for a European market in mortgages, to give more choice and competitive prices to consumers. He was also much involved in the process of aligning European and American standards for accounting and the regulation of financial services.

“The European single market is not as fully utilised by Scottish business as it could be,” he says. “I would like to see more Scottish businesses taking advantage of a tariff-free and non- tariff- barrier-free market in order to access 500 million potential customers.

“Too many of our businesses look only to the UK, rather than to the whole of Europe, for their market.

“Scotland has much to offer: it just needs to get out there and market its excellent goods and services.

“Scotland politically, however, has been more positive about its position in Europe than England, and Scottish local authorities have taken the opportunity to get involved, to attract funding and to raise awareness of how the EU works.

“The Scottish school curriculum very creditably includes European studies, and young Scots are interested in, and knowledgeable about, Europe which is a positive outlook for the future. I and other Scottish MEPs witness this in frequent invitations to describe our work to primary and secondary classes and to visit with university student groups.”

Europe, he believes, has a clearer delineation between the executive and the political arms, with the European Parliament, the European Commission and the Council of Ministers checking and balancing each other better than seems to occur in London.

Internationally, Mr Purvis has a keen interest in Middle Eastern affairs and has visited the area many times as part of the European Parliament’s Mashreq, Iran and Gulf States Delegations. He is due to visit Iran in December to meet politicians, officials and, hopefully, ordinary people in order to learn more about the political climate.

Mr Purvis added: “It has been a great privilege to represent Scotland in this great historic project and I will follow its future progress with continuing interest and enthusiasm.”