THE Greens have launched their European elections campaign today with a pledge to “welcome newcomers” to Scotland amid concerns that UKIP may get an unwarranted boost north of the border.
Green Party co-convenor Patrick Harvie also wants an emphasis on protecting public services and investment, as well as promoting Europe’s role in ending conflict through peace-keeping.
The Greens secured over 7 per cent of the vote in 2009 and are seeking backing for the last of Scotland’s six MEP seats. This is likely to be up for grabs as the Lib Dems’ support continues to slide, placing their current single MEP in jeopardy.
The Green campaign themes also highlight the “starkest possible contrast” with UKIP in the race for that sixth and final Scottish seat.
Mr Harvie said: “UKIP is well off the radar in Scotland. But there’s a real risk that blanket coverage of Farage and co. in England will give it a boost here that it does not merit.
“While I’m confident that people in Scotland will continue to reject UKIP at the polls, the most potent way to do that is to back the Scottish Greens as the party which stands in greatest contrast to UKIP.”
Greens have 45 MEPs from elsewhere across Europe.
The Greens in Scotland want to see Europe which exercising its diplomatic and trade muscle in support of human rights, indigenous people, impoverished nations and expanding the reach of equalities protections.
The protection of workers’ rights and pensions should be the mainstay of a thriving economy. The party also wants to see the principle of handing power to the most local level being reasserted in Brussels.
Councillor Maggie Chapman, the Scottish Greens’ lead MEP candidate, said: “I passionately believe that the movement of people between countries is good for our society and economy. As Scotland’s Green MEP I would stand up for a Scotland which welcomes people, and challenge those who peddle damaging anti-immigrant rhetoric.
“Scotland also needs a voice in Europe to say no to the Cold War relic that is NATO, and no to illegal wars and military aggression. And a campaigner who comes with a track record of fighting to keep public services in public hands.”