SCOTTISH Labour yesterday launched its European election campaign with a pledge to fight for improved workers' rights and tighter banking regulations across the EU.

Leader Johann Lamont outlined her party's key priorities for Brussels "on issues that really make a difference to people" in Scotland.

They include an effort to crackdown on exploitative zero hours contracts across the EU and tougher rules on tax avoidance by big business.

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Labour will also push for a travel industry-style insurance scheme to ensure banks would not need government support in the event of another financial crisis.

The party will back the programme in alliance with other centre left European parties.

Launching the campaign at Glasgow Kelvin College in Easterhouse, a campus that has benefited from EU funding, she said the May 22 poll should not be seen as an extension of the independence referendum.

She insisted the elections were "important in themselves" but added: "There are many parallels between the constitutional debate we are having in Scotland and the one happening across Europe - to work together or go apart.

"I find it curious when the nationalists say that the best people to make decisions on behalf of the people of Scotland are those that live and work here.

"Replace the word Scotland with Britain and the same slogan could work for Ukip."

Labour have two of Scotland's six MEPs, the same number as the SNP. The Conservatives and Lib Dems each have one.

However, polls suggest the LibDems could struggle to hold their seat, giving the SNP, who are ahead in Scotland, Labour or the Greens a chance of taking it.

On Wednesday Alex Salmond launched his party's campaign saying that Westminster representation in the EU had "let Scotland down time and time again".

He also warned Scotland was in danger of being removed from the EU against its will as a result of David Cameron's pledge to stage an in/out referendum on Britain's membership if he wins next year's Westminster election.

But Ms Lamont said: "With our membership of the European Union, we pledge to work with our neighbours for the greater good.

"In recent years, Europe has been rocked by the financial crisis, by problems with the single currency, and, as a consequence, by the rise in the politics of division and grievance.

"But I firmly believe that we can achieve more together than we do apart. Our trade links, our cultural links and our social links enrich us in every sense. Europe has been good for us and will be again."