Scotland in Europe Update: 24th January 2020

This week two things took place that will define the course of Brexit for the next few years. The first, which received some (though not enough) coverage, was that all three devolved parliaments rejected the EU Withdrawal Bill. This is unprecedented and momentous.

Three out of the four parliaments in these islands now oppose the deal and for the UK government to continue to ignore that reality and simply overrule them demonstrates how broken the Westminster system is. You can read the UK government’s letter to Mike Russell confirming this here:

Far less coverage has been given to the work of the European Commission’s UK Task Force publications. Last week a flurry of these emerged followed by another tranche this week on Architecture and the legal nature of UK participation in Union programmes, Mobility of persons, the partnership and Governance

In contrast, the UK government’s exiting the EU department released some mandatory transparency information on departmental expenditure. Fascinating though this was we face an inescapable truth. During the – now completed – Article 50 negotiations the UK was out manoeuvred because the EU was quick to define the negotiations and set the terms of any agreement. They are doing it again.

Remarkably, the UK appears to be repeating their own mistakes. As Downing Street plans parties for next week the EU is busy getting on with the job of defining the events of the next year.



For Aileen this week's big event was that the Withdrawal Agreement (firmly opposed by the SNP) was passed by the Constitutional Affairs Committee of the European Parliament by 23 votes to 3. One of those three was Aileen. Next week the full Parliament will do the same in the plenary session in Brussels. To be clear this vote was not an endorsement of Brexit. The Committee chair made clear his deep regret that this day had come to pass. The Committee expressed a number of important reservations regarding EU citizens’ rights and the European Parliament will continue to stand up for these in the next phase of the negotiations on the future UK-EU relationship.

There was plenty of coverage of this from around the EU.

Following the vote Ursula von der Leyen for the EU Commission and Charles Michel for the EU Council signed the Withdrawal Agreement. Now all that is left is for the full European Parliament to endorse the deal next week.

Christian has also had a busy week in the Fisheries Committee.

There’s a really good chat between Gina Dowding MEP and Christian here explaining why we have to keep fighting.

And there has been plenty of coverage across Scotland of Christian’s work to protect EU citizens’ rights.

As part of its efforts to celebrate the positive impact of EU citizens have on Scotland, the Scottish Government this week announced additional funding for the Stay in Scotland campaign.

Ian Dunt has written a piece on everything you need to know about Boris Johnson's trade deal which is well worth a read.

The House of Lords defeated the Prime Minister (very briefly) before the Tory majority in the Commons voted down their amendments.

The EU-Vietnam Trade deal was approved by the Parliament’s trade committee. As Brexit Britain flounders the EU is getting on with the job.

The European Parliament Research Service produced this guide to how the UK’s seats will be redistributed post Brexit.

Anthony Salamone has written a good piece on what the UK would have to do to re-join the EU. There are a lot of lessons for Scotland in here.

A policy vision, backed up by energetic leadership and greater investment, will do more to strengthen the institutions of UK foreign policy than hastily introduced institutional changes writes Nicholas Wright.

Finally, and on a lighter note, in an attempt to celebrate blue passports those shrillest of Brexiteers, the staff of the Express used a satirical image instead celebrating Monty Python!