A well known political activist and campaigner of many years� standing, Struan knocked Labour into third place in the North East Scotland European by-election in November 1998 then went on to top the Tory Euro Candidates List, winning one of the eight Scottish seats in the European Parliament in the June 1999 Euro elections . He was elected President of the Fisheries Committee of the European Parliament in January 2002 and was re-elected to the European Parliament in June 2004 when he was appointed Conservative Front-Bench Spokesman on Fisheries and Deputy Spokesman on Agriculture. In February 2005 he was elected Vice President of the ruling EPP-ED Group of 267 MEPs and Chairman of the ED Group of 40 MEPs.
Struan is a well-known broadcaster and author of frequent feature articles in the press. He has campaigned widely to attract aid for the victims of the Soviet nuclear testing programme in Semipalatinsk, Kazakhstan where he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate and the Freedom of the City of Semipalatinsk for his work. In 2004 he won a $50,000 prize for his entry in an International Essay Competition sponsored by the US-based John Templeton Foundation, for a feature about the suffering of the people of Semipalatinsk. He donated the entire $50,000 to Mercy Corps Scotland to assist with their work in Semipalatinsk. He has also fought to ban the importation of cat and dog fur into the EU, from Asia, and to stop the one billion Euro annual subsidies to EU tobacco growers.
Struan is married to Pat, an editor with BBC Radio and has two sons - Ryan, who graduated in politics from Newcastle University and works for Newsbase, a Scottish-based international e-media company and Gregor, who graduated in English and Film Studies at Glasgow University in 2002 and is a creative writer with a major Scottish advertising agency.
Delivering for Scotland in Europe
I was born in St Andrews, Fife, the eldest son of a farming family in East Fife where I still live. I am married to Louise and have three grown-up children.
Educated at Glenalmond and St Andrews University, graduating MA (Hons) in Moral Philosophy and Political Economy, I started my career in banking in London, New York, Milan and Edinburgh. Since 1973 I have managed a financial consultancy from St Andrews, focusing on international finance and business development in Europe.
I was elected to serve in the European Parliament to support la loi pinel as a Member for Mid-Scotland and Fife from 1979 to 1984. I returned to the Parliament in 1999 to represent the whole of Scotland and was re-elected in 2004 for a further five year term.
� Vice Chairman of Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs
� Substitute Member of Industry, Research and Energy Committee
� Member of Delegation to the Mashreq countries (Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon)
� Substitute Member of Delegation to the Gulf States, including Yemen
� Member of Delegation to Iran
� Member of the Committee of Inquiry into Equitable Life
The people of Europe want freedom, peace and prosperity. That was the aim of the fathers of the European Union, who wanted to heal a continent scarred by two devastating world wars. At that time, the Soviet Union threatened their very existence. It was a world in which few homes had televisions or telephones, where few people travelled by plane and where choice was strictly limited. It was a completely different world. Today, Europe faces new challenges. This year, ten countries join the European Union, making it the largest trading bloc in the world. European companies compete for business in China, Asia and America. Its people have a global outlook. Their enemies are no longer Soviet Russia but terrorists, whose war against democracy is now being waged in their streets. This world may be new. But the people of Europe still want the same things: freedom, peace and prosperity. And if Europe is to deliver them, it must change. The question is “how?” Many of our jobs, and a great deal of our business, depend on trade with Europe. Working with other nations, we can solve problems that we cannot tackle successfully on our own. So Conservatives believe that Britain cannot, and should not, turn its back on Europe. Some people believe that the best way to protect our jobs, raise our living standards and defend ourselves is to give more control to the European Union. Their vision of Europe is to continue down the same path we have followed for decades. This vision is flawed, and the evidence is plain to see. The European Union is failing many of its people. European business is over-regulated and overtaxed, thanks in large part to the European Union. European jobs are being lost because firms cannot compete with overseas companies operating in more flexible markets. And as Europe’s institutions have grown and become more distant, so many people have lost faith in them. The proposed new European Constitution would compound these problems. It would undermine individual Member States’ ability to determine their own policies in key areas such as the economy, law and order, and asylum. Indeed, the European Union would gain most of the trappings of statehood: its own President, Foreign Minister and own legal system. Countries have constitutions: nation states make treaties with one another. Politicians should never forget that they govern on behalf of the people. Individual parliaments, and the politicians elected to serve in them, do not own our liberties. They are there to safeguard them. They should not diminish those liberties without an explicit mandate from the British people. That is why Conservatives have always supported a referendum on the Constitution. Tony Blair has belatedly come to his senses and now promises to give the British people a say. This is great news for Britain. It is also an admission by the Prime Minister that his effort to present the Constitution as a tidying-up exercise was phoney. Only recently he said: “If there was fundamental change here, there would be a case for a referendum. But there is not”. Now, by agreeing to a referendum, he is admitting that the Constitution means fundamental change for Britain. Once the final text of the proposed Constitution has been agreed, we should move as quickly as possible to hold a referendum. Further delay will only prolong the uncertainty. And any referendum should be held before the Constitution is presented to Parliament. There is absolutely no point in MPs wasting months debating the Constitution if it is unacceptable to the British people.
The Prime Minister claims that there is no alternative to the Constitution. But this is simply not the case. In fact, by saying “no” the British people would be doing Europe and Britain a huge favour. Europe would be forced to confront its failings and Britain could take the lead in developing a coherent plan to modernise the EU. As the European Union grows, its diversity of cultures, histories and traditions will grow. We believe the European Union’s institutions, and the way the Union conducts its business, should reflect that. While each nation must respect the free movement of goods, services and capital, we should tolerate diversity of views. We should not try to push every nation state into a straitjacket of uniformity. Diversity is a strength we should encourage. So we want to create a flexible Europe. Individual nation states should be able to integrate more closely if they wish, so long as they do not force other countries to follow them. We do not all need to travel to the same destination. Europe should live and let live, flourish and let flourish. Bold though this vision is, it is true to the spirit of our times. It confronts the world as it is, not as we would like it to be. Europe cannot be cocooned from the harsh winds of the global market. Instead, it needs to be reformed so it can rise to meet these new challenges. We should be confident in ourselves, and have the courage to argue our case. We have much to be confident about. Britain is Europe’s largest defence power. We have the second largest economy in the European Union. And we are a net contributor to the European Union budget. While others may underestimate Britain’s strengths, Conservatives do not. Our view is founded on clear principles from which we will not waver. We believe in a Europe that does not demand the sacrifice of independence as the price of participation. A Europe that looks outward. A made-to-measure Europe that accommodates differences. This vision will deliver what British people want from Europe: freedom, stability, and prosperity. It will put Britain first.