Scotland in Europe Update 26th January 2018

This week has been a little quieter than last as the politicians and civil servants in Brussels begin to get ready for the next few months. Channel 4 released a draft of the EU’s negotiating guidelines for the Brexit transition:

There are no surprises here for anyone who has been paying attention. As I have said before, the fantasies of Leave supporters are going to have a hard collision with reality, this document proves that in black and white for all to see. The EU position has always been - and continues to be - clear, pragmatic and consistent. Brexit is a British problem, not a European one, and the priority of all the other member states is the coherence of the bloc as a whole.

Over the next few months the choices that must be taken have profound consequences. Currently, the UK government’s foolish red lines mean that we are looking – at best – at a Canada style deal that will be hugely damaging to Scotland.

The Canada model is a particularly poor choice for services, which, as the CBI have pointed out, make up 80% of the UK economy. Even for manufacturing, there will need to be proof of origin systems in place to track components and completed products. Director-General Carolyn Fairbairn of the CBI said earlier this week that “the Canada-deal rules of origin are as long as The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe – and a lot less fun to read.”

I couldn’t have put it better myself!

The CBI called for the UK to remain in the Customs Union. This is a position they now share with Scottish Government who have consistently argued for such an arrangement.

This handy guide to the leaked EU27 negotiation position from Professor Steve Peers, University of Essex is well worth a read.

Thomas Donohue, the chief executive and president of the US Chamber of Commerce Ireland, has said that Ireland will have a far more significant role post Brexit.

Caithness Chamber of Commerce is now home to Scotland’s only Europe Direct Information Centre, offering residents of the North Highlands & Islands access to information regarding the EU.

Here is a heart-breaking account of an EU citizen moving back to France because of the EU referendum (in French).

There has been a lot of disagreement inside the Tory Party this week. For sanity’s sake I do not intend to produce a blow-by-blow account here but since UK policy is currently dictated by their squabbles we do need to keep an eye on it. This article from Politico is a good summary of where we are.

Scottish Further and Higher Education Minister Shirley-Anne Somerville has backed a campaign to keep Erasmus+

The UK has still not produced a position paper on financial services.

France is hiring more customs officers to cope with the consequences of Brexit.

JP Morgan could move more than 4,000 jobs out of the UK.

Paris is increasing the number of language schools in an attempt to lure the financial sector from London to Paris.

The EU is moving ahead with strengthening anti-dumping and anti-subsidy regulations. In an uncertain world this is more important than ever.

The EU Commission has released two internal notes discussing ‘Security, Defence and Foreign Policy’ and ‘Police and Judicial Cooperation’.

There are fears that the UK could be excluded from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) after it leaves the EU.

The decision to leave the EU is costing the UK £200m every week in lost growth, according to Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England.

The New York Times reporting from Davos has said that because of Brexit: “an uncomfortable reality has been sinking in. Britain’s stature on the world stage has diminished, and its economy has sagged.”

Finally, it was with great sadness the European Parliament decided how to re-arrange itself after the departure of Scotland and the rest of the UK’s MEPs.