Scotland in Europe Update: 29th November 2019

Another Strasbourg week is done and dusted, and your MEPs have been hard at work representing Scotland in Europe. As Alyn said in his latest National column, if you’re doing Strasbourg properly, you rarely have any free time at all between votes, briefings and meetings, so there’s plenty to report this week!

Aileen got us off to a flying start with her speech during the debate on climate change, calling for the European Parliament to not only declare a climate emergency but also to make sure nobody is left behind in the transition. "We need all countries across the EU and beyond to step up to the plate and to come to Glasgow next year with serious climate commitments." As many of you will remember, Aileen was our Climate Change Minister in the Scottish Government before she was an MEP, and earlier this year represented the European Parliament at the UN Climate Action Summit. We voted to support the Parliament declaring a climate emergency in Europe and now we need to see bolder climate action taken.

Christian spoke for us in the debate on ‘Interference from other countries in our democracies and elections’, noting that “Prime Minister Boris Johnson claimed last week that he had never seen any evidence of Russian interference in UK democratic processes. However, in December 2017, the then UK Foreign Secretary – Boris Johnson – said that he had seen evidence of Russian interference in UK democratic processes. Which Boris Johnson is telling the truth?” An evergreen question indeed.

The past few years have shown that there is genuine Scotland-wide interest in the workings of the EU and what MEPs are doing as your representatives, and we’re doing our best to rise to the occasion. This is the first time Scotland has brought three SNP MEPs to the European Parliament and it comes at the single most important point in Scottish-EU relations. We’re influencing policy, building working relationships across European governments, and laying the groundwork for an independent Scotland in the EU. How’s that for “getting on with the day job”?



We have a new European Commission! In possibly his final speech to the European Parliament, Alyn urged our colleagues to cherish Europe – and reminded MEPs that Scotland will be back. On the Commission itself, Alyn explained why your three SNP MEPs voted to approve them.

"The SNP is the constructive internationalists, we want Scotland to remain within our European family of nations and we want to play a constructive part.  Where we might take issue with the process that got us here we think it important to approve the Commissioners so they can get on with their work.”

Here’s your "Who’s Who" guide to the new Ursula von der Leyen Commission.

Here is a handy summary of the challenges facing Ursula von der Leyen in the short-term.

It’s not always practical or possible for people to watch the plenary session live, but remember you can read the debates and speeches here – just click Verbatim Report and scroll down to whichever debate piques your interest.

The UK’s former ambassador to the EU, Ivan Rogers, has been one of the most rational and informed commentators throughout the entire Brexit fiasco. Earlier this week he warned that the worst is still to come, accusing Boris Johnson of “diplomatic amateurism”.

Women’s rights are human rights, and one in three women across the EU has experienced physical and/or sexual violence. It’s time for all member states to ratify the Istanbul Convention and legislate for comprehensive standards to counter violence against women in all its forms.

The European Parliament has declared a climate emergency – more information available here.

What would happen if the Prime Minister lost their seat? Precedent says the PM should be an MP, but there’s no hard and fast rule, according to the Institute for Government.

A significant proportion of EU nationals living in the UK are unaware that they need to apply for settled status – particularly in isolated communities – and are at risk of losing their legal residency status overnight.

To see ourselves as others see us… CNBC visits “Britain’s most pro-Brexit town” Boston, Lincolnshire.

While the New Statesman ponders the English question. “A new focus upon what being English now meant, and whether its constituent traditions were being eroded by the twin forces of globalisation and European integration, marked the onset of a second public moment of Englishness”.

This damning piece from Le Monde examines the lost confidence of voters looking at their third general election in five years.

The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals have submitted a formal complaint to the Conservatives, following the incident last week where the Tory press office account changed their Twitter handle to the non-partisan sounding “factcheckUK”. “Your party’s actions in misrepresenting itself as a legitimate fact checking service cross a line which ought never to be crossed – raising the spectre of state-sponsored misinformation and the deliberate undermining of truth and accountability which should have no place in British politics.”

“Regardless of your respect or disrespect for the European Union, respect the fragility of peace on the island of Ireland.” The Irish Times has a selection of open letters to UK voters.