Page last updated at 11:32 GMT, Thursday, 29 November 2012

European and External Affairs Committee

SNP MEP Ian Hudghton told the European and External Affairs Committee that his guess was after all the difficulty on the EU budget for 2013 "some sort of compromise or fudge if you prefer the term" would emerge in February to allow the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform to progress, on 29 November 2012.

The recent Brussels summit ended without agreement on the 27-strong union's next seven-year budget.

European Council chief Herman Van Rompuy said he was confident a deal would be reached early next year.

Hours of talks failed to bridge big gaps between richer countries and those which rely most on EU funding.

The UK said current EU spending levels must be frozen.

Mr Hudghton told MSPs it was important to get clarity on the budget "as soon as possible" as reform of the CAP was not a little dependent on the financing of the initiative.

Labour MSP Hanzala Malik raised the issues of the potential for a common EU immigration policy and fuel prices and taxation across Europe.

Mr Hudghton said most member states wanted to retain the power over the taxation of fuel and he backed that view, although he recognised, the high level of UK fuel taxation was "particularly badly felt in Scotland".

He added there was a lot of discussion on common immigration policy but there were strong views again from member states who wanted to have the final say about immigration from outwith the EU into their country.

The clerk of the committee then gave evidence on EU structural funds and the Brussels Bulletin.

European Committee membership

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