July 29th Brexit bulletin: EU Commission appoints top French official for Brexit talks

Welcome to the first of what will be a weekly update on Brexit produced by me as one of your Members of the European Parliament. Many people have been contacting me to ask what is going on, so I will produce a weekly update on events. It will not be exhaustive, but I hope it is of interest, do please do feel free to share with friends and colleagues. We will also keep the entire www.scotlandineurope.eu resource updated, it has never been more important to know how Scotland, and indeed the UK, in Europe works.

I should also outline my own position. Until such time as we are no longer part of the EU, I remain your Member of the European Parliament and I have a job to do. It has of course rather changed, and I interpret an important part of that job as keeping you abreast of what is happening. I was proud that five out of Scotland's six MEPs have committed ourselves to work together to get the best deal we can for the people we represent whatever the future holds.: http://www.alynsmith.eu/scotland_s_meps_continue_as_team_scotland

We will do our best to represent you, but I must be frank in my horror that the newly appointed Chief Representative of the UK in the world, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, has considerably damaged the credibility of the UK government and us with it. I collated some international reaction to the appointment below: http://www.alynsmith.eu/international_reaction_to_boris_johnson_appointment  

Brexit, whatever is going to happen, will move fast, and it is important to remain informed of what is going on. I hope this email bulletin is helpful and accessible.  

We are seeing the damage of Brexit every week. Already the UK European Commissioner, Jonathan Hill, has resigned, and the European Banking Authority and the European Medicines Agency, both based in London, are preparing to pack up for Spain or Italy. Most importantly, the European Commission, which represents the interest of European citizens like you and I, has decided to appoint a skilled, experienced French politician as its Brexit Envoy, that is a clear call to London that no favours will be made. Michel Barnier, a former colleague of mine at the European Parliament and the former European Commissioner who overhauled financial regulations –despite the City of London’s love for deregulation- shows Europe will take the upcoming Brexit talks very, very seriously.

I would also like to share a few insights from Brussels on what lies ahead for Scotland and the EU, as well as some interesting take from the Center for European Reform – the negotiations ahead of the Tory government will be excruciatingly complex.

However, your MEPs, five out of six of us anyway, will continue to serve.  If I or my team can be of assistance with anything concrete do please get in touch.
Yours aye,

Brexit bulletin: 29th July 2016

Michel Barnier will represent the European Commission in the upcoming Brexit talks. He is one of France’s most experienced politicians on Europe and was in charge of the Commission’s daunting task of regulating financial services after the 2008 crisis. In the past he oversaw Europe’s regional development policy which played an important role in many parts of Scotland, and was France’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Agriculture, Fisheries and Environment.

Scotland’s future in the EU:
 speech to IPPR Scotland, by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, you can read the full speech below: http://www.snp.org/scotland_s_future_in_the_eu_speech_to_ippr_scotland

Milan, Barcelona and Madrid are already campaigning to get London’s European agencies after Brexit: 
the Italian PM has set a taskforce to host some of Europe’s most important agencies currently based in London, the European Medicines Agency and the European Banking Authority, as the latter’s chief has urged the EU to decide “as quickly as possible” on their relocation outside of the UK: http://www.euractiv.com/section/euro-finance/news/italy-and-spain-lead-the-fight-to-conquer-uk-based-eu-agencies/

Brexit talks will be much more complicated than British politicians believe:
 here is an interesting take at what this could entail, from the Center for European Reform “Theresa May and her six-pack of difficult deals” http://www.cer.org.uk/insights/theresa-may-and-her-six-pack-difficult-deals

Scotland and the European Union: 
the European Policy Center, one of Brussels’ leading thing tanks, sets out the main challenges ahead for Scotland and the EU, in a four-page policy brief by Graham Avery – there may be strong support from Europe as Alyn Smith’s standing ovation at the European Parliament showed, yet the road ahead needs some careful attention:


Some out-of-the-box readings can come in handy nowadays: In the Irish Times, Fintan O’Toole argues for a Three-state union made of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland as –highly hypothetical- answers to Brexit https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/fintan-o-toole-three-state-union-may-be-answer-to-brexit-1.2734041