Scotland in Europe Update: 18th August 2017

My thoughts and solidarity go out to Barcelona, a wonderful city reeling from yesterday’s horrific attack. European Parliament President Antonio Tajani released a statement unequivocally condemning the attack, and the Parliament fell silent today to commemorate the victims.

We live in frightening, unsettling times, but as a wise woman once said, we have far more in common than that which divides us. Stay safe.

Yours aye, 


The UK Government plans to release a series of papers on key negotiation issues. The first, released this week and covering plans for a post-Brexit customs deal with the EU, hasn’t exactly been met with rapturous applause. In fact, the First Minister went as far as to say it was a “daft ‘have cake and eat it’ approach.” The paper calls for a temporary customs union and the UK to also negotiate its own international trade deals, something it cannot do as a member of the customs union.

Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament’s Chief Negotiator, explained to be both in and out of the Customs Union “is a fantasy” and that the priority should be to secure citizens' rights and a financial settlement.

This week also saw the British government release its latest position paper on Brexit, outlining proposals to solve the border problem between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Cliff Taylor in the Irish Times says that, “given the incoherence of the British approach, the best strategy for Ireland… seems to be to keep pushing for Britain to remain in the customs union."

The Financial Times isn’t angry, just very disappointed. “The UK has shown destructive ambivalence, not creative ambiguity.”

And the Conservatives are united in taking the UK out of both the single market and the customs union.

Scottish Labour are trying to force the UK party to confirm whether or not it backs remaining in the Single Market. David Martin MEP summed it up thus: "In a Scottish context, Scotland continues to need EU migration to manage its public services and mitigate the impact of an ageing population. This is obviously closely linked to single market membership."

The Institute for Government has released a paper saying that no post-Brexit scenario will be pain-free for the UK’s key industries. ‘Frictionless trade? What Brexit means for cross-border trade in goods’ says that trade deals with other partners won’t replace the losses from leaving the EU.

Phil Hogan, the European Commissioner for Agriculture, has warned of “a high level of delusion in London”.

Sigmar Gabriel, Germany’s foreign minister, is concerned that the British don’t seem to be making much progress in the negotiations.

Continuing the working relationship between the devolved governments of Scotland and Wales, Environment ministers Roseanna Cunningham MSP and Lesley Griffiths AM are set to meet to discuss Brexit.

David Miliband has added his voice to those calling for a second referendum – this time on the Brexit deal once we know the terms.

Sad news from Kent as a company supplying salads has gone into administration, blaming Brexit. Southern Salads say that the devaluation of the pound since the EU referendum has made their business unsustainable, costing 260 people their jobs.

If you live in Northern Ireland, you should still be able to get your Irish/EU citizenship after Brexit.