Scotland in Europe Update: 19th July 2019

This week in Strasbourg, your SNP MEPs backed Dr Ursula von der Leyen for the role of new President of the European Commission. Dr von der Leyen was elected by 383 votes to 327. In her hearing before the SNP's political Group Greens-EFA, the new Commission President proved she has a good understanding of Scottish and UK politics, is a fierce critic of Brexit, and will be an articulate and personable ally in turning Brexit around.

We can do business with Dr von der Leyen and were pleased to support her. She is a bright, credible and articulate woman, and her commitment to a gender balanced College of Commissioners is brilliant news. You can see Alyn’s speech announcing our support here:

Earlier in the week Christian made his debut speech to the parliament. It is in French, as you would expect, and went down a storm with our colleagues. As he said: "in Scotland we are used to having multiple identities. I am 100% Scottish, I am 100% French and 100% European. Our idea of Europe is one we share with you, we want freedom of movement for people and goods and we have common values. We are prepared to defend Europe. Help us to stay at the heart of Europe, help us so that we can better help you." You can see the full speech here:

And finally in her own debut speech, Aileen emphasised that Finland has Scotland’s support in pushing for more ambitious climate measures and targets. Finland – which now takes its turn at the six-month rotating presidency of the EU – has promised to integrate climate policy into all sectors to ensure that the EU leads the world in tackling climate change. As she made clear: “Given the scale of the climate emergency we face, I hope Finland will push for more ambitious EU climate change measures and targets. You have Scotland’s support in doing so.” Again, you can see her full speech here:

So, a good week all round. Next week we finally find out who the Tory party members will pick to be the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. We all fear that it may not be such a good week…



You can read more of Alyn’s thoughts on Ursula von der Leyen’s election in his National column

And you can read Ursula von der Leyen’s opening statement in the European Parliament plenary session here.

Alongside more details of the policies she will pursue.

Christian was in Shetland alongside Scottish Rural Affairs Minister Mairi Gougeon to meet with local fishing industry representatives.

In an unsurprising turn of events Boris Johnson lied about EU regulations at a campaign event.

While in a terrifying turn of events Liam Fox has started being the voice of reason, pointing out that Boris Johnson’s plan for a US trade deal is against the law.

The Office of Budget Responsibility confirmed what the Scottish Government has been warning for months: that a no deal Brexit has the potential to push the economy into recession.

Ireland is considering port checks for the whole island of Ireland in the event of no deal. It sounds almost like the first version of the backstop!

This is because the UK will not be in charge of anything in the event of no deal. As the Chancellor has pointed out.

The UK Parliament has moved to block Boris Johnson's plan to sideline it.

The Competition and Markets Authority has warned that airlines risk facing new barriers to operate on routes to and from the UK.

Olga Pindyuk has warned that when it comes to services trade, leaving the Single Market will result in increased regulatory costs and could have a significant impact on UK exports.

Ben Macpherson has urged the Home Office to work with the Scottish Government and stakeholders on an immigration policy that addresses the particular problems experienced by remote communities – and proposed that Scotland pilot a different approach.

Concerns around the impact of Brexit on the higher education sector in Scotland have been raised again by Constitutional Relations Secretary Michael Russell.

Finally, on the anniversary of the moon landing it is worth emphasising the trade law gets everywhere. Even Apollo 11 had to file a customs declaration upon landing!