Scotland in Europe Update- 16 September 2016

This has been a busy week and whilst no further clarity has emerged from the UK government a lot has happened in Edinburgh and on the Continent. 

On Wednesday Nicola Sturgeon appeared before the Scottish Parliament European and External Relations Committee outlining her fears about the potential damage caused by Brexit. You can read more here.

At the same time Jean Claude Juncker delivered his state of the union address to MEPs in Strasbourg which you can read here.

Since nobody yet knows what Brexit is, he had little to say on the matter but it did come up in the debate that followed. Notably there was a particularly ugly moment when Nigel Farage was followed by Marine Le Pen who emphasised: "the British prove its possible to leave the EU and do better". We live in dangerous times.

I again raised the issue of Scotland’s role in the negotiations and condemned the deeply dishonest leave campaign; my intervention can be watched here.

And finally today the EU27 met in Bratislava to discuss their future. There will surely be many more such meetings and the UK is simply not in the room. Ahead of this meeting Donald Tusk wrote to the 27 leaders attending.

The rest of this weeks stories follow, apologies for the length this week, but it’s been busy!

Yours aye,


The Commission formally created the taskforce for the Preparation and Conduct of the Negotiations with the United Kingdom. In addition to appointing a former French Commissioner for financial services as its head, Sabine Weyand has been appointed his deputy who is one of Germany's most experienced EU experts. Read more here.

Mike Russell outlined his plans after being appointed as the Scottish Government’s Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland’s Place in Europe. Read more here.

And then on Thursday he went to London to meet David Davis for the first time. Read more here.

The Scottish Parliament European and External Relations Committee produced an initial report on the EU referendum result and its implications for Scotland. It is well worth a read.

The Taoiseach warned that unless there is free movement of people the UK will not have full access to the EU single market.
And this warning was repeated from the European Parliament's chief negotiator.

David Davis confirmed once again the utter lack of a plan by conceding there was a possibility that the UK could leave without a trade deal in place.

This could be hugely damaging to the Scottish economy, particularly to agriculture. I wrote to David Davis asking for clarity on behalf of Scotland's sheep farmers and you can see my comments alongside those of the National Sheep Association here.

Visa charges are a possibility and earlier in the week the UK Government admitted that we could all end up paying to visit the continent.

In worrying news for Scottish Universities the Home Secretary Amber Rudd confirmed that she planned on putting further restrictions on international students.

Last effort to resuscitate TTIP. Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Spain, the U.K. and Sweden have written a joint letter in support of TTIP and CETA. Obviously, the Conservative UK Government continues to support TTIP but with less than half the member states signing this is a sure sign that TTIP is struggling. Neither France nor Germany are among the letter's signatories.

Finally, the European Trade Union Congress
 has pledged to fight tooth and nail against any erosion of social rights currently guaranteed by the EU in the UK and Europe.