Scotland in Europe Update: 14th September 2018

This week has been a very busy week in Strasbourg. Notably, Jean Claude Juncker gave his final State of the Union address outlining how the EU is performing, and what policies we will be looked at next year. He did, inevitably mention Brexit, though only briefly. Crucially he reiterated a few points for the benefit of those Brexiters who keep feigning deafness. Firstly, “if you leave the Union, you are of course no longer part of our single market, and certainly not only in the parts of it you choose. Secondly, the European Commission, this Parliament and all other 26 Member States will always show loyalty and solidarity with Ireland when it comes to the Irish border.”

You can read the full speech at the link below. What struck me was how the EU (except the UK) is coming together around a lot of the challenges we face. They are getting on with the day job of making Europe better.

Back home in Scotland the state of another Union was in the spotlight. Scotland did not vote for Brexit, let alone the very hard damaging type being pursued by Theresa May. The Scottish parliament must be protected from the centralising urges of the Brexiters. Brexit is going to create more challenges than ever for Holyrood. What happens over the next few months will define the fate of both the UK and Scotland and so I will leave you with this challenge from Mike Russell:

“Let me make this very clear at the outset No Deal is impossible and unthinkable. But the Chequers Deal is impractical and unworkable, and a Brexit with next to no detail about future relationship – a so called ‘blind Brexit’ - would be completely unacceptable. We must find something better.”



The National Audit Office has produced a report on DEFRA’s progress. The warnings are stark:

  • "Defra needs to negotiate with 154 non-EU countries to agree acceptance of UK versions of over 1,400 export health certificates. It is focusing on reaching agreement with 15 of these countries that it estimates account for approximately 90% of total exports to non-EU countries of animal products, food and live animals, but is not expecting to be able to complete negotiations with all the remaining 139 countries by March 2019”
  • "Without a significant increase in the UK’s veterinary capacity, Defra will be unable to process the increased volume of export health certificates it expects if there is no deal. To achieve the required capacity, Defra needed to provide the market with sufficient notice and certainty about the scale of the increased capacity required. It had programmed this work to start in April 2018 but, by September 2018, the government had not yet authorised Defra to start engaging publicly with the veterinary market. If there are not enough vets, consignments of food could be delayed at the border or prevented from leaving the UK."

UK driving licenses may not be valid after Brexit according to the UK Government’s no deal reports.

EU roaming charges could return in the event of a no deal Brexit.

The Scottish Government has expressed concern about reports regarding the validity of UK passports in Europe in this scenario.

All the UK Government no deal reports can be accessed here:

The House of Commons Library has put together a handy guide to a no deal Brexit.

France warned that trains may be stopped in such a scenario.

Jonathan Portes has also put together a good piece on what this would mean for UK citizens.

You can read my article on medicines outlining why the UK Government must act now and start providing clarity.

Ian Dunt’s summary of the Economists for Free Trade’s ridiculous Brexit proposals is worth a read.

The European Research Group also produced a ‘proposal’ for solving the Northern Ireland issue. Apparently magical technology will make it all ok.

The European Parliament has voted to censure Hungary for being in breach of the EU’s core values.

Liam Fox has confessed that he “can’t promise life will be rosy after Brexit”.

The memberships of Unite, Unison and GMB all support a People’s Vote on the EU exit deal.

Lastly this new website is a brilliant source to find out what the EU has done in your local area.