Scotland in Europe Update: 2nd August 2019

“I want, and I’m determined that, Scotland will also be the country that helps change the focus of countries and governments across the world to put well-being at the heart of everything that we do. I think we owe that to this generation. I certainly believe we owe that to the next generation and all those that come after us. And if we do that, led here from the country of the Enlightenment, then I think we create a better, healthier, fairer and happier society here at home. And we play our part in Scotland in building a fairer, happier world as well.”

These words were part of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s TED Talk this week (you can see the full talk here: and we all agree that our focus must remain on this goal. The renewed spectre of a no deal Brexit – and the Johnson government's stance in general – make it increasingly difficult to see how we can achieve this without independence in Europe.

While the First Minister was giving her talk, the Prime Minister began his visit to Scotland at Faslane naval base before the two met in Bute House. That meeting made it clear that Mr Johnson is intent upon driving the UK over the cliff edge, with Scotland in tow.

If we are to achieve our goal of a fairer society, we cannot allow Brexit to happen. Scotland has friends across Europe and we share these objectives. Over the next few months of turmoil it will be important to remember what we are fighting for. The list of goals that the First Minister laid out is not a bad reminder.



Christian appeared on France 3's coverage of the European Parliament. There is real interest in the story Scotland has to tell.

The UK Government has announced £2bn of spending on no deal preparations. Think what else the money could be spent on if the only prudent course of action was followed and no deal taken off the table.

The CBI have released another series of warnings about a no deal Brexit. As they conclude: “many no deal mitigations rely on actions by and negotiations with the EU.” Bluster and walking away (as Mr Johnson has threatened) will not produce a solution.

The Royal College of Radiologists, the British Nuclear Medicine Society and the UK Radiopharmacy Group have all expressed concerns about the supply of isotopes for treating cancer in the event of no deal.

The UK Government has now demanded outright that the backstop be scrapped. This would endanger the Good Friday agreement and the EU will not agree to it.

Indeed, the US Congress would block any US-UK trade deal if the peace process had been jeopardised.

Despite this, Liz Truss has claimed she is ready to make a US trade deal happen! Even putting US Congressional opposition to one side it is worth remembering that the reason a US-EU deal has taken so long is because the EU is not willing to sell out our farmers, or open all of our public services up to US companies.

On that note, Alyn’s column this week takes a look at how the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament is shaping up and some of the challenges we all face.

The Home Office has rejected the Human Rights Committee’s call for a time limit to immigration detention. The UK is the only country in the EU that locks migrants up indefinitely without charge.

Transport Scotland’s Low Carbon Travel and Transport Challenge Fund is now open for applications. Funding comes from the European Regional Development Fund 2014-2020 Programme to facilitate the delivery of active travel and low carbon transport hubs, as well as paths.

The Atlantic has put together a longer read on Brexit and Scotland’s independence. It is well worth a read for the many contributions from David Martin, former Labour MEP for Scotland.

“The UK’s failing politics has taken another major lurch downwards with Boris Johnson’s unsavoury and populist government of all the knaves.” Kirsty Hughes is spot on in this analysis of where we are.

John Ryan of the LSE argues that Mr Johnson’s adoption of a no deal exit as a viable policy option can only be described as Brexit Britain’s Trumpian moment.

And finally, Renée Haferkamp – the last living witness to the signing of the Treaty of Rome which founded the European Union – was interviewed by Deutsche Welle. It is well worth a watch. A Holocaust survivor, she was part of the Belgian delegation and knows more than anyone how the EU’s purpose is to ensure peace in Europe.