Scotland in Europe Update: 12th July 2019

This week, with our group colleagues, we had the opportunity to question the nominee to be President of the European Commission. In answers to our questions Ursula von der Leyen has shown herself to be exactly in line with Scotland in our efforts to stop Brexit. Crucially she confirmed that not only legally (which we already knew) but also politically we can change our mind right up to the last minute and remain in the EU without consequence:

Yes, the door is open because we want you in. And the political consequences are way harder when it comes the other why round. So as we have said we want you in. We are prepared for whatever happens but if we are to choose we want you in.

There are of course a lot of issues facing the EU and the world, but we were sent here to stop Brexit. Mrs von der Leyen has confirmed herself as an ally in this, she did her candidacy a lot of good with her clear comments. Indeed, she went further explaining that she was not only a fan of Nicola Sturgeon but also that she knew “first-hand how the debates [in the UK] are. So, respect and good luck.”

There’s a long way to go but we can stop Brexit, and we have friends across the continent who are only too happy to help.

Aileen has now taken up her seat on both the Environment and Constitutional Affairs committees of the European Parliament. She said: “Tackling the climate emergency will be the biggest issue for the new European Parliament. During the recent European election campaign, the SNP made a commitment to pushing for an EU-wide Green New Deal in response to the climate emergency we face and to pressing the EU to do more to protect our planet and our environment. I look forward to taking forward that agenda.”

It was good to welcome Fiona Hyslop, the Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs to Brussels this week

One of Scotland’s best-loved potatoes, Ayrshire New Potatoes - also known as Ayshire Earlies – have been given official recognition by the European Union as a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) the EU’s protected food name scheme.

Opinion polling is now clear. The Prime Minister (whoever they are) should revoke article 50 rather than pursue no deal.

The British Irish Chamber of Commerce has responded to Prosperity UK’s Alternative Arrangements proposal for the Irish border. They didn’t hold back: “The British Irish Chamber’s view of these proposals, no matter how genuine the initiative, is that they lack credibility in the reality of how all-island trade actually works.”

Powerful piece from Chris Allnutt over at on the shabby treatment of Ambassador Kim Darroch. “Brexiter blindness to the damaging impact of such revelations is unsettling. For someone as "notoriously thin-skinned" as Donald Trump, the leaks ought not just to provoke misgivings between the US administration and 'europhile' diplomats - they could damage the entire future of the transatlantic relationship.”

The US suspended the limited talks it was having with the UK about a post-Brexit trade deal.

The blog of the European Journal of International Law have an interesting piece on the Rockall dispute.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has warned there would be a great deal of reluctance among European Union leaders to grant the UK another extension.

Meanwhile the Tánaiste Simon Coveney has announced the Irish Government is making more plans for a no deal Brexit.

You'll doubtless have seen the many claims that the ‘European Union President’ isn’t democratically elected? Well, Full Fact have a handy guide to why this is wrong.

The CBI has warned that the threat of a no deal Brexit is causing firms to stop investing in the UK.

Food prices would rise by up to rise up to 20% virtually instantly in the event of a no deal Brexit, according to the boss of Birds Eye.

Philip Rycroft, former head of DEXEU, has warned that everyone should worry about a no deal scenario.

The European Parliament has put together a handy explainer on the role of the human rights clause in EU trade agreements.

The European Commission has produced a good Q&A on the EU-Mercosur Trade Agreement.

The LSE have released research showing that whatever type of Brexit the UK takes, it will be bad for the service sector of the economy.

Piotr Teodorowski, Ruth Woods and Catriona Kennedy (Robert Gordon University) have released a report on the impact of Brexit on migrants in Edinburgh and Aberdeen. They found that the ongoing uncertainty about their status had in some cases worsened existing mental health problems.

It’s great to hear that so many folk are finding the #AlynExplains videos on Twitter to be useful. Here’s another one, this time from outside Scotland House.

Scotland’s population will be half a million smaller by 2040 than it would be if control of immigration policy was devolved, according to a report from the SNP.

And finally, if you enjoy John le Carré you will like this piece in the New Yorker on Boris Johnson.