Scotland in Europe Update: 1st November 2019

An election will finally decide it. We now face a choice. A hard Brexit that Scotland didn’t vote for under the Tories, or the SNP to stand up for Scotland’s EU membership.

If you haven’t already registered to vote, it’s absolutely vital that you do so. Even if you have, make sure you’re still on the register.

Let’s be realistic about what we do and don’t know. Polling is worth nothing (well almost nothing) until the issue is actually before voters. That means nothing can be taken for granted and the only vote that matters is the one at the end of the race. As MEPs we are out and about across Scotland more than most and we know folk are tired. The broken politics of Westminster mean that once again we must all vote to protect Scotland’s place in Europe.

Among the noise of the election we’d also like to draw your attention to a speech made by Michel Barnier. It has now been confirmed publicly that he will be in charge of negotiations with the UK regarding a future relationship with the EU. It is a shame that his remarks have attracted little attention. They're well worth reading in full for a good summary of where the EU27 is and, crucially, where they (and the UK) are heading.

The bottom line is simple. The EU will only grant the UK a zero tariffs and zero quotas trade deal if the eventual agreement also contains constraints on state aid, social and environmental rights and taxation. In other words, the EU will only give preferential tariff access to the Single Market if you abide by the standards of the Single Market. This is not a new position, nor should it be a surprise. However, after the bluff and bluster of the past three years, this simple unchanged fact is worth reemphasising.

Barnier also gives a pertinent warning on the realities of a no deal Brexit. We could face a no deal scenario at the end of transition (December 2020) but there is also nothing to stop the UK Government delivering a no deal scenario at the end of January 2020. This is a real danger. We must all be wise to it and vote accordingly.



The Scottish Government has published its economic assessment of the UK Government’s latest deal with the EU. The assessment estimates that under the free trade agreement envisaged in the deal, Scottish Gross Domestic Product would be 6.1% lower by 2030 compared to forecasts under continued EU membership. This equates to £1,600 per person.

The National Institute of Economic and Social Research have also confirmed that – as a result of the 2016 Brexit vote – the UK economy is now estimated to be 2.5% smaller than it would otherwise have been.

Aileen has been representing Scotland and the European Parliament on a delegation to the EEA and EFTA countries. Scotland’s voice is being heard on the international stage.

Meanwhile Christian has been at Peterhead port listening to the no deal Brexit concerns of Scottish fisherman.

Alyn’s latest piece for The National covers the ‘scunner factor’ and some interesting feedback from traditional Conservative voters in Scotland.

Peter Ungphakorn has written this must-read piece on the state of the media coverage of Brexit.

David Allen Green has put together some interesting thoughts on the General Election.

Boris Johnson has chosen to give up the UK’s claim to £7bn from the European Investment Bank.

Though few will be sad to see it go, it is worth noting that the announcement of the General Election marks the end of another of David Cameron’s legacies: the Fixed-term Parliaments Act (2011).

Chris Grey, Professor of Organisation Studies at Royal Holloway, University of London is correct to emphasise that this election is currently the only realistic, and very possibly the last, chance of reversing Brexit.

The European Parliament has put together a handy guide to Strasbourg Plenary sessions. Since Scotland will definitely be represented at the November session, you can brush up on what we MEPs do.

Schams El Ghoneimi (disclaimer, he used to work for Alyn) has written an excellent piece on why the UK will not regain its sovereignty post Brexit.

Finally, in yet another example of needless Brexit-related waste, the UK Treasury is melting down the commemorative coins they made because we did not leave the EU this week.