Scotland in Europe Update: 21st July 2017

Well, the second round of negotiations are complete and the good news is that nobody stormed out. Unfortunately, that really is the end of the good news.

The two big issues being negotiated were the financial settlement and EU citizens’ rights. On the first it was left to Michel Barnier, the EU’s Chief Negotiator, to point out that unless the UK clarifies its position talks will stall:

“Comme je l'ai dit très clairement à David, une clarification de la position du Royaume-Uni est indispensable pour négocier et pour aboutir à des "progrès suffisants" sur ce dossier financier, qui est inséparable des autres dossiers du retrait.”

(“As I said very clearly to David, a clarification of the UK’s position is indispensable for us to negotiate and for us to make sufficient progress on this financial dossier, which is inseparable for the other withdrawal dossiers”.)

It seems remarkable that over a year after the vote, and on the first issue to be discussed, the UK simply doesn’t have a complete proposal! The reality is that unless the UK brings something substantive forward, the talks will stall simply because there is nothing to talk about.

Secondly, on EU citizens’ rights – something the UK does have a position on – there is a “fundamental divergence” over how the rights of EU citizens in the U.K. should be guaranteed. You can read Barnier’s remarks in full here:

An illustration of how far the negotiations need to come is this document that was released. It is a joint technical comparison of the citizens' rights negotiations; red is where the two sides disagree and the bottom line is that you will note there is an awful lot of red…

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Around 60 of Scotland’s most high-profile academics and politicians have called for last year’s Brexit vote to be overturned as “its disastrous consequences become clearer every day”. This included the author of Article 50 (and me).

The full text can be read here.

And if you wish to add your name then you can sign this petition here.

Kirsty Hughes of the Scottish Centre on European Relations has analysed whether an exit from Brexit is possible.

Alberto Nardelli’s write up of the second round of negotiations is a great overview of the week’s events.

The Scottish Government has produced a formal response to the UK Government’s Proposal on EU Citizens’ Rights. Mike Russell the Scottish Government Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland’s Place in Europe said:

“EU citizens make a vital contribution to Scotland and to our economy, society and culture. They must have clarity about their future rights and what Brexit will mean for them and their families.”

More information on what the Scottish Government is doing to help EU citizens can be found here.

The European Citizen Action Service and University of Sheffield School of Law have set up a Citizen Brexit Observatory in order to support the fair treatment of EU citizens.

I wrote a piece in L’Express calling for President Macron to not forget Scotland in the months to come.

Ian McConnell has written a sobering piece in the Herald assessing the damage to the economy:

“From an economic perspective and from the point of view of millions of UK households, we are a great deal behind where we might have been had it not been for the Brexit vote.

“And that is before we get to the colossal damage arising from the actual EU exit.”

The EU will be transparent in the negotiations - the Parliament's Brexit Steering Group documents are available online.

A cross-party House of Lords report has urged the UK Government to work with the devolved governments and end its ‘top down’ approach.

SMEs in Germany have warned that Brexit only brings disadvantages.

Transcripts of Michel Barnier and Guy Verhofstadt’s evidence submitted to the House of Lords have been published.

Despite UK Government assurances, UK supplies of isotopes for cancer treatment could be at risk from leaving Euratom.

Brexit will have a negative impact on the Scottish economy and housing market, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers.

There is a “substantial” risk that the UK will tumble out of the European Union without a Brexit deal, says Moody’s Investors Service.

This would be disastrous for Scotland and the UK, as this excellent piece from the UK in a Changing Europe illustrates.

This week’s Financial Times long read explores how industry is lobbying for the UK to continue mirroring EU legislation after Brexit

Citigroup has announced that Frankfurt will be its new European trading hub.

Ironically Frankfurt is running out of office space!

"The maintenance of unhindered data flows is therefore crucial, both for business and for effective police cooperation" is the view of a new House of Lords report.

Theresa May must “start being honest about the complexity of the challenge” says Gus O’Donnell, former head of the UK Civil Service.

A YouGov poll has revealed that a majority of those who support leaving the EU would allow freedom of movement to continue in exchange for access to the Single Market.

Kevin Pringle has also argued that “the majority must have the right to do what others deem wrong, but people also have the right to change their mind.”

Finally, more than 500,000 Irish passports have been issued to people living the UK during the first half of 2017 - an increase of almost 50%.