Scotland in Europe Update: 19th April 2019

This was the final Strasbourg session of this parliamentary term and an important one. As I have joked more than once, I have had more farewell addresses than the Rolling Stones! In my speech to Parliament, I called for international observers for the European elections because the Leave campaigns broke the law and I don’t doubt they’ll do it again.

In this slightly quieter moment it is important to remember how much we are missing out on because of Brexit. The oxygen has been sucked out of the room and hugely important events are simply being ignored. David Pratt offered some valuable perspective perspective on significant news (and hopefully good news long term but let’s see) from Sudan and Algeria ( and over in the USA most of the Mueller report was finally released (

Meanwhile, in Scotland, the European Parliament elections are the next order of business. I am sad to see my colleague Ian Hudghton retire but he does with his head held high after a great shift for Scotland as councillor, MEP and – above all – activist. He’ll not be lost to the cause.

As for me? I’m honoured to have been approved as a candidate in the elections and the list is open to SNP April conference delegates to rank us until 1000 Wednesday morning. If you want me, I’m ready.

Yours aye,



We’re not ‘stalling’ on independence – we’re making sure we’re ready. The European elections will be our time to shine.

As the European Elections get under way it is worth paying attention the impact they will have the formation of the next European Commission.

Channel 4 revealed that LeaveEU faked footage of migrants entering into the UK.

A report from the Institute for Government has found that "the Prime Minister made bold promises to the Scottish First Minister on her first visit to Edinburgh in July 2016 which her Government then notably failed to follow through".

Nicola Sturgeon has written an important piece reflecting on where we are. As she concludes: “I will continue to do everything in my power to ensure Scotland’s interests are protected. The question is, will the UK government finally listen, or will they continue to ride roughshod over Scotland’s democratic will and our future prosperity?”

Over 20 million Europeans have shown their love for Scotland, two weeks after Scotland launched its latest marketing campaign with the message, “Europe, let’s continue our love affair”. 

In this week’s plenary session, MEPs voted on a raft of important legislation ranging from protecting whistleblowers and improving working conditions, to increasing the amount of transparency in the food chain.

We also voted on the replacement to Horizon 2020. Now Horizon Europe can start properly and people can begin planning. Well the rest of Europe can anyway... we in Scotland still have no clarity from the UK Government about what role we will have. If you want to read about what we are missing out on then the Commission website has a very good explainer of where we are.

A senior HMRC official has confirmed: "There is no technology solution which would mean that you could do customs controls and processes and not have a hard border."

Dreadful news from Derry/Londonderry with the fatal shooting of journalist Lyra McKee. Peace remains fragile and unity will be so important over the coming weeks and months.

The Huffington Post did a profile of Sabine Weyand who is at the heart of the EU-UK negotiations.

Caroline de Gruyter (European Council on Foreign Relations) has written an interesting article explaining why the EU27 are holding together. The short version? It turns out working together across a continent is a good idea.

Still wandering what happened in the flurry of votes over the last few weeks? Don’t blame you. The House of Commons have put together a handy brief on what they have voted on and what it means. Well what they think it means anyway, what it actually means is anybody’s guess!

And finally, something to make you smile. Nigel Farage launched his new party this week but the Remain campaign 'Led by Donkeys' got the web address for his party first…