Scotland in Europe Update: 17th January 2020

This week was our last in Strasbourg (at least for the time being). While it’s been a tough week there were a number of key votes, not least on the European Green Deal where we helped to secure crucial amendments on the role of the European Investment Bank in the Green Deal, and underlined the need for binding national targets for both renewables and energy efficiency. Europe is busy getting on with tackling the issues that matter as we are being dragged out of the door against the people of Scotland’s democratically expressed wishes to remain inside the EU.

The Parliament also stood up for EU citizens and passed an important opinion on the UK Government’s actions. In particular we are worried about the application-based approach used in the UK EU Settlement Scheme, the absence of physical proof for successful applicants, and its accessibility. The Parliament will continue to play a role in supporting EU 27 nationals after the UK has left the EU, and you can read more about the opinion here:

And see Christian’s speech here:

Many of you have expressed interest in 'associate citizenship'. Unfortunately, whilst this was suggested earlier in the negotiations it has not progressed any further, despite the European Parliament pushing it as far as possible. Tragically – and we wish we had better news – the bottom line is simple: when the UK drags Scotland out of the EU we will no longer be EU citizens.

Looking further into the future, the EU has already started to lay out its position for the future negotiations with the UK. Front and centre of this is going to be the EU’s ‘Level Playing Field’ proposals. These are designed to stop the UK undercutting the EU and will include non-regression clauses on state aid, taxation, labour, environmental and social standards. The detail of these will form the backbone of all the talks for the next year and the question will be simple:

Does Boris value access to EU markets and protecting our existing quality of life? Or would he prefer to put up barriers and set up Singapore-on-Thames?

We fear we know the answer, so we all need to get out and talk to people about Scotland becoming a normal independent country which can rejoin the EU. This is now not just the best future for us all, but the only way to avert Scotland being dragged down with the UK.



If you want to read more about the Parliament’s position on the European Green Deal Investment Plan and Just Transition Mechanism, you can do so here.

You can read the other EU positions that were released this week. They are a wee bit technical, but the details will define the deal the UK gets.

The Scottish Government has been laying out its position to defend the powers of the Scottish Parliament during the upcoming negotiations. As the First Minister said: “These arrangements aren’t just about who we trade with, they are about how we trade and how we maintain the highest possible standards. We want to minimise trade friction while ensuring consumer, environmental and worker protections are not allowed to suffer.

The First Minister also chaired a meeting with economy and business leaders, the first of a series of roundtables to discuss the future path of Scotland, and the challenges of Brexit.

The EU has again emphasised the solidarity that an entire continent has with Ireland.

A report from Bloomberg Economics estimates the cost of Brexit since the EU referendum result at around £130 billion rising to £200 billion by the end of the year. It is remarkable how the UK government can find the money for this but not for the countless worthwhile services across the UK that they have cut.

Katy Hayward wrote a good piece in the Guardian on the restoration of the Northern Ireland Assembly

Le Monde covered the recent independence march in Glasgow.

The Scottish Farmer has reported that crops will rot without more overseas workers

The UK’s migration regime negatively affects the lives of transnational couples, according to Clive Sealey (University of Worcester) and Daniel Nehring (East China University of Science and Technology).

Dr Anna Jerzewska published an important piece on the future of the UK’s customs regime.

Christian’s speech summed it up the week rather well. “Politics does not stand still. We either go forward, or we go backwards.”