Scotland in Europe Update 10th March 2017

The tension is clearly rising as we approach Theresa May’s deadline for triggering article 50. It is not yet clear when the back and forth between the House of Lords and the House of Commons will end. I hope Theresa May will at least have the decency to avoid initiating the UK’s withdrawal from the EU near the 25th March 2017 as that marks the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, which established the European Economic Community.

Over the past week, I have continued to reach out to our European neighbours, appearing on France 24 (in English) discussing Brexit and the rights of EU citizens.

I also wrote a piece for the International Politics and Society magazine, sister publication of Germany’s Internationale Politik und Gesellschaft (IPG), on Brexit, national identity and the SNP’s unashamedly pro-EU agenda 

The Scottish Parliament’s European Committee concluded that “a bespoke solution for Scotland must be considered before and after Article 50 is triggered.” The full report can be read here:

A potential differentiated position for Scotland should be addressed, according to the Constitutional Affairs Committee of the European Parliament.

How Brexit could break devolution. “The stage is set for a Brexit-inspired constitutional confrontation between the devolved administrations and the UK government – and it’s the UK government that has to make the first move.” So says Richard Percival, Senior Research Fellow at Cardiff University.

The Scottish Government has been fighting for the best deal for Scottish farmers in the face of Brexit. Rural Secretary Fergus Ewing attended the EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting earlier this week.

France 24 has also published this piece looking into the state of affairs in Scotland (in French).

The UK Government faces a potential €2 billion bill for negligence which deprived the EU of billions in duties and VAT.

The UK Government’s policy of tendering to those with the right ‘cultural fit’ constitute “a clear infringement of both UK and EU public procurement rules” according to Dr Albert Sanchez-Graells a Senior Lecturer in Law at the University of Bristol.

“When there has been some signals to raise protectionism, especially from the U.S. side, the rest of the world seems to be fighting back and saying that this is not our line, this is something which we don’t want,” says Jyrki Katainen, a vice president of the European Commission.

David Allen Green had a good piece in the FT on the difficulties Gibraltar faces (subscription required).

“Plastics in the oceans is one of the most serious global environmental problems we have” said Swedish Environment Minister Carolina Forest during  the Baltic Sea Future Congress in Stockholm. This is precisely the sort of work that we should be engaging with our European allies. The environment spans borders and can only be effectively tackled at an EU level (article in Swedish).

BMG polling has revealed that twice as many people would rather the UK stay in the EU or try and sort out a different deal, rather than leave the EU with no deal if parliament rejects Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit terms.

“What kind of divorce: a clean, hard Brexit or a messy, confrontational Brexfast?”asks Fabian Zuleeg, Chief Executive and Chief Economist at the European Policy Centre (EPC). This is a particularly interesting read on where we are now

The EU’s big four met at Versailles to discuss the future of the EU.

There are growing concerns for German manufacturers in the UK.

The Bank of England could lose control of regulation rather than gain it from Brexit.

The latest ONS figures on migration reveal that migrants tend to be of working age.

"A future UK-EU trade arrangement is unlikely to simply replicate UK access to the single market. The terms are likely to be less advantageous," is the warning from the American Chamber of Commerce

Only one in 50 job applicants at the cafe chain Pret A Manger is a UK citizen. There is a clear economic need for migration.

The House of Commons EU committee recommends that the UK should make a “unilateral decision to safeguard the rights of EU nationals living in the UK.”

The UK insurance industry has emphasised the importance of access to the EU market, which is worth £8bn a year to London alone.

University College London has launched a new Brexit hub on their website, bringing together their research.

Deutsche Bahn is considering a Frankfurt-London route due to the potential relocation of financial services .

JP Morgan Chase & Co. is looking for new office space in Dublin and Frankfurt.

Finally, the European Parliament’s chief Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt has declared that all British citizens should maintain their right to freedom of movement.